10 Hard-to-Believe Succulent Facts

by Lynn KirkApr 14, 2022

succulent facts


Thought you knew all there was to know about succulents? Well, did you know these 10 hard-to-believe succulent facts?

1. Some succulents wear ‘sunscreen.’ It may not be Coppertone, Banana Boat, or Panama Jack … but it does the same thing. Succulents’ nature-made sunblock is farina (or technically, epicuticular wax): a chalky covering that shows up on some succulents’ leaves, stems, and flowers. This dusting gives the plant an odd gray or blue cast, but it’s best to leave it, not clean it. This ‘year-round sunscreen’ is simply nature’s way of helping the plant avoid a bad case of sunburn. You can help, too, by filtering your plants from the summer sun’s raging rays!

2. They’re ‘prehistoric.’ Yep, some succulents were around a remarkable 5 to 10 million years ago! While many trace their heritage to Africa, others hail from nearby Madagascar, which is a remote island off Africa’s east coast. Madagascar’s natural isolation protected the island-grown succulents from being stomped, tromped, and chomped by wildlife and early man. They not only survived; they thrived. If they withstood millions of years in the wild, surely they can withstand your wild-but-well-meaning gardening care?

3. They’re a bunch of ‘saps.’ The word ‘succulent’ hails from the Latin word ‘sucus,’ which means ‘sap.’ And it’s that nutritious, stored sap that makes succulents so plump and fleshy. This internal storage system also helps them survive periods of drought and infrequent watering. That’s why overwatering is the number 1 killer of succulents. Too much of a good thing is just that: too much!

4. Some prefer the tropics over deserts. The word ‘succulent’ probably conjures up thoughts of cacti in an arid desert, but not all succulents are desert marauders. Some prefer just the opposite: jungle rainforests. Perhaps the most well-known of these are the holiday revelers: the Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas cacti. Their tropical roots are why these holiday beauties tend to prefer less light and more water than typical cacti!

5. Succulents aren’t tempting, to most pests that is. In fact, you might be able to put away your pesticides. Granted, succulents can be attacked by aphids and such—especially if nearby plants are infested—but typically you can hedge your bets that unlike most other plants, you’ll have less visits by pesky insects seeking a free meal, home, and/or nesting ground (yikes). If pests happen to appear, act quickly. They can grow from minor complaint to killer capacity in no time!

6. Leaf size hints at 'height in the skies.’ Just like a dialect gives clues as to where we’re from, the size of a succulent’s mature leaves tells us where they’re from — at least in terms of elevation. Mature succulents with small leaves tend to originate in higher elevations, while those with large leaves tend to call lower elevations ‘home.’ No wonder that they also perform better in elevations similar to their origin.

7. They bring fashion alive. Make-it-yourself jewelry is nothing new. After all, crafting beautiful accessories has been around since man’s (oops, woman’s) earliest days. But succulent-adorned jewelry and hair adornments are an up-and-coming trend. All that’s needed is assorted succulent cuttings +  wide-and-flat wristbands/earrings/ring forms/or hair barrettes + glue + ‘craftivity.’  If stored in a cool place without direct sunlight, they can even last a month or more. Succulent Market’s cuttings are a great start for make-and-wear parties!

8. Succulents are ‘over’ the rainbow, in terms of the number of colors, that is. Succulents’ hues run the gamut: from vibrant grass green to heather blues; soft peach to sundown coral; and pink tipped to regal burgundy. A greenhouse full brings to mind a large pack of Crayola crayons!

9. They’re natural ‘clones.’ Sure enough, you can take succulent cuttings, let them form a slight callous, and then plant them so more babes develop right from the mother plant. That’s cloning in the most elementary form, and it works. Sure, you can propagate in other easy-to-try ways, but regardless the method it adds up to one thing: $avings!

10. ALL cacti are succulents, but the opposite isn't so. There are between 1,500 and 1,800 cactus species, and each and every one is a succulent. Yet, lots of other succulents are technically unrelated to the cactus! That’s because the others range across 60 different plant families. So there is NO ‘one’ succulent plant family. Just consider succulents a brood of breathtaking plants!

These 10 hard-to-believe succulent facts might make you believe that you need a few more plants for your or your friend's collection. If so, visit www.SucculentMarket.com, browse the pics, place your order, and watch for your delivered-with-care package. Your domestically grown plant will arrive in just a couple days and in just perfect condition. Now THAT's hard-to-believe, but true! Just ask the thousand or so customers who rely on Succulent Market!