Succulents are distinctive because of a unique structure that enables them to retain water in their leaves and stems. Although succulents are usually considered to be a desert plant and are common in arid environments, they can also be found in tropical climates. Many succulents are suitable for indoor growing. If conditions are just right, they may surprise you with a colorful bloom.
Jade (Crassula spp.) is a tough, attractive succulent that has become a popular indoor plant, valued for its interesting shape and plump, dark green leaves. Jades can live many years and over time can grow to 5 feet height. Jades have very few demands, but need at least four hours of bright sunlight every day in order to thrive. Jade is hardy outdoors in USDA Zones 10 to 11.
Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) is a succulent that grows in clumps with fleshy, sword-shaped leaves extending from the center of the plant. In winter and spring, this drought-tolerant succulent sends up tall stalks topped with oblong yellow blooms. Also known as medicinal aloe or burn plant, the gel of the plant is used to heal burns and scrapes and is an ingredient in soaps and shampoos. Aloe vera is hardy in USDA Zones 8 to 11.
Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) is a blooming succulent with waxy, plump foliage and clusters of colorful flowers. Although kalanchoe is often given as a houseplant gift during the winter holidays, the plant will continue to thrive when given adequate care. Kalanchoe can be grown outdoors in warm, dry areas, and is hardy to USDA Zones 10 to 11.
Century Plant Agave
Century plant agave (Agave americana) is a large, dominating succulent plant with sharp, spiny lance-shaped leaves sprouting from the center in rosette form. Growing wild in the deserts of Mexico and the American Southwest, agave prefers full sunlight and well-drained gravelly or sandy soil. Agave is hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11. Century plant agave can grow to heights of 12 feet, with flower spikes extending 25 feet and sometimes higher. Other varieties of agave will be smaller in stature, including Parry's agave, which tops out at 6 to 18 inches.
Echeveria (Echeveria imbricata) is a type of succulent nicknamed "hens and chicks" because of the identical miniature plants that grow at the base of the mother plant. Echeveria is available in a variety of shapes and colors, including blue, green, gray, purple, pink and bi-colors. Echeveria does well in a border, rock garden or in a container shared with other succulents, and can also be grown indoors. Most varieties of echeveria are hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11.
Sansevieria (Sansevieria trifasciata), also known as mother-in-law's tongue or snake plant because of its stiff, upright leaves, is a popular indoor plant that will tolerate neglect and will grow happily in a shady corner of your home. Native to tropical and sub-tropical climates of Asia, Europe and Africa, sansevieria is hardy outdoors in USDA zones 10 to 11.