As there are a lot of varieties of succulents available, and sometimes there are plants that are labeled “Succulent varieties” or “Succulent, assorted” at the garden center or local plant nursery, you must identify which succulent you will buy as there are a lot of succulent types that look similar to each other.
To distinguish each succulent that you own and be successful in identifying a specific succulent that you want to buy at a local nursery, you have to follow this guide. Make sure to continue to read below to find out more information on how to correctly identify succulents.
Each succulent species requires different care needs. Some can be quite easy to care for while others can be quite a challenge to some gardeners. We will do our best to help you identify your succulents so you can make an informed decision when choosing which succulents will work best for you.
Why is it Important to Identify Succulents?
- You can provide the best possible care for the plant.
- For safety precautions. You will know whether the plant is non-toxic or toxic. If you have pets or small children, you will know which succulents must be placed in an area where no one can reach them because they are toxic to either your pets and/or your small children.
- You will know if the plant is frost-hardy or not. Some gardeners tend to leave their plants outside and leave them exposed in the cold weather, which results in the death of the plant because it is not frost-hardy at all.
How to Correctly Identify Succulents
Note the characteristics of the succulent. To distinguish the similar succulents from one another, you must check for distinctive characteristics such as:
- Leaf – check the size, shape, and thickness
- Flower – check the shape, color, number of blooms and petals
- Color – check the color of the foliage, flowers, and stems
- Markings – Some varieties are multi-colored, variegated, and some succulents have markings or bumps on the leaves
- Stem – check the color, texture, length (Some succulents grow short while others grow long and tend to crawl, spread, or trail.) Does it have a woody, fleshy, thick, or slender stem?
- Unique characteristics – some succulents have hairs, spines, thorns, spikes, wax
- Size and shape of the succulent
- Cold hardiness – Soft or frost-hardy
- Growing conditions – Needs well-draining soil, direct sunlight or indirect sunlight
- Plant Growth – forms a rosette or there are a lot of stems
For you to identify a specific succulent, you must know each specific characteristic that makes it unique from others. For example, you should learn whether the succulent is frost-hardy or not. If you live in an area in the Midwest and you own a rosette succulent that grows outdoors as a perennial plant, it means it is frost-hardy and you can rule out the other similar succulents that look the same but does not survive when exposed in cold weather conditions.
Consult experts or other gardeners. You can ask fellow gardeners to help you identify a succulent. Take a good photo of the specific succulent and take note of the specific characteristics that they have. If you have a local nursery you can show them the photo and most of them will be happy to help you out.
You can also check out Facebook groups or forums that help fellow succulent lovers. The people in these groups are happy to help others and help them identify their plants. You must be polite and ask respectfully and always be appreciative of the people who help you out.
When you get a succulent name, you can check it online for available images and compare them with your plant. You can also check for more details and compare whether its unique characteristics can also be found in your succulent.
Phone Apps. There are plenty of phone apps available in the Play Store or iTunes Store that you can download and use to correctly identify different succulents.
Here are some of the common succulents that you can find in your local garden or plant nursery:
Succulents With Leaves That Have Spikes or Thorns
Aloe – Does your plant have spiky leaves with small teeth on its edges?
Aloes are popular among gardeners because of its medicinal properties. If you live in areas that do not get frost during wintertime, this succulent is perfect for you. You can also use them as outdoor plants or as an excellent addition to your garden landscape. Aloes bloom a tall flower spike and produce flowers that look like bells that can come in colors of peach, pink or red hues. Hummingbirds are commonly attracted to its flowers and will help pollinate them. An important tip: Aloes are fire retardant plants.
Agave – Agave plants have a similar appearance to Aloes. One of its unique characteristics is that it has spikes on the tip of every leaf. Some plants do not show this distinct feature especially if they are cut-off in the plant nursery before they are sold. Agaves can also have markings like watermarks or lines found on its leaves – these are left by the previous layers of leaves.
Soft Rosette-Forming Succulents
This variety of succulent form into a rose-like shape, they are also known as circular-shaped succulents.
Echeveria – This succulent forms a rosette and some species may form as a short rosette growing close to the ground and sometimes may end up with a long stem and a clump of leaves on its top.
Aeonium – This succulent experiences two dormancy periods that help them survive long hot summers, especially when there is little to no water present. This plant will look a little shabby during the drought-like periods and may recover its appearance when the fall season comes.
Hardy Rosette-Forming Succulents
Sempervivum – Hardy Hens and Chicks
This is a hardy succulent. It is easy to grow and can be added to xeriscapes or desert-inspired gardens. This plant has ever-changing colors and textures, making it an easy favorite for individuals who love succulent crafts.
Succulents With Stinky Flowers
Carrion Flower succulent has a distinct smell of rotting meat. Flies are attracted by the flower’s smell and pollinate them in the process.
Succulents With Flat Leaves
Christmas cactus – This succulent is one of the holiday cactus groups.
Queen of the Night – This succulent produces flowers and these flowers open during at night, hence the name “Queen of the Night”.
Orchid Cactus – This succulent produces huge pink, orange, white or yellow flowers just like an orchid plant.
Round Leaf Succulents
Sedums – Sedums are one of the most common succulents in gardens, they come in various shapes, colors, and sizes. Some sedums can be used as ground covers, shrubs, ornamental plants, or flowering perennials. Sedums can grow both indoors and outdoors if its preferable growing conditions are met.
Crassulas – One of the most common succulents belonging from the Crassula genus is the Jade plant, its scientific name is Crassula ovata. Some crassula species form tidy clumps and large shrubs that can have woody stems. Some can grow small but some species can grow to tree-like sizes.
Succulents With Reproductive Leaves
Kalanchoes – Kalanchoes are commonly found in Africa or Madagascar. Most gardeners plant kalanchoes as an ornamental plant. One of the most common kalanchoe species is the Christmas kalanchoe. This plant can bloom flowers in the winter and will last for as long as 3 months. Most kalanchoes have beautiful foliage and can be grown as houseplants even in areas with cold climates.
Since there are plenty of succulent varieties available around the world, identifying them can be quite tricky. Some succulent types have similar colors with each other, as well as similar shapes, sizes, and forms. Others rarely produce flowers so it can be quite difficult to identify for you. If you are a beginner, you must keep in mind that most succulents require similar care and appropriate growing conditions, such as they love full sunlight, well-draining soil, and low humidity.
Watering them must be done thoroughly but allow the soil to dry before doing so again. Since not all succulents are the same, you must identify them correctly so you will know what is the best care needed by the plant. If you will be successful, they will thrive, produce flowers and you can even propagate them.
Do you know how to identify succulents? If you are wondering which type of succulent you have in your garden, you came to the right place. Here at Eden Succulents, you will learn how to identify succulents correctly. Are you searching for a guide on how to grow and care for succulents? If you need any information on how to grow succulents, you must visit our website. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or inquiries please let us know. We would like to hear from you!