Where Do Succulents Come From?

by Succulent Market ADMINOct 5, 2020

where do succulents come from


There seems to be no end to the current succulent craze - and let it continue! People all over the world are transforming their living rooms across into their own mini jungles

But where do succulents come from?

Well, succulents are native to countries all over planet Earth, each growing best in different conditions. Knowing the environment that your succulent comes from will help you recreate their optimum growing conditions, thereby keeping them as healthy and as beautiful as they would be in their natural habitat.

Read on for a more detailed look.

History Of Succulents

Succulents originally grew in areas that were prone to long dry periods, such as the desert. Typical locations included all over Africa, North America, Central America and in certain parts of the Alps.

Succulents are known as the plant equivalent of a camel. They survive for a long time without access to water.

When humans discovered that succulents didn’t need much water, along with little ongoing maintenance required, they started planting them in their homes and gardens. 

Succulents are resilient plants. They are also very pleasing on the eye and come in a range of shapes and colors. These characteristics make them ideal for growing as ornaments in the home.

Throughout human history, succulents have been used in various cultures, including medical and culinary purposes.

Where Do Succulents Originate?

As mentioned above, succulents can be found in many locations across the globe, predominantly growing in Africa and the Americas. Each location has its own unique conditions for growth, resulting in lots of different species of succulents.

Other succulents grow naturally by sea coasts. While these conditions may be detrimental to other plants, the harsh conditions sees succulents thrive on high levels of dissolved minerals.

Now, it should be noted that due to the nature of their respective environments, depending on where they grow, different succulents thrive in habitats that others would consider unnatural. For example, it’s unlikely for succulents that originate in the African deserts to bloom by the coast.

That said, most succulents share similar traits. They have adapted to even the harshest of conditions, from minimal access to water to extreme temperatures.

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?

It’s tough, even nigh-on impossible to determine which country has the most species of succulent. However, it is known that most species can be found across multiple countries.

The two counties that contain the most species of succulents are Mexico and South Africa.

Mexico is home to numerous succulents due to its ideal climate. It’s dry, plenty of hills and the weather can reach the extreme end of the spectrum - a nightmare for some plants but a dream for succulents.

Common species include:

  • Echeveria elegans
  • Echeveria agavoides
  • Graptopetalum pentandrum
  • Sedum allantoides
  • Echinocereus viridiflorus (nylon Hedgehog Cactus)
  • Seven Stars
  • Ladyfinger Cactus
  • Moses in the Cradle
  • Hooker’s Orchid Cactus

South Africa is just as homely. It’s best known for the Succulent Karoo, an ecosystem that stretches across the country all the way to Namibia. The climate is very dry, making it the perfect habitat for succulents to grow. Most of the Succulent Karoo receives little water and temperatures can reach as high as 44C (111F).

Common species include:

  • Cotyledon orbiculata
  • Portulacaria afra prostrata
  • Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
  • Delosperma cooperi
  • Aloe zebrina
  • Jelly bean plant (Sedum pachyphyllum)
  • Zebra plant (Haworthia attenuata)
  • Porkbush / Spekboom (Portulacaria afra)
  • Panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)
  • Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense)
  • Plush plant (Echeveria pulvinata)

Succulent Myths 

Due to their history, there are plenty of myths that surround succulents.

One common myth is that they protect you from bad luck. The Sempervivum tectorum is synonymous with this myth. It grows on rooftops; the myth goes that if it’s removed from the roof, then they will be a victim of bad luck.

On a similar note, another myth is that they can keep you safe and lead to prosperity. This was one of the reasons why oman Emperor Charlemagne made everyone grow a succulent on their roofs.

Finally, it’s said the Jade succulent attracts good luck and wealth. Having a succulent in a home is considered auspicious in Asian communities, in particular. Since wealth is related to growth, it’s not surprising to hear that succulents are seen as such symbols.