Types of Succulents: 12 Plant Profiles and Easy Tips

Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or a complete newbie, it can be difficult to keep types of succulents happy since they’re so different from other houseplants. A huge part of that is knowing which succulent you’ve got. There are so many plants that fall into this category and many of them need to be cared for in completely different ways.

The term succulent doesn’t refer exclusively to just one family of plants but rather a whole variety of plants from different genuses. Succulents generally have similar care needs but it can be hard to know what’s a succulent and what isn’t sometimes. A succulent is a plant which stores water in thick, fleshy leaves or trunks to use later. Therefore allowing them to survive arid climates where the plants experience very little rainfall.

There’s over 10,000 plants that are classified as succulents, encompassed across 60 families. I’ve researched thoroughly and compiled the ultimate guide to different types of succulents – from commonly found to the more unusual finds! This article is great if you’re struggling to find the right succulent for you or you’re not sure what you’ve already got.

various succulents on white background

Table of Contents 

Monocarpic vs Polycarpic Succulents

Monocarpic succulents are plants which experience their life cycle only once, and usually within a year. This means that they only bloom once and usually die relatively quickly after they have bloomed. Some monocarpic succulents only bloom once but then live for a fairly long time after, like agave plants. To make the most out of monocarpic succulents I like to collect their pups or take cuttings so that I can propagate them and have them for longer than a year for example. 

Polycarpic succulents like sedum are able to live for many years and make a great houseplant.

The general rule of thumb is that if the succulent grows from the center of the plant it is likely to be a monocarpic plant, also called bloom of death. If you’re not sure you can just google it and it’ll tell you if a succulent type is monocarpic or polycarpic.

You can also check out this handy table for some of the more common succulent types: 

Succulent Type Polycarpic Monocarpic 
Agave* X
Echeveria X
Lithops (Stone Plants)X
Kalanchoe X

*Not every succulent in the genus of Agave is monocarpic, the following succulents are

  • Agave victoriana 
  • Agave vilmoriniana 
  • Agave gypsophila 

Not all monocarpic plants die completely. Sometimes just a stem or branch will die off, it’s different for each plant. Not to worry I have gone into more detail about this throughout the article, focusing on each species.

What Different Types of Succulents Are There?

‘Succulent’ is a very broad umbrella term, it refers to plants which store usable water in fleshy mass like trunks or leaves, around 5-6 different plant families contain succulents. In fact it’s estimated that there’s over 10,000 different types of succulent plants across the world, with about 10% of those being cacti. 

Here are some of the more popular succulents that you might come across:

Adenium – Desert Rose

adenium desert rose pink flowers

Perfect for: people who love to show off their plant collection 

Adenium is a whole genus of flowering plants which are native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. They have unusual, thick caudices (which are the bases of the stem structures where new growth emerges) which store water. They often have colorful flowers and many are grown as bonsai.

The three most common species of Adenium are Obesum, Arabicum and Multiflorum. 

Adenium Obesum

pink flowers of adenium obesum

The most common succulent species of this genus. It is characterized by its bright colorful flowers. The obesum flowers are tubular, with a light yellow color inside and a much deeper red outside. Obesum flowers fade to a pink color as they age, so in the summer when they bloom the flowers will be darker. 

This plant first grew in Sub-Saharan Africa, and grows abundantly in places like Somalia and Tanzania. 

CharacteristicsAdenium Obesum 
LeavesNarrow at the base of the leaf, round at the edge
FlowerLight yellow inside and pink/red externally 
Height3-9 ft
Native to Africa
Blooming SeasonSummer, and sometimes later in autumn if the weather is very warm

Adenium Arabicum

pink flowers of adenium arabicum

This species is native to the Arabian Peninsula, specifically Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman. The Arabicum has a much thicker caudex than the other species of Adenium and also grows fewer stems and leaves. The leaves themselves are much shorter and wider than the Obesum leaves. The flowers are pointy, and nearly always pink.

Within the name Ademium Arabicum there’s many different cultivars such as Adenium Yak Saudi, Adenium Godji and more.

CharacteristicsAdenium Arabicum
LeavesShort, wide leaves that mainly grow at the very ends of the stems
FlowerA thin red line runs from the center of the tube to the middle of each petal, the petals are pale pink
Height3-11 ft
Native to Arabian Peninsula, Oman, Yemen and Saudi Arabia
Blooming SeasonSummer, and sometimes later in autumn if the weather is very warm

Adenium Multiflorum 

one pink flower close up of adenium multiflorum 

This species is distinguishable because of its light, sweet aroma. The other flowers from the genus don’t have much fragrance at all, so this one as a result stands out! This plant also produces a watery sap which is super poisonous to animals and humans, so be careful to keep it on a high shelf.

The adenium multiflorum is found in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe where it grows on sandy soil, dry ground or savanna. This particular plant has a more slender trunk than the other adenium succulents and it tends to grow much slower.  

The flowers of the adenium multiflorum are striking, they are much more vibrant than the others and show off white, pinks and reds. The plant blooms near winter when other plants have died off, making them even more eye-catching.

CharacteristicsAdenium Multiflorum
LeavesVivid, shiny green, round at the top 
FlowerWhite in the center with bright colors at the edge of the flower
Height2-11 ft 
Native to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique
Blooming SeasonNear winter

Moving on to some of the more rare adenium species…

Adenium Swazicum

pink flowers of adenium swazicum

This adenium is native to Swaziland. It’s got a high resistance to root rot and can handle the cold and wet conditions much better than other species of adenium. They can handle being watered through the winter and also tolerate temperatures of about 20ºF/ 2ºC. This plant is shorter and slimmer than the others, with narrow, long leaves. 

Unlike the Multiflorum and Arabicum, the Swazicum doesn’t have silky hairs or the distinct red stripes in the center of their flowers. Additionally, the Swazicum flowers are more round than others, with a narrow flower tube. 

Adenium Somalense 

adenium somalense pink flowers

This species originates from Somalia, but it also grows in Kenya and Tanzania. Meaning it doesn’t handle the cold very well and will likely lose its leaves and flowers in the winter. The adenium somalense grows a lot quicker than most, and can reach 13ft tall. The petals of this flower are bigger, with wider tubes but aren’t as vibrant as some. Somalense species don’t have long pistils either.  

As well as the 5 I have talked about there’s a lot of other types of Adenium plants. Within each variety there’s also sub-cultivars meaning it would be impossible to talk through each one in just one post. If you have any questions about the adenium species that we haven’t talked about, do reach out and we can do our best to help.


adromischus in paper decoration

Perfect for: funky-plant lovers 

Adromischus succulents are a genus in the Crassulaceae family, their name comes from the ancient Greek words ‘adros’ and ‘mischos’ meaning thick and stem, respectively. They are native to the south of Africa and can be propagated easily.

Many species in this genus are very colorful and require a lot of light to maintain the vibrancy and intensity of patterns. These succulents tend to have small flowers with a white/green flower tube and red/pink leaves. However, these plants won’t normally be shown off with any flowers around, the flowers produce so much nectar it can cause fungal infections so it is common to just cut the flowers off to avoid any risk.  

The genus includes at least 28 species of succulents, but I’ll just talk through a few of the more common types.

Adromischus alstonii 

adromischus alstonii on white background with no pot

The flowers of this succulent are green with brown shades, but as I said it is quite rare to see this succulent with its flowers. The succulent has branched, fibrous roots and erect stems. The leaves are round and often have a little spike at the top (which is called ‘mucronata’). 

Adromischus caryophyllaceus 

adromischus caryophyllaceus close up

This succulent is a perennial succulent which grows up to 14” tall. The flowers are bright pink and have purple or darker pink lines running from the center of the petals in the tube of the flower. 

The succulent is multi stemmed with branches that grow lots of rosettes. The leaves are pale and range in color but generally are about 1” long and wide. The leaves are sometimes maroon closer to the edges of the leaves. 

Adromischus cooperi 

adromischus cooperi close up

This succulent is a dwarf version of the Adromischus plant, it only grows about 1-3” tall and up to 5” wide. The leaves are plump and short which are usually a pale silver-gray color with darker purple spotting patterns across the leaf. The stems are short and gray, sometimes they even produce aerial roots. 

Adromischus cristatus 

adromischus cristatus in a pot

Another amazing dwarf succulent with a few rosettes which consist of inverse triangular leaves that have a felt-like texture. These ones are easy to recognise because they have wavy leaf edges and the short stems which are covered in red, wiry aerial roots. 

The leaves are small but very thick and engorged, they’re green and grayish, usually arranged in a compact cluster. 

As with all the succulents I’ll be talking about there’s lots of other cultivars and species besides the ones included above. 


purple aeonium surrounded by plants

Perfect for: forgetful plant owners

The name of this genus also comes from ancient Greek – the word aionos means ageless, a nod to the fact that the Aeonium are low-maintenance and stay looking youthful for a long time.

This is another huge plant genus with fleshy leaves which form rosettes, this genus is also part of the Crassulaceae family. Since the aeonium stores water in their leaves they survive in dry environments. Some varieties of the aeonium boast long woody stems with rosettes at the tip. Some of the varieties however have super short stems, sometimes so short it looks like the rosettes are based directly in the soil with no stem at all. These succulents are very easily confused with Echeveria as they look super similar, they are also native to Central and South America. They require slightly more care to look after them, they can grow up to four feet tall and their rosette heads can get really big.

The main difference between this succulent type and others is that they like a slightly more moist soil meaning they need watering more often, hence why I would rate them as higher maintenance than other succulents. 

Mature aeonium can bloom at any time of year but will only bloom once before that rosette or stem dies off, the succulent grows the flowers from the center of the rosette heads 

Here’s a run down of the more common Aeonium varieties that you might come across:

Aeonium Appendiculatum 

pink aeonium appendiculatum outside

A. appendiculatum is a perennial, monocarpic succulent that can grow up to one meter tall, with rosettes that are roughly 30-35cm across. The succulents can flower and they tend to have variegated flowers with a pattern of white and pink.

This particular succulent is unbranched and is classed as a subshrub.

Aeonium arboreum cultivar Zwartkop 

aeonium arboreum cultivar zwartkop close up

The Zwartkop or black rose is a cultivar of the arboreum type which grows shiny, dark purple rosettes. The plant is multibranched so will grow lots of rosettes if cared for properly. The leaves react to the light, where the more light they receive the darker the rosettes become. They produce golden flowers in late spring and each rosette will die off after having flowered. The rosettes usually flower at the same time but occasionally flowering can be delayed. 

There is debate over whether this plant originated in Holland or Germany but either way, this explains the name – Zwartkop (Dutch) or Schwarzkopf (German) translates literally to Black Head. 

Aeonium aureum 

Another monocarpic, perennial succulent variety here, this type forms a dwarf prostrate (a prostrate plant is a plant that grows along the ground in botanical terms) making it a great option for covering large areas. They grow in clumps that can reach up to half a meter tall. In the spring time the rosettes can flower, they have dark yellow flowers. 

The leaves of the Aeonium aureum are rounded and spathulate (another botany word, it means that the leaves are wide at the top and narrower towards the base of the leaves where they are attached to the stem). The plant also has a blue-green waxy layer which acts as a protective mechanism in the wild. 

The Aeonium Aureum also has a hibernation stage in the summer, during this time the young leaves form a dense cylindrical structure and the older leaves wilt. The leaves that wilt tend to  stay attached to the rosette to help insulate the soil, ensuring that there is a high level of moisture retention, helping to prevent dehydration from the periods of little rainfall in the warmer seasons. Throughout the period of hibernation the succulent rosettes look like bright green roses making it a fun and unique option.


agave outside close up

Perfect for: people who have south facing windows or live somewhere sunny 

The Agave genus consists of succulents that are native to hot and dry climates. The agave plant usually is recognised by its long, spikey leaves. The agave plant is also monocarpic but it takes years to grow to maturity and lives for years after the plant has bloomed. All of the agave plants produce a sap (like the sap used to make tequila) and tend to shoot off pups which are easy to propagate. 

One extra thing to know about agave is that there is a very high level of variability even within clones of the plants, so it can be harder to identify which plant is which type because there’s such a variance. 

Agave albopilosa 

agave albopilosa close up of white flowers

This succulent is commonly referred to as the white hair agave, if you see one it’s clear why! It is a super tiny variety of the agave plants made up of lots of thin leaves which form a cluster. 

The Agave albopilosa is a very slow growing succulent and never grows larger than around 30cm across. 

Agave guiengola 

More commonly called Agave Creme Brulee, this succulent is one of the most visually striking from the genus and just of succulents generally.

The Agave Creme Brulee is native to Mexico and grows much quicker than the albopilosa, it also grows a lot larger and can reach a height of 22” and can be up to 16” wide.

The flowers of this plant tend to bloom near the base of the plant instead of from the middle which is what we tend to expect from monocarpic plants. The flowers are usually quite light but can grow fruit that sits in dark pods. 

The plant grows actively between early spring to autumn but the flowers tend to bloom when the weather is warmer in the summer. 

Agave tequilana 

agave tequilana outside with blue skies

A very important variety of agave to talk about is the agave tequilana. This plant is super important for the economy in Mexico where its sugary core is used as the main ingredient in tequila. The plant produces sugars, primarily fructose which is harvested and used in the production of the spirit. 

The A. tequilana is a medium sized agave, larger than the albopilosa but generally smaller than the guiengola. The plant shoots new growth from the base of the plant which can mature to be up to 4 meters wide. This cultivar is characterized by its thin, turgid blue leaves. 


aloe plant and slices of aloe

Perfect for: first time plant owners

The name Aloe has an interesting origin, it comes from the Arabic word ‘Alloeh’ which means a shiny, bitter substance, referring to the sap on the inside. There are carvings of aloe plants which are generally considered to be over 6,000 years old, these are found in Egypt and it is thought that the Egyptians used aloe as a burial gift or an offering to people passing into the afterlife (which feels ironic because it was known as the plant of immortality in Ancient Egypt).   

There are over 500 species of aloe, including the most well known of the aloe types – aloe vera. Since Aloe plants are so durable they have been able to thrive in lots of different locations across the globe, they just need to be in tropical or even semi-tropical environments. Most of them have grayish, green leaves, sometimes with white patches across the surface and colorful spines along the edges of the leaves. For the most part, all aloe varieties are quite similar in how they need to be cared for so it’s not a major stress if you can’t tell them apart. However, I’ll explain some of the distinct features of each variety. 

Fun fact: even though we might consider aloe plants to be super useful and therefore desirable, they are actually considered an invasive species in a lot of places because they can grow anywhere. 

Aloe Vera is one of the most popular aloe plants and it is native to the Arabian Peninsula this succulent type has taken the world by storm and is now found everywhere. It is popular for its uses in medicine and cosmetics. It has thick, fleshy leaves with almost no stem. The aloe vera has little teeth on the edges of the leaves giving them a serrated appearance and texture. Some aloe vera cultivars have flecks or patterns across the leaves but many are also just plain green.

Aloe vera plants can grow up to a meter tall but usually stay between 30-90cm tall.

If you are in need of specific information about how to look after an Aloe Vera we have a great guide with loads of great tips.

Aloe Humilis 

aloe humilis in brown pots

This aloe is called the Spider aloe or the Hedgehog Aloe. The species is native to South Africa and so it loves soil with great drainage and will suffer if it is left in water. Across the leaves there are white spots, spines and bumps, the markings when coupled with the thick curved leaves make this aloe look a lot like a cactus.

It can be hard to tell the difference between Haworthia and the Spider Aloe but there is a trick. Feel the edges of the leaves, gently, and see if it feels rough or smooth. A smooth edge means the plant is most likely a Haworthia which grows bumps and has patterns but generally not along the margins of the plant. Small spikes indicate your plant is likely an aloe, whilst the spikes are not dangerous or sharp like a cactus might be, make sure to be gentle and take care.

Aloe polyphylla 

Also known as the spiral aloe this succulent is very cool. The whole plant tends to form an egg shape made up of green leaves and orange flowers, arranged in a mesmerizing swirl pattern. It is classed as an evergreen perennial succulent and known for its symmetrical and impressive growth.

This succulent doesn’t tend to produce any offshots, pups or suckers so has to be propagated by seed. Because of this it is actually illegal to take seeds from wild spiral aloe  or buy seeds from unofficial sources in South Africa. It is considered a criminal offense to take an aloe polyphylla plant from their natural habitat.

Bonus fun fact: Alexander the Great loved using aloe so much to treat wounds on the battlefields that he planted the succulent in carts so that he could transport the crop and have a steady supply of fresh aloe.


crassula in clay pot ariel view

Perfect for: the plant lover with a big collection who wants something a bit different 

Crassula is the name of a genus/ group of plants, they are all native to South Africa and the genus includes varieties which form shrubs by branching as well as ‘stacked crassula’ which have leaves sandwiched together across smaller stems. Like most succulents, plants in the crassula genus store water in their thick fleshy leaves and can last a long time between waterings, making them easy to care for.

Crassula plants have a really cool mechanism to keep themselves healthy as they grow larger. Random pieces of the plant will shrivel up and fall off, if you don’t know about it this can be stressful and it might even feel like your plant is dying on you. It’s actually completely the opposite, the crassula plants do this to ensure that their leaves can get plenty of sunlight and fresh air. Also the pieces of the plants that have fallen which grow into their own plants very quickly! 

Crassula Ovata

many crassula ovata side view

This is the commonly named Jade Plant, it belongs to the same family as the Echeveria and Aeonium, but looks quite different. These succulents are great because they are so easy to propagate. The leaves sometimes develop a red hue which is stunning against the rest of the bright green plant, and if you’re lucky you might see your Jade Plant flower. These succulents are native to South Africa. 

This plant is often referred to as the money plant, but it can be confused with a money tree which is actually a totally different plant, with different care needs.

Crassula Ovata –  Lemon and Lime

crassula ovata lemon and lime in different pots

This variety is a cultivar of the crassula ovata with a gorgeous variation across the leaves. The leaves can grow up to 2” long with stripes running from the base to the apex of each leaf.

Crassula Ovata – Skinny Fingers 

crassula ovata skinny fingers up close

The name says it all really, this succulent has leaves which are long and thin, giving them a finger-esque appearance. The leaves grow to the same length as other crassula ovata cultivars but are much narrower. Like the other types of jade plants the leaves develop a red hue at the horizons of the leaves. If the plant is super happy it might grow white or pink flowers which bloom in the winter.

There’s also a lot of jade plant varieties which are commonly used for bonsai since they are either dwarf varieties or just don’t grow very large at all.


echeveria in green pot close up

Perfect for: gifting, a great all rounder, they’re a crowd pleaser for everyone 

Echeveria are also known as Hen & Chicks because of their tendency to produce lots of babies and are one of the most common succulents around. They are characterized by their spirals of rosettes which can either be smooth or hairy and come in a range of colors and sizes. Some Echeveria will also bloom and can have orange, yellow or pink flowers. Echeveria are a good choice for example if you want your succulent to stay cute and compact because they don’t grow tall. 

Echeveria is one of the largest genus of flowering succulent plants. It’s also one of the plants you’ll see most often in the shops. They are native to mountainous ranges of Central and South America and can be grown indoors or outdoors. They’re great in artwork, terrariums, gardens etc. Most types of Echeveria have thick fleshy leaves so don’t need watering often and are pretty easy to care for. 

Echeveria Abalone

echeveria abalone with light shining on it


This one is a succulent with light green leaves, they form a perfect rosette. The plant is coated in a thin, powderly layer of natural wax. The wax protects the plant from sunburn in fact and gives the plant a unique appearance. 

Echeveria Affinis 

pink and purple echeveria affinis in brown pot

This succulent plant is a low-growing perennial succulent. The leaves are dark green to black and it grows fab red flowers throughout autumn to winter. The whole plant is very upright and the leaves and stem are stout. 

Echeveria Affinis ‘Black Knight’ 

echeveria affinis black knight in white pot

This particular succulent is a hybrid with the E. Affinis species, making it almost a clone. However, the Black Knight is slightly different because it has blacker leaves which grow to about 5” wide and are a bit narrower and longer than its parent species. Moreover, it is very distinctly upright and stout with pointed leaves. The Black Knight cultivar can also produce bright red flowers in the autumn. 

Echeveria ‘Afterglow’ 

This echeveria is a hybrid of the E. shaviana and E. subrigida, it doesn’t tend to produce many pups compared to most Echeveria. However it responds really well to stem cuttings as a primary mode of propagation. The E. afterglow is a beautiful plant with pinky purple leaves. They tend to be more vibrant at the edges of the leaves and have a powdery appearance all over. The rosettes grow on short stems and can be up to 16” in diameter. 


haworthia in white pot on grey floor

Perfect for: Plant lovers who don’t feel confident about their growing abilities 

Haworthia are very similar looking to Aloe. These succulents have thick foliage but grow spines on the leaves rather than on the edges of the leaves. Haworthia also have pointer, longer leaves than Haworthia do. These plants are also often called Zebra Cactus because they commonly have stripes on their leaves, created by the rows of spines. 

Haworthia are also native to South Africa and are some of the most tolerant plants of mistakes, so are a perfect first succulent. 

With over 160 species classed as Haworthias you won’t be in short supply when choosing a Haworthia to take home. Nevertheless be wary, they are commonly labeled as cacti but they’re not actually.

Haworthia fasciata 

haworthia fasciata in grey pot ariel view

Known for its bright white pattern across the leaves I have found this to be one of the easiest Haworthia to find and to care for. It is spikey and stemless and grows really well with other succulents in the same planter.

Haworthia reinwardtii 

haworthia reinwardtii ariel view

These guys are super fun because they tend to grow several, taller plants together. Also they’re very diverse in their appearance. 

The leaves grow differently on different forms of this haworthia. They can form rosettes of leaves, the leaves can spread out widely or curl inwards, they can stack and form tall structures. 

All the leaves tend to be blue-green with flat white spots on them.

Haworthia truncata 

haworthia truncata in brown pot close up

This one is almost a little bit like a lithop in its appearance, it’s a bit freaky but cool too. I’ve personally never been lucky enough to encounter one in a plant shop but you can find them online. They’re more expensive than others but that’s just how it goes with rare cultivars unfortunately. 

Get excited because you can also find this plant in a variegata edition! There’s nothing more exciting than the lack of chlorophyll!! Botanists are playing around with cultivating new forms of succulents all the time. In turn you can get some really funky plants if that’s what you’re into. 


pink flowers of kalanchoe 

Perfect for: the person who loves color 

These plants are beautiful, they’re famous for their colorful blooms and they are super easy to find. In the UK for instance, we have them in all our grocery shops as well as florists and plant shops. For specific information about this succulent look no further than our kalanchoe care guide.

There are over 100 types of Kalanchoe, each of them are quite slow growing and are toxic to pets. They grow a wide variety of colorful flowers, ranging from bright white to orange and pink.

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana / Flaming Katy

kalanchoe blossfeldiana flaming katy flowers

This is the most common type of kalanchoe houseplant, it’s popular because it blooms practically all year. The flowers grow in clusters and the different heads will open and flourish at different times. 

The plant has shiny green leaves with a scalloped edge, like many other succulents these leaves can develop a red tinge when given enough sunlight. 

Kalanchoe uniflora 

Uniflora are also commonly called coral bells, referring to the incredible pink flowers on this succulent. Kalanchoe uniflora is actually an epiphytic plant which means they grow on other plants, they are therefore excellent climbers and can produce stems to support them as they climb. The flowers can be bright red, pink or purple (or a fun mix). I think this plant would look unreal on a balcony or grown on a trellis for example.


different green white and brown lithops

Perfect for: those who have very little room for their plants 

Lithops, or living stones, are a succulent that disguise themselves as stones in order to avoid being eaten by animals in the wild. To achieve this appearance they are completely stemless and grow almost completely flush against the soil. They are native to hot dry regions in South Africa and some of them get all of their moisture just from the air.

Lithop species come in a range of striking colors but they are light brown or tan in direct sunlight to help them blend in even more. 

Lithops were ‘discovered’ and described in 1811 by Willian Burchell, since then over 40 varieties have been classified. 

Lithops localis 

lithops localis earthy tones close up

This lithop is also called Lithops terricolor, which doesn’t make sense to me because these succulents are renowned for their excellent camouflage. This is due to their subtle earth tones. These lithops are one of the easiest to grow as they are super forgiving when it comes to irregular watering.  

Lithops Aucampiae 

lithops aucampiae close up ariel views

This variety of succulent was discovered in South Africa over 100 years after William Burchell’s first description of the lithop. 

L. aucampiae can tolerate more overwatering than the others but too much water causes the leaves to swell. The swelling leads to pressure and if severe enough the leaves will burst open and die as a result. 

The cleft of this lithop tends to be wider, allowing the light to reach the lower/inner portions of the plant. 

Lithops optica rubra 

purple lithops optica rubra with white blooming flowers

Unfortunately, this species of lithop is in danger of extinction, this makes the seeds harder to come by and more expensive.

The name comes from the cleft which can look like an eye at certain stages of their growing cycle. The optica rubra can be bright red or purple and it will grow flowers. 


Perfect for: anyone who doesn’t love traditional succulents but wants something low maintenance 

There are over 70 different types of Sansevieria, or in other words snake plants, they each have a unique look but generally are upright, bright green with darker green bands.  

Sansevieria trifasciata 

sansevieria trifasciata in brown pot side view

This is the most easily found type of snake plant and can be found with deep green leaves or variegated with yellow stripes. There’s quite a few different cultivars to collect, some have curly leaves and some are deep green with rigid leaves.  These plants typically grow up to three feet tall and are native to west africa.

Sansevieria gracilis 

sansevieria gracilis in blue pot

This cultivar of snake plant is more unique looking and compact compared to the other options. This is a great option if you want something fun. It will also fit well in a smaller space and won’t need repotting and major upkeep. Additionally, it produces flowers later in the growing season and tends to bloom in clusters of white flowers.

Sansevieria Canaliculata 

sansevieria canaliculata side view on beige background

Unlike the others, this snake plant is native to Madagascar. It enjoys bright, filtered light and is not tolerant to cold weather periods. Whilst some snake plants might be okay in your garden over the winter, on the other hand this one definitely needs to come indoors. This snake plant is different in that the flowers bloom in the spring and are tubular. 

Sansevieria cylindrica 

This type of snake plant is native to Angola, hence the nickname African Spear. Since it is the largest option, it is a low maintenance but large, striking plant to create a visual impression. The leaves can grow up to six feet tall and they can be grown into many shapes by braiding or twisting the leaves as they grow. 

Sansevieria masoniana 

One that’s a little bit different from the others so far, often called the whale fin or shark fin snake plant. This cultivar has broad leaves and needs more bright light than the other types we’ve looked at. 

The way to identify this plant is from the purple hue at the base of the leaves. 


sedum ariel view close up

Perfect for: anyone creating arrangements or filling beds

Also known as stonecrop, sedums are often grown as crawling plants to cover ground across beds or outdoor spaces. There are hundreds of specific types of sedum however I have focused on the varieties of sedum that are popular as houseplants. Sedum can be classed into three categories, tall varieties, creeping ground varieties and trailing varieties. It is the training varieties that are usually grown indoors as a houseplant. 

Sedum morganianum 

sedum morganianum side view

This is the main trailing variety of sedum, commonly known to us as the Donkey’s Tail or Burro’s Tail. It is a heat loving plant which grows well outdoors in sunny places or is happy indoors in a South-facing window.

The color of the sedum can range from gray to green to blue and often has a chalky appearance. The leaves are arranged across long stems which have a braided look. The leaves fall off the plant really easily so this is a great one if you want to  try your hand at succulent propping.  

Is There a Guide to Succulent Identification? 

With succulent cultivars being crossbred all the time it is hard to identify the exact type of plant sometimes, especially since hybrid plants look very similar to their parents. 

Here are the main things to look out for when you try to identify succulents:

  • Leaf shape and size – are the leaves long or short, rounded, pointy, thick?
  • Colors – look for the colors of the leaves, the stems and the flowers if applicable 
  • Markings – are there any patterns or distinct variations on the leaves or stems? 
  • Flowers – does the succulent have flowers, if so, how many, what size and color are they, how many petals are there on each flower?
  • Stems – check to see if the stems are woody or engorged, do they have any distinguishing features? 

After considering the different elements, start comparing your plant to photos of succulents, checking against the factors I just listed. 

FAQs About Types of Succulents

Why are succulents called succulents? 

The name comes from the Latin word meaning sap sucus which refers to the storage of water in their leaves which helps them survive.

Do succulents need sun?

Yes absolutely, every plant needs sun, or artificial light, especially succulents. These plants benefit from being in a bright, sunny location. Most of them are native to hot regions like South Africa, and they need their natural environments to be replicated as best as possible, including bright sun! 

There are a few succulents which can cope with less light than others like the snake plant but they still need some sun to photosynthesise. 

Where do succulent plants grow?

There are succulents growing in every single continent except antarctica! They can survive a diverse range of conditions, with some species even able to live through snow.

Which succulent should I start with? 

All of them! They are all easy to grow and the most important thing is that you love the plant, see which one you connect with and take it home. You can figure out the rest after. 

But, haworthia and echeveria are a safe bet if you want a more direct recommendation!

What is the most common type of succulent?

The Aloe is the most common type of succulent.

What Succulent Do You Want in Your Home? 

The key takeaway is that succulents are a huge, diverse group of plants which vary dramatically in their looks and care needs. Whatever your home environment is like there will always be a succulent to suit you! 

Succulents are generally a great plant to get going with because they require such a small amount of water and can be propagated super easily so you can share with your friends! 

I’d always advise buying from a nursery you trust if you’re in the market for a particular cultivar of succulent. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff more as they might get in depth background information from their growers, I’ve been able to find lots of information this way. 

Enjoyed This Piece All About Succulent Types?

Let us know your thoughts and feedback – here. We love to talk plants! Ready to care for your own succulents?

Check out all of our houseplant care guides plus all the necessary tools you need to start and maintain a lovely indoor garden. 

Photo of author
Katie Riggs
Katie’s love of plants began at a young age, in fact it was the first time she went camping and discovered the medicinal wonders of a dock leaf that the fascination with all things botanical took hold. Spending time in nature and frequently visiting the Kew Gardens, she became obsessed with the diversity of plants you could grow at home. Her favorite things to grow are herbs and vegetables outdoors as well as her prized fiddle leaf fig and calathea orbifolia. Hundreds of mistakes later she has become well versed in how not to kill a houseplant. Her passions now involve sharing her love of nature and all things green to help other people keep their plants happy and healthy.

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