What makes a plant a succulent?

Succulents are plants with the ability to hold water in their thick, fleshy tissue. Water storage can occur in leaves or stems. A cactus holds water in the stem while a jade plant holds water mostly in the leaves.

What are some types of succulents that grow well in Central Florida?

Rosette Shape:

  • Echeveria: plump, smooth leaves; flower stalks attract butterflies & hummingbirds
  • Sedums: from a few inches to 3 ft tall; trailing form good for ground cover
  • Sempervivum: also called houseleeks or Hens & Chicks; red, lavender or green color
  • Haworthia: small, low growing with white warts or bands; called zebra plant

Upright Shape:

  • Kalanchoe: paddle-shaped leaves; Kalanchoe tomentosa Panda has fuzzy, silvery leaves
  • Cereus: night blooming; climbing; vine-like
  • Sanseveria: called snake plant; shade in protected area; showy white flowers
  • Prickly pear: cactus; colorful flowers; edible bright red fruit; likes full sun & sandy soil
  • Desert Rose:likes sun & rich soil; will not tolerate freeze
  • Jade: full sun to deep shade; undemanding; Jade Gollum (fun type); 3-12 ft tall


  • Agave lopantha: thorncrest century plant; tall stalk with yellow flowers; lots of pups
  • Aloe: thrives in poor soil & needs little water; keep in small pot to keep small in size
  • Dyckia: low maintenance landscape plant; bronze, purple, silver or green foliage
  • Yucca: full sun; thrives in sandy soils, drought, heat, & humidity; clusters of flowers

Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Easter Cactus

  • Not cactus: different types of Schlumbergera
  • Like bright (not direct) sunlight and cooler temperatures to bloom

What is the best way to kill a succulent?

Overwatering! Succulents do not need frequent watering. Terracotta pots allow to soi to dry out faster, aiding in the fight against root rot.

Tips for Growing Succulents:

  • Soil: well drained; cactus potting mix; Potting soil (3x): Coarse sand (2x): Perlite (1x)
  • Water: let soil dry out; minimal in winter; 1-2X in summer; soil damp not saturated
  • Fertilizer: not needed for most; diluted 2-4X liquid fertilizer or a cactus or succulent fertilizer
  • Right Plant: Right Place: Check sun tolerance from full sun to part shade; mature size
  • Propagate: Separate offshoots or through leaf/stem cuttings

For additional information on this topic please visit:

Succulents: https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/ornamentals/succulents.html

Agave & Yucca: Tough Plants for Tough Times. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/ep419

Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert

Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.

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