Succulent is a term applied to a wide range of plants that retain and store water, often in thick fleshy structures, usually the leaves, stems or roots. This is an evolutionary adaptation allowing plants to survive in dry, arid environments with irregular rain or little water available. The term derives from the Latin word succulentus, meaning fleshy or juicy. These plants have gained huge popularity in recent times, due to their ease of care, easy propagation and the huge range of exciting shapes and colours. They are relatively easy to grow, requiring infrequent watering - perfect for the forgetful gardener! Succulent plants may be herbaceous or woody, most are perennial, coming back every year, and some may be monocarpic and thus die after flowering. Succulents range in their habits and hardiness ratings, most are tender and won’t cope with freezing temperatures, but there are also many hardy succulents which can! Some do better in full, direct sunshine and others prefer bright, indirect light in partially shaded conditions. All grow best in well-draining soil. You can find out more in-depth care information for many species and cultivars on their individual plant profiles. The term ‘succulent’ includes cactus plants, as all cacti are succulent. However, not all succulents are cacti! Cactus plants store water only in the stems and either do not produce leaves, or their leaves are very small and insignificant. Succulents, by contrast, are usually all about the leaves! Soil should be well-draining.