22 Popular Types of Succulents

Succulents are becoming increasingly popular across the world, used as corner plants in homes and offices or to add pops of color to gardens. As a whole, these plants have similar growing requirements, but some do require different amounts of sunlight or water than others. 

There are over 180 varieties of succulents on earth, all belonging to just over 25 plant families. If you’re wondering how to pick the right one for your garden or to grow in your home, then you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a list of 22 popular types of succulents for you to choose from!

What are Succulents?

Succulents are plants that are easily identified by their engorged, fleshy, and thickened parts that retain water in dry climates or soil conditions. The word ‘succulent’ means ‘juice’ or ‘sap’ in Latin, which is fitting since these plants can store water in their leaves and stems. 

Succulents are popularly grown as ornamental plants in gardens, homes, offices, and other locations because of their unique, striking appearance and their ability to survive with very minimal care. They’re habitats are often dry areas such as deserts, with low rainfall and high temperatures since they can thrive with limited sources of water such as dew and mist. Storing water is what gives these plants their swollen, fleshy look which gives them a unique appearance in comparison to other plants. 

It’s a common misconception that succulents only come from dry areas of the world. However, this doesn’t mean that dry areas make ideal habitats for these plants. They can also grow along sea coasts and dry lakes that are exposed to very high levels of minerals that most other plant species find deadly. 

Succulents are found in various shapes, sizes, and even colors. Some species are very small and are often grown in pots and placed indoors on tables, window sills, or countertops. Others are large and can only be grown outdoors unless you’d like to have a huge, fleshy plant in your home or office. Succulents that grow in extremely harsh climates are often small since they don’t have the necessary resources to grow larger in size. 

Here’s a look at 22 unique types of succulents you can plant in your indoor or outdoor garden.

Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)

burro's tail plant

Native to Southern Mexico, this succulent is of the trailing variety and grows best in hanging baskets or containers. Its name was derived from the Spanish word ‘burro meaning donkey which probably refers to the fact that it resembles the tail of a donkey. 

Burro’s tail can be placed on ledges, shelves, plant stands, or practically anything it can drape over. Reaching up to 3 feet in length, the Burro’s Tail has plump, rice grain-shaped leaves that are fragile and easily fall off, so try to avoid touching it as much as possible. It thrives in bright light and requires almost no water at all during the winter when it’s not actively growing. 

  • Where to place: Place this plant out of the way as its leaves can fall off easily when moved or disturbed in any way. 
  • USDA Zone: 9 to 11 
  • Watering: Once a month
  • Sunlight: Full or partial sun, or bright shade 

Hens and Chicks (Echeveria elegans/ Sempervivum tectorum)

hens and chicks succulents

There are two types of succulents known as ‘Hens and Chicks’, which look slightly different but are very closely related. Both have small identical plants (the chicks) that grow around or near the mother (hen). Both types come in various shapes and colors, which makes them fun to collect. 

Both these plants can be easily propagated by taking out the chickens and placing them in their own, individual containers. When doing so, use a special sandy potting mix that’s specially made for succulents and cacti, since this will give the plant the drainage it needs. 

  • Where to plant: Plant hens and chicks outdoors or in rock gardens. 
  • USDA Zone: 3 to 8  
  • Watering: Once a week
  • Sunlight: Direct sunlight 

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi)

a beautiful christmas cactus

Yes, cacti are also succulents! Most cacti are typically characterized by their sharp spines, which the Christmas cactus doesn’t have. Instead, it has fleshy, flat segmented stems that can grow up to around 2 feet in length. Unlike other succulents, it requires a little extra moisture, so you’ll need to water it whenever the soil in the container is dry. 

The best thing about this plant is that it won’t die if you forget to water it for a while. While it may look shriveled and weak, it will quickly bounce back when you do water it. 

  • Where to plant:  In a more humid environment such as a bathroom or kitchen. 
  • USDA Zone: 3 to 8  
  • Watering: Once the potting soil is dry. 
  • Sunlight: Keep this plant out of direct sunlight  

Jade Plants (Crassula ovata) 

jade plant

Jade plants are native to South Africa and characterized by their branched stems with glossy leaves. When grown in full sun, the leaves often get a red tinge around the edges. There are different varieties of jade plants, some with strange or different-looking leaves such as the ‘Gollum’ variety which looks like a monster’s fingers. 

When grown indoors, jade plants reach a height of about one foot, but if you plant them in your outdoor garden, they can grow several feet tall. They can get a bit heavy on the top so if you’re planting them in pots, remember use to use a heavy container, like a terra-cotta pot, which will keep the plant from tipping over. 

  • Where to plant:  Place these plants in kitchens and offices with windows facing south. 
  • USDA Zone: 10 and 11  
  • Watering: Once the potting soil is dry. 
  • Sunlight: At least 6 hours of bright light daily.   

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)

rows of aloe vera plants

Aloe vera is one of the most well-known succulents around the world, used for its many benefits. For centuries, (and even today), this plant has been used to treat sunburn, wounds, and even stomach inflammation. It’s even used in various creams, lotions, and skin products.

Aloe vera prefers dry soil instead of damp and loves bright sunlight. However, you might want to avoid placing it in a very sunny location since its leaves can get burned easily. It’s not easy to kill this plant, so if you’re a beginner gardener or you don’t have a lot of time to spend on your plants, it would be a perfect addition to your garden. 

  • Where to plant:  Aloe vera thrives outdoors. It can be grown indoors as well, as long as it’s provided with bright light. 
  • USDA Zone: 8 to 11  
  • Watering: Once the potting soil is dry. 
  • Sunlight: Keep this plant out of direct sunlight  

Snake Plant (Sansevieraia trifasciata)

snake plants in pots

Snake plants have stiff, pointed, thick leaves that grow straight upwards, reaching up to a height of 3 feet, and have a strange pattern on them that resembles a snake. These plants are nearly impossible to kill as they can survive for several weeks without water or light. 

Over time, snake plants multiply until they fill up the entire pot so you’ll need to divide them and re-pot as necessary. You can place them anywhere in the house and their wonderful air-purifying abilities will ensure you have clean air to breathe! 

  • Where to plant:  Place the plant in the eastern, south-eastern, and southern corners of your home. Avoid placing it on tables. 
  • USDA Zone: 9 to 11  
  • Watering: Water when the soil dries out (usually once a week)
  • Sunlight: More than 5 hours of indirect sunlight   

Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

ponytail palm

Most people tend to mistake these plants for palm trees due to the appearance of their woody trunks and leaves. Yes, ponytail palms don’t look like succulents as they have thin leaves. However, they do store a significant amount of water in the base of their trunk which is what gave them their other name – Elephant Foot. These plants thrive with bright light, low humidity, and in warm temperatures. When grown indoors, it can reach up to a height of 4 feet, but if you plant it outside, it will grow anywhere from 12 to 20 feet in height. 

  • Where to plant:  In the sunniest room of your home, but not directly in the sun.  
  • USDA Zone: 8b to 11 but grows well in all zones if grown indoors 
  • Watering: Whenever the top 2 – 3 inches of soil dries out.  
  • Sunlight: Bright, direct sunlight or full sun. It can also tolerate lower light. 

Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

crown of thorns succulent

This beautiful plant is ideal for growing indoors as it can adjust easily to indoor environments and dry temperatures. It’s easy to care for, as it needs only about 3 to 4 hours of sunlight per day. This plant can be easily affected by overwatering, so make sure to water it only when its soil is completely dry. 

  • Where to plant:  Both indoors and outdoors  
  • USDA Zone: 9, 10, and 11   
  • Watering: Water when the soil about 1 inch below the surface is dry  
  • Sunlight: Full sun for at least four hours every day   

Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)

panda plant succulents

Native to Madagascar, the panda plant is popular for its striking appearance with its small, velvety, fuzzy leaves and brownish-red edges. It has a long lifespan and while it does flower in the right conditions, it hardly ever does. Panda plants are often placed in children’s rooms, nurseries, or hanging planters since they’re small enough and have a soft texture. It’s also known by many other names such as ‘Golden Girl’, ‘Teddy Bear’, ‘Chocolate Soldier’, and ‘Black Tie’. 

  • Where to plant:  Outdoors in a sunny spot or indoors near a sunny window.  
  • USDA Zone: 11 to 12   
  • Watering: Once every 5 – 6 days. It can, however, survive without water for up to one week.  
  • Sunlight: Bright, direct sunlight. 

Zebra Plant (Haworthia fasciata) 

zebra plants

Zebra plants were given their name due to the white stripes on their leaves, resembling those of a zebra. This plant produces yellow flower heads shaped like cones that continue to bloom for about a week. It’s a small plant that grows to about 5 or 6 inches in height and width, making it ideal to grow indoors. Slow-growing and dainty-looking, the zebra plant is one of the rare types of succulents out there. 

  • Where to plant:  You can grow these outdoors under a copy of trees in humid, warm climates. If grown outdoors, plant it in a sheltered spot. You can also grow them indoors. 
  • USDA Zone: 11, 12  
  • Watering: When 25% of the topsoil is dry. Also requires high humidity levels.  
  • Sunlight: Bright, indirect light.   

Ball Cactus (Parodia magnifica) 

many ball cactuses

The ball cactus is popular for its cute, unique look. With spiky columns lining the plant’s exterior, it produces small, yellow flowers that grow in little clusters. Ball cacti are often placed indoors and make great container plants. Their ability to tolerate drought also makes them ideal for xeriscape gardening. 

  • Where to plant:  A south-facing window. It can grow both indoors and outdoors. 
  • USDA Zone: 9 to 12   
  • Watering: Water regularly during spring and summer months, but only when the topsoil is dry. When you do water it, let the soil soak in the water, but remember to let it drain.  
  • Sunlight: Plenty of direct sunlight. 

Whale’s Tongue Agave (Agave ovatifolia) 

whale's tongue

Native to the mountains of Mexico, this succulent has flat and wide leaves, that are light green in color. It’s said that the leaves resemble the tongue of a whale which is why the plant was given its name. This plant isn’t ideal to grow indoors as it can grow to about 6 ft in width and 5 ft in height, so if you’re looking for a succulent to grow outdoors, it could be perfect for you. It needs regular watering, unlike most other succulents, in order to grow to its full size and it produces extremely tall flower spikes (about 10 – 14 ft). 

  • Where to plant:  It can thrive wherever you place it.  
  • USDA Zone: 7 to 11   
  • Watering: Water the young plants every 4 to 5 days and then change to once a week.  
  • Sunlight: Full or lightly filtered shade.   

Dudleya (Echeveria spp.)

Dudley succulents

This succulent is native to California and has over 40 different varieties, 10 of which are classified as endangered species.  Their leaves are arranged in a circle, like a rosette, and most have rounded edges, with a slight brownish color on the tips. This unusual succulent is also known as ‘Live Forever’ because with a little extra care, it can live for up to 100 years! According to some sources, Dudleya succulents shouldn’t be watered at all during the summer unless it’s planted in sandy soil, which could possibly survive summer rainfall. 

  • Where to plant:  In a more humid environment such as a bathroom or kitchen. 
  • USDA Zone: 3 to 8  
  • Watering: Once the potting soil is dry. 
  • Sunlight: Keep this plant out of direct sunlight  

Pig’s Ear (Cotyledon orbiculate) 

pig's ear succulent plants

Pig’s ear succulents were given their name because of their oval-shaped, thick leaves with reddish edges that resemble the ears of a pig. They can grow up to 2 feet in height and produce red and yellow flowers in late summer or early autumn that droop down from the tops. This plant is more on the bigger side, reaching up to 4 feet high when fully mature, making it perfect for an outdoor garden. Plant it in a succulent bed, hanging basket, or a rock garden and make sure to give it a little extra room as it can take up a lot of space. 

  • Where to plant:  It can be grown indoors and outdoors. 
  • USDA Zone: 9b to 12   
  • Watering: During the growth seasons, spring and summer, water the plant regularly (once or twice a month).  
  • Sunlight: Prefers sun but tolerates partial shade.  

Torch Plant (Aloe aristate) 

torch lant succulents

This is one of the largest succulents as it grows up to 10 feet in height and about 18 inches wide. Initially, its leaves have a light green shade that begins to turn darker and darker in the sun. During the summer, their flowers grow on top of each stem, giving it the appearance of a torch, which is how the plant got its name. It’s an ideal plant for brightening up your garden and adding a pop of color to it. 

  • Where to plant:  Grows well when placed in a window that faces west or south. 
  • USDA Zone: 9 to 11   
  • Watering: About 2 to 4 times a month. Cut back on watering during the cold seasons.  
  • Sunlight: This avid sun lover prefers around 4 hours of bright sunlight per day. 

Chocolate Drop (Adromischus maculatus)

chocolate drop succulent plants

This succulent has flat, greyish-green, oval-shaped leaves with purplish spots all over them. It’s a small plant that grows only up to 8 inches in height and width and requires bright indoor light to thrive. It doesn’t tolerate cold well and is very sensitive to overwatering. While it’s a cute, plant to have indoors, it can be highly toxic to humans and animals, so if you have kids or pets, remember to keep it out of their reach. 

  • Where to plant:  If planting indoors, place in a room that gets a lot of sunlight (preferably near a window facing south if you live in the Northern Hemisphere). 
  • USDA Zone: 4 to 9  
  • Watering: Water whenever the soil has dried out. 
  • Sunlight: At least 6 hours per day.  

String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii variegate)

string of hearts succulent

This trailing succulent is native to South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Swaziland. Also known as ‘Rosary Vine’, it has green leaves shaped like little hearts and a purple stem.  It can be propagated by tubers, seeds, and stem cuttings and its watering needs are the typical needs for a succulent. This is a completely safe plant to have indoors as it’s non-toxic to animals and humans, so you can place it anywhere you want to. 

  • Where to plant:  Any living space or even outdoors.  
  • USDA Zone: 9 to 12   
  • Watering: More frequent watering than most other succulents. Allow the soil to dry in between the watering and when you do water it, do so deeply.  
  • Sunlight: Lots of bright, indirect light. Do not place in direct sun for too long, it will scorch the leaves.   

Baby Toes (Fenestraria rhopalophylla)

baby toe succulent with yellow flowers

While most succulents have rosettes, this window-leaf variety grows tubes instead. In the wild, only the tips of its leaves stay above the ground while the rest of it stays under. It’s one of the most popular succulents for indoor gardens due to its striking appearance and white or yellow flowers that bloom during fall and spring. 

  • Where to plant:  Like most other succulents, place near a south-facing window if you’re growing it indoors. 
  • USDA Zone: 10a to 11b   
  • Watering: Use the soak and dry watering method: water until the soil is well soaked and runs through the drainage holes of the pot. Then, allow it to dry completely.  
  • Sunlight: At least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.   

Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

flaming katy

Another common houseplant, the flaming Katy is native to Madagascar and thrives in temperatures from 60 – 85 degrees. Highly sensitive to the cold, this plant is ideal for an indoor garden, but it does require a lot of bright light. In the right growing conditions, it will produce a lot of beautiful flowers in dark red shades as well as gold and white colors.

  • Where to plant:  Place on a well-lit area. 
  • USDA Zone: 10 to 12   
  • Watering: Once a week in the Summer and once every 2 or 3 weeks in the Winter.  
  • Sunlight: Keep this plant out of direct sunlight  

Pincushion Cactus (Mammillaria crinite) 

pincushion cactus with pink flowers

This succulent is quite similar to the ball cactus in appearance, as it’s covered in pointy spikes with little flowers sprouting from its top. It’s a small cactus variety that doesn’t grow much taller than 6 inches, so you can place it anywhere in. your home. It can be either barrel or ball-shaped. What’s special about this plant is that it produces edible fruit that’s juicy and sweet. It’s said that the Blackfoot Indians regarded its fruits as a delicacy. 

  • Where to plant:  Place in any spot that gets sunlight and good airflow. 
  • USDA Zone: 9b to 11b 
  • Watering: Water sparsely, when the soil is almost dry in spring, summer, and early fall. Reduce by half during winter. 
  • Sunlight: Do not leave it in directly for over 4 hours per day.   

Roseum  (Sedum spurium) 

roseum succulents

The Roseum succulent is known for its impressive ability to thrive in any type of soil, even soil that’s nutritionally poor. Therefore, it’s an excellent choice if you’re not sure about the quality of the soil you’ve got in your garden. Roseum plants are very small, growing up to 6 inches in height, which makes them perfect for growing indoors. It needs hardly any watering and will let you know when it’s thirsty by looking wrinkly and losing its plumpness. This is a HIGHLY TOXIC plant that can be fatal if ingested, so it MUST be placed far away from children and pets. 

  • Where to plant:  Great for outdoor gardens – place it in the sunniest part of the garden or grow in a planter on a covered patio. 
  • USDA Zone: 4 to 8  
  • Watering: About 4 to 6 hours daily. 
  • Sunlight: It can handle full sun and partial shade.   

Stonecrop (Sedum spp.)

stonecrop succulents

Stonecrop succulents (or sedum) come in a wide range of colors, shapes, sizes, and forms. They’re known as one of the easiest types of succulents to grow due to their tremendous ability to tolerate direct sunlight and poor-quality soil. There are two main types of stonecrop succulents: creeping sedum that grow along the ground and tall sedums with long, thick stems. 

  • Where to plant:  A sheltered, sunny site. Grow in a terracotta container or a window box. 
  • USDA Zone: 3 to 9  
  • Watering: During the summer, water every 7 to 10 days. And every 2 to 3 weeks in the colder seasons. 
  • Sunlight: About 5 or more hours of full or direct sun per day. 

Wrapping Up 

The succulents on this list are just a few of hundreds of different varieties out there. As you can see, they’re all extremely easy to look after and some are quite impossible to kill, so they’re perfect for a novice gardener. If you’ve decided on which one you’d like to grow, it’s time to get started!