Top 5 Uses for Succulent Plants
by Lynn KirkFeb 10, 2022
Succulents are valued for their variety — and what variety they offer! Diverse colors, distinctive forms, delightful flowers, and distinguishing characteristics galore. But not everyone realizes that succulents’ range of variety extends to how they’re used, too. People have relied on succulent plants and their many byproducts for countless uses over countless centuries. The list of applications is far-ranging and far-reaching, but they can be categorized into these top 5 uses for succulent plants:
1. Gardening. In the landscape, succulents provide ornamental interest, hamper weed growth, border beds, prevent erosion and more. As water-retainers, they survive arid conditions, hot temperatures, and sandy soils where other plant species don’t have a chance. In containers, they are easy-to-grow, perennials that enhance patios and decks.
2. Healing and health. When it comes to the medicinal properties of succulents, aloes may be the most well-known. Aloe gel, which is extracted from the leaves, is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, as well as antibacterial and antifungal properties. That’s why aloe gel is used in ointments for topical treatment of acne, rashes, sunburns, and other skin-related concerns. Some natural-health advocates also use aloe-based oral remedies to help treat stomach inflammation, support weight loss, and control diabetes — but those applications should be guided by a physician. As far as indoor health, potted succulents purify the air, help relieve stress, and positively impact blood pressure as they bring the best benefits of nature inside.
3. Eating. It’s no surprise that succulents have found their way to dinner tables, desserts, condiments, and drinks, especially in regions where the plants are plentiful or grow wild. Though most consider purslane a weed, its lemon-peppery flavor serves as an interesting alternative to spinach and kale for salads and soups. Despite threatening spines, many species of cactus are harvested for their edible fruits, leaves, and flowers. While some eat them raw, others prefer to cook them as tasty additions to jams, candies, and pseudo wines. Grocery stores sell select cacti products, too. For example, “nopales” in the produce section are advertised as a lemony-tasting vegetable that's actually the pad (stem) of the prickly pear cactus. Important note: Some succulents are indeed toxic, such as euphorbia, so never taste test or feed samples to pets without full knowledge of the plant and its toxicity.
4. Beautifying. The makeup bag relates to another of the top 5 uses for succulent plants and their byproducts. Many natural lotions and cosmetics -- especially those boasting refreshing aloe gel and cactus flowers as primary ingredients -- provide unparalleled hydration and nourishment for the skin. These benefits supposedly leave one's skin soft and supple without a greasy residue. Check the labels of hair shampoos and conditioners, too, since they're often aloe-based. After all, what better way to promise extended moisture than to market the water-holding properties of succulent plants?
5. Enjoying. Millennial generations and younger are collecting and nurturing succulents in record numbers. This chic, so-called 'new' hobby doesn’t require a home with yard, big investment, extensive training, or inordinate amount of time. Their love for succulents also stems from a growing commitment to eco-stewardship and a desire to be at-one with nature. Plant parents with succulents also enjoy the ways these plants enhance their decor, add texture, and double as conversation pieces for office and home.
Succulent Market readily supports these top 5 uses for succulent plants. Its online catalog offers individual plants as well as collections, not to mention assorted cuttings for do-it-yourself propagation and crafts. Don’t settle for less than best when it comes to succulents. Rely on Succulent Market, where their expertise stems from three generations of growers and their quality results from an unwavering commitment to excellence.