Succulents are a popular choice for houseplants, and in many parts of the world, they even adorn gardens. They're easy to care for and available in so many fascinating colors and shapes, and most need little more than sandy soil before they're good to go.
Whether plants are your life or you can barely keep a fake one alive, there's a succulent out there for you.
An old standby, the jade often gets passed from generation to generation thanks to its longevity and ability to survive most conditions. The most common type, crassula ovata, has a thick green trunk and fleshy oval leaves, but there are many varieties in this family.
Jade is also one of the easiest plants to propagate if you're interested in reproducing them to give away or sell. Most of the time, when a leaf falls, it will root and establish itself unaided. Just be aware that this striking succulent is a bit toxic, so keep it away from pets and make sure recipients of your thoughtful gift do the same.
The curio rowleyanus, or string of pearls, is a unique trailing succulent. It's not the easiest variety to care for, but it's visual impact is well worth any extra effort.
Many people adore this plant for its creative opportunities. Resembling strung-together green beads or peas, it makes for a wonderful cascading display from a hanging basket. Stems can be braided or intertwined for an artistic touch. In its native African habitat, it forms mats of ground cover.
Native to Central and South America, there are over 650 types of air plants. These tillandsia evergreens are epiphytes, which means they don't need soil to grow. Instead, they attach themselves to a host without feeding.
A tillandsia can establish itself pretty much anywhere. Owners often use them as innovative decor, placing them in seashells, ceramics, magnets, wood, glass globes, and on rocks. Leaves, sizes, and colors vary depending on the plant.
The snake plant, or sansevieria trifasciata, is also known as mother-in-law's tongue. It doesn't look like your average succulent, but it stores water in its leaves in the same manner.
NASA discovered this species is an excellent air purifier and rich source of oxygen, and it requires almost no care. Don't bother fertilizing your snake plant: it doesn't need any help. It tends to thrive on neglect, in fact, easily growing several feet tall.
Though they come in a diverse spectrum of shapes, sizes, textures, and compositions, all cacti are succulents. The most legendary of these is the saguaro cactus, or carnegiea gigantean. When you envision deserts and cowboy movies of the old west, this is the plant that comes to mind.
Growing upwards of 40 feet tall in its native habitat, the saguaro can easily live over 150 years. Luckily, it takes its size lead from the pot it's planted in, so if you want it to stay small, just leave it in a smaller pot. It produces sweet-smelling flowers and edible fruit, making it an all-around attractive plant as long as you're careful around its foreboding spines.
Aloe vera is a therapeutic and medicinal succulent. Used for thousands of years for food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals, it contains a gel within its thick, vertical leaves that's full of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. It's an effortless plant that doesn't require much water.
As with jade, though, be careful if you have any pets. Though the gel is safe for them, the leaves contain a mild toxin that could give them an upset stomach.
Sempervivum or hen and chicks is a cold-weather perennial, which makes it a bit unique in this list. The more than 40 varieties of this plant are common as ground cover in the garden. Many old European cottages use sempervivum on their roofs to hold tile together and protect the building from weather incidents.
The hen is the main part of the plant, and the chicks are the smaller offshoots. All are low-growing rosettes with thick leaves that generously reproduce in clusters. They come in a variety of subtle colors that coordinate with any setting.
Falling under the umbrella of zygocactus, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter cacti often get confused. Even their name is misleading, as they're not actual cacti. These succulents share a similar appearance but are definitely distinct from one another.
Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti are of the same genus. Though they have identical flowers, the former has leaves with prominent points. Easter cacti have leaf and flower structures that are noticeably different. Going against the grain of the typical succulent, all three require extensive cool and dark periods to flourish, with Easter cacti needing the longest time to flower.
Native to South Africa the zebra plant or hawthornia has thick, sharp vertical leaves with contrasting white and dark green stripes.
These leaves are a telltale sign of its health. The zebra plant likes sun, but not too much. It will temporarily turn red if it's getting too much solar exposure. Brown leaves indicate sunburn. Yellow leaves are telling you it's overwatered. Hawthornia is a great option for your office desk, since it doesn't need much light.
A type of kalanchoe, the panda plant is a fun, fuzzy succulent that thrives in diverse conditions. It requires minimal water, tolerates any humidity range, and has no specific lighting needs. Its soft and inviting texture just begs to be pet — the green and brown rosettes feature oval-shaped leaves that feel like velvet.