Types of Succulents

Succulent plants can be found in many habitats. Where they sometimes have to cope with very little water and intense heat. Which is why they can store water in their leaves, shoots or roots.

Some species are heavily thorned, as protection from predators.

They have also developed various strategies to minimize the loss of vital water. This allows them to protect themselves, for example, by strong pubescence or a white mealy coating on their leaves.

By the way, not all succulents are relatives. Even if they may look very similar to each other.

Euphorbia polyacantha
The Fish-Bone Euphorbia looks like a cacti but is a member of the Spurge family.

Succulent plants, however, are not only found in deserts and steppes. They also colonize mountainous regions or tropical forests. The wild type of the popular Christmas Cactus comes from the Brazilian rainforest, where it grows sitting on trees.

Schlumbergera Christmas Cactus
A white flowering Christmas Cactus cultivar.

Many succulents are popular as ornamental plants. Among them are hardy species that are suitable for year-round cultivation in the garden.

The fact that they can also cope well if not watered regularly has made them popular houseplants as well.

Sedum rupestre Angelina
Sedum rupestre “Angelina” is a hardy Stonecrop for sunny gardens.

How to care for succulents

Succulents are adapted to very diverse habitats. General statements about their cultivation cannot be made.

A Living Stone (Lithops) from South Africa needs a different substrate than the Christmas Cactus from the rainforest.

Many cacti like it cool or cold in winter. Some Opuntias from North America even do well in wet winter weather.

Opuntia humifusa in winter
Opuntia humifusa in winter. This hardy cactus is native to North America.

So not all succulents are the same.

For the best care, it is important to know the needs of each species.