7 Surprising Facts About Succulents

Get to know succulents with these fun facts.

1. “Succulent” is a loose term with no single definition. It refers to any plant with fleshy parts—leaves, stems, or roots—that store moisture to tolerate drought.

2. The century plant’s name might make you think it blooms every 100 years, but it actually blooms every 10 to 15 years.

3. Some say echeveria is the most attract of all succulents. If you’re in Zones 9 to 11, give this beauty a try in the garden; it’s a classic drought-tolerant roseate succulent. Everyone else? Grow it as a houseplant or in an outdoor container during the warm months. (Here’s how plant zones work and how to find yours!)

4. There are more than 250 species of aloe plants in the world. In the United States, aloe can generally be grown only in Florida, California and Texas. Residents of those states might notice hummingbirds stopping at blooming aloe plants for a sip of nectar!

5. Cacti alone make up more than 1,300 species of the succulent group. Keep in mind: All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.

6. Succulents are amazingly diverse plants, because they can be used in so many ways throughout landscapes. Try using them in one of these five ways: container, roof gardens, vertical gardens, garden beds and borders, and rock gardens.

7. Living in the north doesn’t mean you can’t have a little desert appeal in the backyard. Cultivars of these three hardy groups are great options for cold-climate gardeners.

  • Optunia (prickly pear)
  • Agave
  • Yucca

Psst! Here’s how you can grow a succulent container garden.

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