It’s the succulent season and we’re here to help! With so many succulents available, it can be hard to find the perfect one for your space.
Succulents are an extremely popular plant that can be found in many homes, offices, and greenhouses. Succulents grow slowly but they do flower readily with the right conditions. They make great indoor plants as well because of their low light requirements—although most succulents will benefit from being moved outside during the summer months if you have the right conditions. Succulents are usually propagated by cuttings and they root easily in soil or sand.
Although succulents are very low maintenance plants, they do require special attention and care so it’s not recommended for beginners unless you want something easy like the string of buttons (Senecio rowleyanus). If you don’t mind spending time learning about your plant and providing adequate light and water, you can successfully grow a wide variety of succulents at home.
New succulent owners often wonder which succulents are best suited for beginners. In this blog post, we’ll share 10 of our favorite succulents for beginners and how to grow and care for them with you!
What are succulents?
Succulents are a special type of plant. These plants have the ability to store water in their leaves, stems, and roots for times when there is not enough rainfall or too much heat causing them to dry out. Succulent care requires a few key ingredients: soil with good drainage, sunlight (but not direct sun), and patience!
Once you have those key ingredients, succulents are a great plant to start with and they come in all sorts of colors and shapes.
How to propagate succulents
You might think propagating succulents is complicated, but it’s actually very easy. Succulent propagation can be done with practically anything that has a piece of the plant on it – leaves, stems, or roots! The only thing you need to know is how to care for your newly-born baby succulent so they grow up strong and healthy.
How to care for succulents
Caring for succulents is easy and rewarding. The majority of them require bright sunlight, so it’s best to place your plants in a space with lots of natural light. If you’re looking for an indoor plant that thrives on neglect (and doesn’t take up much room!) then succulents are perfect! Succulent plants are native to dry climates, so they’re naturally low-maintenance.
Succulents need soil that drains easily and has great drainage capabilities. We recommend using an organic cactus or succulent potting mix for your plants. This will ensure the roots of your plant receive all the water needed while protecting them from the salt burn! When planting your succulents, make sure the soil is only covering the roots – no more! Covering too much of the stem can cause rotting and mold.
Succulent plants do not tolerate freezing temperatures well, so it’s important to keep them in a warm location during the winter months. Succulents need bright sunlight for at least six hours a day – if not, they’ll become spindly! The majority of succulents are poisonous, so it’s best to keep them out of reach from pets and kids.
Don’t forget about your succulent plants during the winter months! Succulents need just as much care in winter as they do in summer. Make sure they stay warm and get plenty of light!
Succulents do not need to be watered very often. In fact, overwatering is the biggest mistake succulent owners make! Allow your plants’ soil to dry completely before watering – this will ensure you aren’t drowning them in excess water. They should only receive water every two weeks or so. If you notice your plants are beginning to wilt, that means they’re thirsty!
12 best succulents for beginners
Crassula ovata (Jade plants)
Crassula ovata, jade plants, are probably the most popular of all succulents for beginners. They’re resilient, colorful, and easy to care for. Jade plant flowers in late winter or spring with clusters of star-shaped white blooms that grow from the center of reddish leaves. In warmer climates, these succulents grow to three feet tall and wide but don’t expect them to grow larger than 18 inches in colder climates. Crassula ovata jade plants are usually evergreen with thick leaves that form rosettes around the base of the stems.
Portulacaria afra (Elephant Plant)
The elephant plant, Portulacaria Afra, is a small succulent with green leaves and reddish stems. It has so many common names: dwarf jade plant, pork bush, and spekboom. At one point it was considered part of the Crassula family but nowadays most people think it’s more closely related to the Pavetta genus. This plant prefers full sun and is drought tolerant, especially when established. The elephant plant can be used as a bonsai or topiary specimen because of its ability to produce dense branching stems that naturally grow into interesting shapes. It’s not too fussy about soil pH but is sensitive to frost. It can also be propagated from stem cuttings or leaves which are easily rooted in soil.
Graptopetalum paraguayense (Ghost Plant)
Graptopetalum paraguayense (Ghost Plant) is one of my favorite plants because it’s easy to take care of and drought-resistant.
The ghost plant, Graptopetalum paraguayense, is a moderate grower that produces rosettes of yellowish-gray leaves with scalloped edges. The tips of the leaves sometimes turn pink when exposed to bright light or high temperatures. In nature, this succulent grows on rocks in full sun with very little rainfall. The ghost plant can be grown in a pot or rock garden with average, well-draining soil and bright light to full sun. Always protect this succulent from frost; it’s not cold hardy below 40 degrees F (about five degrees C).
Senecio rowleyanus (String of Buttons)
The string of buttons, Senecio rowleyanus, is a succulent with small oval leaves that form rosettes at the base. The foliage can be any color from grayish-blue to purple and green but most often takes on shades of burgundy or pink during colder months. In spring it produces small yellow or white button-like flowers. Senecio rowleyanus can be grown indoors as a houseplant because it’s not too picky about soil conditions and has no serious pest problems.
However, avoid overwatering this succulent to prevent root rot. It grows best in bright filtered light with thorough but infrequent watering during the summer and very little water during the winter.
It is a good idea to learn how to properly take care of your succulents because they can be sensitive plants that require special attention. If you want something low maintenance, it may not be the best choice for a beginner. With some study and preparation though, most people who are new to succulents can successfully grow them at home.
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Flap Jack)
The flap jack, Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, is a large succulent with gray-green leaves that are somewhat triangular in shape. It has an open growth habit which makes it ideal for use as a bonsai specimen or topiary plant because of its naturally interesting form. The stem branches freely and the leaves will fall off if the stem is broken. This succulent prefers full sun and well-draining soil but can be grown indoors as a houseplant with adequate light and water during the growing season (spring through summer). It’s not frost-hardy so you may want to protect it from late spring frosts or freezes by moving it indoors or to a sheltered area.
Haworthiopsis fasciata (Zebra Plant)
The zebra plant, haworthiopsis fasciata, is a small succulent with thick triangular leaves that are dark green with white stripes. The foliage grows in rosettes up to six inches wide and produces clusters of star-shaped yellow flowers on long stems during the summer months. This low-maintenance succulent is not picky about soil and can be grown indoors or outdoors in containers with an average, well-draining potting mix, making it the best choice when choosing great succulents for beginners.
It tolerates both full sun and partial shade but will produce more flowers when exposed to bright light during the day. While it’s frost hardy down to 20 degrees F (-29 C), you may want to protect it from late spring frosts or freezes by moving it indoors.
Aloe Nobilis (Medicine Plant)
The medicine plant, Aloe nobilis, is a small succulent with thick fleshy leaves that form rosettes up to six inches wide. The foliage can be green or reddish-brown and the flowers are tubular in shape. This succulent grows best outdoors on its own roots (without being grafted onto a different plant species) in full sun with well-draining soil. It’s not frost hardy below 40 degrees F (about five degrees C). Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot and reduce leaf loss from this disease during the winter months when it requires very little water.
Echeveria affinis (Black Echeveria)
The Mexican hen and chicks, Black Echeveria, or Echeveria affinis, is a small succulent with rosettes of gray-green leaves that form clumps up to six inches tall. The starry light pink flowers appear during the spring months on long stems above the foliage. This plant has excellent drought tolerance and prefers bright light with infrequent watering during the summer and none at all during the winter.
It’s not hardy below 20 degrees F (-29 C) so you may want to protect it from late spring frosts or freezes by moving it indoors or a sheltered area until warmer weather arrives.
This succulent is relatively easy to care for and is a good choice succulents for beginners. It tolerates many different soils, grows well in bright light or partial shade, requires infrequent watering during the growing season (spring through summer), can be easily propagated by removing offsets from the parent plant after flowering, and produces abundant flowers on long stems.
This succulent has some of the best drainage capabilities of any plant and will not become waterlogged if it’s watered too much. It can be grown as a houseplant during the winter months with adequate lighting and watering, tolerates average soils but grows best in well-draining soil amended with sand or pumice stone, can also be propagated by tip cuttings taken from the parent plant during summer months.
Cotyledon orbiculata (Pig’s Ear)
Cotyledon orbiculata (Pig’s Ear) is one of the easiest and best succulents for beginners to grow, making it a great choice for beginning gardeners. This low-maintenance plant features thick leaves that are green with red edges and looks striking when paired with other greenery.
Cotyledon orbiculata (Pig’s Ear) tolerates full sun or partial shade and requires infrequent watering.
Kalanchoe beharensis (Felt Plant)
Kalanchoe beharensis (Felt Plant) is a striking succulent with bold, smooth leaves that are grey-green on top and felted brown underneath. This South African native thrives in partial shade but will also flourish when grown under full sun. Kalanchoe beharensis (Felt Bush) requires infrequent watering and is both drought-tolerant and deer resistant.
It makes a striking houseplant, but can also be planted in the garden or used as an indoor container plant for patios or sunny rooms.
Echeveria (hens and chicks)
Echeveria (hens and chicks) is a low-maintenance succulent that requires very little care making it excellent succulents for beginners. This South American native tolerates full sun or partial shade and only needs water every three weeks if even that often.
Echeveria (hens and chicks) can be planted in the ground or used in pots, indoors, or outdoors.
It is also known as the “hen and chicks” plant due to its unique habit of dividing into clumps that resemble hens with their young beneath them.
Aeonium sp. (sunrise aeonium)
Aeonium (sunrise aeonium) is an easy-to-care-for succulent that flowers year-round, adding an interesting touch of color. This Canary Island native requires infrequent watering and only partial sun but doesn’t mind full exposure as long as it gets watered regularly during dry spells.
Aeonium sp. (sunrise aeonium) can be planted in the ground or used as an indoor container plant for patios, sunrooms, and other sunny rooms.
It grows slowly making it easy to care for and one of the best succulents for beginners, even if you don’t have much time on your hands.