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The Easiest and Hardest Succulents to Keep Alive

By Sara Anderson
Share to PinterestThe Easiest and Hardest Succulents to Keep Alive
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Succulents are an excellent addition to your home decor or outdoor green spaces. They add color and texture, and since most of them hail from arid regions, they're about as water-wise as you could want. They even tend to be non-toxic and safe for you and your pets, which is a bonus.

Many of these drought-tolerant plants are undemanding, and you won't struggle to keep them alive. Of course, some buck the trend. Browse the easiest and hardest succulents and make the call: which ones are best for your environment and skill level?

01

Easy: Aloe vera

Share to PinterestAloe Vera plant in white flowerpot
Emilija Manevska / Getty Images

Let's start with a succulent that's as easy as pie. Aloe veras are short-stemmed plants with fleshy green leaves that grow up to 40 inches tall. They're chock full of medicinal benefits and won't ask too much of you in return.

Stick your plant somewhere dry where it can get bright light. You can gradually introduce it to direct sunlight. Your aloe should do just fine, provided you hydrate it. Water your aloe generously once every two weeks or so, as long as the soil is dry.

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02

Easy: Haworthia

Share to PinterestClose-up Haworthia Fasciata
WhiteLacePhotography / Getty Images

Haworthias come in different varieties and are straightforward little beauties. Some have white spots on them and turn the color of wine when they receive strong sunlight.

These mini succulents simply need a watering every two or three weeks. They also tolerate medium indirect light if your apartment is short on bright nooks. Just don't put them in your bathroom, because they prefer average humidity and dry air.

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03

Easy: Jade

Share to PinterestSucculent houseplant Crassula on the windowsill.
Andrey Nikitin / Getty Images

Jade plants have sturdy stems and oval-shaped leaves, and they epitomize longevity and low maintenance. These babies can live till the ripe old age of 70, and sometimes they go even longer. With that kind of track record, even someone without green fingers can avoid plant murderer status.

Warm, dry conditions are optimal for jade plants. You can even keep yours outside in containers, bringing them indoors at the end of the season if your area experiences biting winters.

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04

Easy: Hens and chicks

Share to PinterestCommon houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum) growing in the garden.
Jelena990 / Getty Images

Hens and chicks, aka houseleeks, are super resilient, not to mention stunning, with their artichoke-like rosette shapes and variety of available colors. These groundcover plants tolerate partial shade, but they'll be happy chappies if you plop them in sandy soil somewhere they can get full sun and water every couple of weeks.

Hens and chicks are ideal for rock gardens, but they might not manage the outdoor if you live in a cold climate.

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05

Easy: Echeveria

Share to PinterestEcheveria Tippy Pink Succulent Plant
Nora Carol Photography / Getty Images

Echeveria plants are hardier than their delicate colors suggest, though care requirements differ depending on the species. They're drought-tolerant and perfect for individuals with busy lives who want uncomplicated indoor plants.

Echeverias like sunning all day, every day, but they'll be okay where just the afternoon sunlight is abundant. Don't be tempted to overwater them.

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06

More difficult: String of pearls

Share to PinterestSenecio rowleyanus or String-of-pearls plant

Now for the toughies. Strings of pearls can be tricky for newbies, but once you get the hang of them, you'll wonder what all the fuss was about and venture to the nursery for another one. This succulent vine has pea-like leaves that hang dramatically from baskets and add instant character to your interiors.

Strings of pearls don't tolerate direct sunlight, but they need a bright space to thrive. You might require a grow light to create the right ambiance and be sure to use a pot that's not too big. It's an old refrain, but definitely don't overwater this one.

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07

More difficult: Lithops

Share to Pinterestclose up group of Lithops.
Fanliso / Getty Images

Lithops or split rocks are fascinating succulents that resemble stones. And like stones, they don't need you to do too much. That's where the difficulty arises. You'll run into problems with lithops if you're overzealous with your care.

Split rocks should not be watered at all in summer or winter, and they prefer a growing medium that's short on organic matter. If you fall in love, keep in mind that propagating them is much more difficult than with other succulents.

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08

More difficult: Feather cactus

Share to PinterestMammillaria plumosa or Feather cactus plant

Feather cacti are adorable white succulents that look woolly. They sprout equally cute daisy-like blooms with a sweet scent.

Cacti are sensitive and can pose problems for fledgling plant enthusiasts, though. A light thirst-quenching once a month should do the trick, but ease off in winter. Be careful of underwatering too. Finally, even cacti can scorch if they're exposed to direct sunlight too quickly while they're immature.

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09

More difficult: Aeonium "kiwi"

Share to PinterestAeonium Kiwi succulent plant in flower pot
Inna Reznik / Getty Images

Aeonium 'kiwi' is another rosette-shaped succulent. It has yellowy-green foliage with rose-colored edges and can prove challenging. Aeonium plants prefer a Mediterranean climate and are likely more thirsty than some of the other succulents in your collection.

Still, aeoniums can develop root rot, and leaves can fall or become mushy due to overwatering. Underwatering your aeonium can result in droopy leaves, so finding that proper balance is essential.

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10

More difficult: Pachyphytum

Share to PinterestDelicate pink pachyphytum, succulent plant

Stubby, chubby moonstones can, in some cases, live for centuries, but they're fussy about their soil requirements. They're not keen on a dense medium: they want a mix that's gritty, sufficiently aerated, and well-draining.

Avoid splashing water on moonstone leaves when you're watering. Since this succulent grows in winter, don't cut down on H20 during the cold season.

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