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Succulents are gorgeous, easy to care for plants that can brighten any home. In addition to providing a pop of color and a funky shape, they boast a host of benefits that make them a no-brainer house plant. Read on to learn more about these low-maintenance indoor or outdoor plants and find the one best-suited to your personality!
What is a Succulent?
Succulents are essentially the camels of the plant world. They retain water in their thick, structured bodies and leaves, storing it for the dry months. Many people are familiar with cacti and the aloe vera plant, though there is a whole wide world of succulents out there.
Succulents come in many shapes and sizes. Some of them, like the multi-armed Saguaro Cactus, can grow up to 40 feet tall! Others, like the spiky Howorthia Zebra, remain fairly small their entire lives. While they naturally grow in tropical and desert climates, small succulents make easy house plants.
How Many Varieties of Succulents Are There?
There are over 10,000 known varieties of succulents! It’s a very diverse plant species, to say the least. Some of the commonly known representatives are aloe vera, jade plants, cacti, burro’s tail, and echeveria elegans. If you’re looking for a plant that speaks to your personality, there’s a succulent plant out there for you.
When many people think of succulents, they commonly think of the cacti that are strewn throughout the deserts. Despite cacti’s famous prickles, not all succulents are spiky! Some varieties are soft and fuzzy, and some have an almost plastic-like texture. Succulents really do come in all shapes and sizes.
What Are the Most Popular Succulents?
Succulents are a staple in households around the nation! Let’s look at some of the common varieties that people enjoy for their beauty and ease.
- Echeveria Elegans – Native to the deserts of Central and South America, echeveria elegans are a beautiful, soft green succulent. Because of their mesmerizing, layered leaves and pleasing colors, echeveria have become common house plants.
- Aloe Vera – Aloe vera is known for treating sunburns, but it also makes a fantastic decorative point in any home! In addition to its therapeutic benefits, aloe vera can purify the air and provide a pop of color and funkiness.
- Snake Plants – Snake plants became common houseplants for their beauty and air purification abilities. Their tall, flat, dark green leaves are trimmed with a ribbon of yellow – a pattern that is often compared to looking like a snake (hence the name).
Where Are Succulents Commonly Found?
Succulents are native to Africa, Central, North, and South America, and Mexico. They prefer mostly-desert environments with sandy soil, moderate humidity, and low to moderate rainfall. The deserts of Arizona and California are littered with succulents, especially cacti.
In What Environments Do Succulents Thrive?
Succulents typically thrive in environments like their native homelands (mostly dry and warm). However, they can also thrive indoors if provided with enough sunlight, warmth, and the right amount of water. You’ll need to live in a warm, dryish climate to grow succulents outdoors.
Do Succulents Have Benefits?
There are numerous benefits to bringing a succulent into your home. In addition to their beauty, succulent plants can be beneficial for your mental and physical health!
They Can Purify the Air in Your Home
In 1989, NASA made an awesome and important discovery: certain plants can purify the air in small spaces. Succulent plants like snake plants, dracaenas, aloe vera, and jade are particularly adept at absorbing toxins and releasing clean oxygen, even at night!
Caring for Plants Can Improve Your Mental Health
- Stress reduction
- Decreased symptoms of depression
- Improved cognition
- Improved memory
- Increased creativity
- Improved focus
- Higher self-esteem
Those are definitely benefits worth writing home about!
Some Succulents Have First-Aid Properties
Aloe vera is much more than a beautiful, tall, spiky house decoration – the gel within its leaves has therapeutic properties. It is effective at treating burns, scrapes, dryness, and inflammation! The best part about aloe is you can snip off a leaf to give to a friend as a healing, house plant gift.
They Are Great for First-Time Plant Owners and Children
Since succulents typically only require water every two to three weeks, they’re an easy plant for first-time or forgetful plant owners. They’re also a nice way to ease kids into roles of responsibility. Succulent care is not an everyday task, but it does encourage a routine of caring for something other than yourself.
Are Succulents Easy to Grow at Home?
Absolutely! Succulents are super low-maintenance plants that don’t like to be bothered very much. All they need is an abundance of sunlight and a meager watering schedule. Unlike other house plants that require daily, constant care, succulents just want a sunny place to sit and flourish quietly.
These plants can do well indoors but generally thrive outside in warm, dry climates. If you live somewhere like Seattle, you may not have success growing indoors or outdoors due to the frequent cloud cover and precipitation. As long as you can provide sunlight, succulents are super easy!
Which Succulent is Right for You?
Choosing the right plant is ultimately your decision, but we’ve got some recommendations based on your personality.
- For the Creatives – If you’ve got an artistic soul and a wandering mind, we recommend either the howorthia zebra or the string-of-pearls. The howorthia zebra is small, spiky, and striped like a zebra! The string-of-pearls is unique, delicate, bulbous, and dangling. One or both of these unusual-looking succulents is sure to get your creative juices flowing.
- For the Soft-Hearted – If you’re a soft-spoken, gentle person, we recommend either the bear’s paw or the woolly rose. Both of these succulents have leaves that are coated in a fuzzy layer, often compared to the texture of velvet. They’re soft to the touch, and soft on the eyes.
- For the Exuberant and Adventurous – If you crave adventure and excitement, we recommend either the snake plant or the angel wings cactus. Snake Plants are reminiscent of real snakes, making you look twice each time you pass them by. Angel wings cacti bubble out from their stems and boast thick, classic cacti spikes that bring an edge to wherever you place them.
If you’re thinking about getting a succulent, we recommend taking a stroll through your local nursery to see which ones call out to you. Plants become permanent members of your household, so you’ll want to be sure you not only like the succulent you choose but that you can care for it, as well.
Viewing your local nursery will help you get an idea of which succulents thrive in your area. You can also chat with the employees to learn more information about specific plants. No matter which variety you choose, we hope you love your new desert buddy!