How do you decide which succulents to buy?

by Lynn KirkAug 28, 2022

which succulents should I buy


The world of succulents offers a world of options -- namely 10,000 different species! Most all are eye-catching in form, texture, and color. Most all are practically indestructible and probably inexpensive, too.

So how do you decide which succulents to buy? This overview should help!

 ALOE. Oooh, those rosettes! They’re formed by serrated, sap-filled leaves that might be rubbery or stiff, smooth or rough, brownish green or pink tinged, speckled or striped. Non-woody stems produce those leaves, as well as spikey flowers. But beware: Most aloes are toxic, causing diarrhea in pets when ingested. Then again, aloe vera—one of the 550 aloe species—has the power to treat wounds and burns!

AEONIUM. Here’s another whose rounded, fleshy leaves form intriguing rosettes. From the rosette center grow tiny star-like flowers. Their massed clusters range from solid greens, yellows, reds, and whites to interesting variegations (depending on species) with glossy, waxy leaves as their backdrop. And good news: as a member of the Stonecrop family, the Aeonium has only 35 species to ponder!

CACTUS. The cactus may be a household word, but its original household was the desert or  jungle, again depending on the species. It’s the only plant with areoles: those small, fuzzy bumps from which the flower, spines, and branches spout. Cacti are just plain fascinating, whether shaped as a round barrel, column, or limbed joints that erratically reach upward and outward. As for texture, some are smooth and waxy, others ribbed and bumpy. Size varies dramatically, too, with some varieties growing as tall as trees, others remaining small. Bonus: Harvested fruits and pads of edible species are delicious and nutritious!

CRASSULA. Ah, the family of the beloved Jade plant (Crassula ovata), which supposedly brings good luck. But keep in mind that the Jade is one of 200 species. Others might have compact pancake-stack leaves in pairs or symmetric rows, or perhaps pea-like strings that waft in the breeze. Some sport silver leaves, others lime green, while some are bonsai pruned and others growing freely into 6-foot trees! Crassula is quite handsome, whether planted inside or out.

ECHEVERIA. Wow, the Echeveria's gorgeous rosettes, smooth with pointed tips, grow one-half inch to 20 inches at maturity! Hundreds of species, hybrids, and cultivars are as eye-catching as the next. Their rainbow of color runs the gamut, from soft pastels to deep hues, and traditional grey greens to burgundy purples, some with color accents. Arching stalks produce bell-shaped flowers, and as an added bonus, the Echeveria typically is safe for children and pets!

HAWORTHIA. One-of-a-kind beauty in a pretty little package is the Haworthia. Though some grow up to 6 inches tall, others reach a mere 2 inches at maturity. What’s really cool are the genuses with translucent foliage. Nicknamed “window-pane plant,” its see-through, stained-glass effect begs for a second glance because you can see into its glowing, green-gumdrop interior. All in all, there are about 100 Haworthia species to consider.

KALANCHOE. Bring the tropics home! The Kalachoe’s 120 species are basically compact, so they require little space, especially when the glossy leaves drop during dormancy. At bloom time, small colorful flowers in brilliant orange-reds, pinks, and yellows delicately adorn this succulent. What an awesome selection, either as rock-garden accents or indoor beauties. And the Kalanchoe is not toxic!

SEDUM. This one’s right at home along rocky hillsides, little-soil areas, and stone-wall crannies because it’s just as tough and hardy. Outdoors, many species quickly spread, forming dense carpets. Whether planted in gardens or containers, the Sedum's enchanting little blooms produce lovely hues, some through all the seasons. Take your pick among 500+ species, all members of the Stonecrop family.

SENICEO. Whoa: Seniceo is related to the daisy and sunflower? Yes, it’s one of  30,000+ species in the Asteraceae family. Perhaps the most well-known is the Senecio Stapeliaeformis whose slender stems sprout from the plant’s underground rhizomes. At first glance these side-by-side growths look just like a batch of upright pickles or speckled candles, which explains its nicknames: pickle plant and candlestick plant.

How else do you decide which succulents to buy? Log on, where you’ll find ALL these succulent options + color photos + free shipping. Yep, selection is tough, but the rewards are great and the care is easy!