Succulents 101

Succulent Plants

The succulent plants are also known as fat plants or simple succulents. Technically, they are water-retaining plants that are adapted to arid conditions. Succulents store water in their leaves, roots and/or stems. Due to the storage of water, these plants have a fleshy or swollen appearance. Aloe Vera and Cacti are two common succulents. Aloe Vera stores water in its leaves in the form of a gel. This gel is obtained from its leaves and has many uses, especially some huge health benefits.

How to identify Succulents

There are many tests you can do on plants manually to see if it is a succulent. Here are a few…

a) See if it has thick leaves or stem where it might be storing water.

b) Feel the flat part of its leaves and if they are smooth and soft, its a succulent.

c) See if it looks like cacti or Aloe Vera(two common succulents).

Succulent Plants Care


Succulents do not like being in colder temperatures. Protect them from frost and snow, which will kill them.


Succulents need a lot of sunlight. They prefer indirect light to the direct, so provide them with bright, filtered, indirect light by either keeping them indoors and near the window or if you grow them outdoors, grow them under the shade of trees, just like in the wild.


You can not over-water your succulent plants. Watering them twice or thrice in a month would be alright. The amount of water required by the plant also varies according to the temperature, light, soil and other factors. Dryness of the soil is the best indicator of when to water a plant. With succulents you should allow the soil to dry completely before watering it again. It will be better if you water it one or two days after the soil dries. And when you water, thoroughly dampen the soil. They can bear being under watered but extreme underwatering will also kill them.


Too much fertilizer can be worse than none at all. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer at about ½ to ¼ the recommended rate. Succulents perform equally well without any fertilizing if light, water and temperature conditions are good for them. Using organic fertilizer is always an ideal choice when compared to synthetic ones.


Some succulents grow quite quickly and need a repotting once a year or once in every two years.

Some wonderful succulent house plants

  • Aloe Vera and other Aloes:
  • Jade Plant
  • Ponytail Palm
  • All cactus species
  • Living Stones
  • Moonstones
  • Air plant
  • Snake Plant (Mother in Law’s tongue)

Some More Succulents

  • African Milk Tree
  • Jade Plant
  • Moonstones
  • Money Tree
  • Medusa’s Head
  • Bitter Aloe
  • Miniature Pine Trees
  • Mistletoe Cactus
  • Medicine Aloe
  • Maltese Cross
  • Coccoon Plant
  • Lizard’s Tail
  • Baby Donkey Tail
  • Living Stones
  • Coral Aloe
  • Cape Aloe
  • Molded Wax Aloe
  • Jelly Beans
  • Mother of Pearl Plant