If ever there were a group of plants bathing in the popularity of modern indoor gardening, then the succulents are they.
Read more about succulents here:
Easy-to-grow and viewed by many as living ornaments, succulents are somewhat less prickly than their cacti counterparts, though they enjoy very similar growing conditions.
The plants listed here are the smaller houseplant species, rather than larger, conservatory types like agave.
General succulent care
The majority of succulents come from arid environments, very similar to cacti (see link above). For this reason, their care is somewhat the same, though most succulents need slightly more water to prevent total drying out (except living stones, which are tough as any cactus!).
Mixed arrangement of succulents are a huge trend, but be aware they'll soon need homes of their own as they outgrow their bowl.
Types of succulent
These are some of the hottest houseplants on the market right now (main image). Their porcelain-like rosettes that come in grey, green and mauve are a welcome addition to every home. Echeveria are very easy-to-grow plants which also sport pretty flowers.
Many other similar plants are often sold alongside or confused with Echeveria, listed below:
The spiral aloe (Aloe polyphylla) is hypnotisingly beautiful.
Another succulent with a very well-known family member, the crassulas are so varied in species that you’d be forgiven for thinking it had the monopoly on succulents.
With charming names like Buddha’s temple, string-of-buttons and the famous money plant, there are plenty of species and varieties on the market to choose from.
Ranging from the zebra-striped H. fasciata to the strikingly transparent H. cooperi, the haworthias are an essential addition to any succulent collection.
The transparent leaf tips of H.cooperi give it a crystal-like appearance.
Some of the most highly-adapted plants on earth, living stones really could be mistaken for pebbles. They come in a beautiful array of patterns, shapes and colours.
Most of these African succulents belong to the Lithops genus, but there are others out there and most flower quite freely.
A colossal family of plants of which succulents are only one (large) branch of. They are often mistaken for cacti as some species have the typical ‘wild west’ shape. Others have spines, and some have both.
Other species produce leaves during the growing season, and the crown-of-thorns can be a prolific flowerer.
Beware of the latex sap, which is an irritant.
A charming, rotund oddity, the baseball plant (E. obesa) could easily be mistaken for a cactus and is about as tough as one, too.
Other types to look out for:
From dolphin plants (Senecio peregrinus), to plover eggs, moonstones to bunny ears (Monilaria obconica), there are thousands of other succulents out there. Here are a few types to get you started:
The star flower (Orbea/Stapelia variegata) is a succulent primarily grown for its fascinating, yet foul-smelling blooms.
Edited January 2020