As you may have noticed from my bio, I have a terrible habit of killing houseplants. Try as hard as I may, they just never seem to thrive.
Now, part of the problem is probably having cats and how this means I can’t really use my windowsills for plants, but the bigger issue really is … I just don’t know what I’m doing!
Succulents seemed to be a safer bet. And, like many others, I’ve found myself swept up in the trend and am fascinated by this cute little indoor plants and the cosy vibe they add to a room’s décor.
So, I decided to give them a try, but I had a few questions to explore first, and I thought I’d share my findings with you.
Keep reading to find out how long succulents live, and how best to care for them.
What Are Succulents?
Succulents are plants that store water in their fleshy leaves (or stems), and the name derives from the Latin ‘sucus’ meaning juice.
Due to the way in which they store water, they are somewhat resistant to drought and perfect for arid climates. That doesn’t mean they don’t need water at all though, but I will come back to that later.
What Types of Succulents Are There?
You can now find a variety of succulents, although there is some debate among botanists about exactly which plants qualify. You’ll find that many cacti are also classed as succulents, but not all.
Here are some of the most popular types of succulents:
- Aloe Vera
- Bear’s Paw
- Burro’s Tail
- Crown of Thorns
- Flaming Katy
- Hens and Chicks
- Jade Plant
- Panda Plant
- Pig’s Ear
- Plush Plant
- Snake Plant
- Torch Plant
- Zebra Plant
Are Succulents Easy To Care For?
Read: Will I kill it?
One of the main attractions of the succulent is that it’s actually one of the easiest plants to care for – making it an excellent addition to the homes and gardens for beginner’s and green-fingered experts alike.
Some of the easiest types of succulents to grow indoors from the list above include Aloe Vera, Jade Plants, Hens and Chicks, and Snake Plants
How Long Do Succulents Live?
As there are so many types of succulents, it’s incredibly difficult to give an estimation of how long they might live. But, cared for well, they can live a very long time – with some reaching the wise old age of 100.
I have a Jade Plant that is easily pushing 10 years old, and I’ve taken many successful cuttings from her that have also lived for many years. And Jade Plants (and Crassula) can live for 70-100 years, so I’m hoping mine has plenty of life left in it yet.
I do find I have less luck with Aloe, however, but even Aloe can live for between 5 – 25 years; I’ve just not cracked how to best care for it yet.
Hens and Chicks usually have a much shorter lifespan, more like 3-4 years, but a cacti succulent like the Barrel Cactus can live for up to 100 years.
How Long Do Succulents Live Indoors?
Succulents are a popular choice as indoor plants and, well-cared for, can live a long life. As long as you select a succulent that is suited to indoor growing, and follow the proper soil, container and water requirements, it should thrive.
How Long Do Succulents Live Outside?
Not all succulents can live indoors, and some are more suited to outdoors spaces. However, as with indoor succulents, the growing success of an outdoor succulent, and how long it is likely to live, depends upon the care.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some succulents may be sensitive to frost damage, which can shorten their lifespan, so it may be necessary to plant such varieties in pots so they can be moved indoors or into a conservatory for the colder months.
Sempervivums succulents are better suited to the outdoors, but they tend to live for just 3 years. The agave, however, which also thrives outdoors, can live for up to 30 years.
How Long Do Succulents Live Without Water?
By design, they can last longer than many other plant types without water, but how long a succulent can live without water will again depend upon the succulent in question.
As a result of their native, dry growing conditions, succulents have a tendency to absorb water at a much faster rate than other types of plants and it’s important not to over-water them.
And generally speaking, succulents that are grown indoors, and are not exposed to the elements, can retain their water much more effectively.
As a rough guide, most succulents should be able to survive with no water for over two weeks, but this period can easily extend to months for some types of succulents.
Keeping Your Succulent Alive: Succulent Care Tips
To keep your succulents in tip top condition, follow these easy care steps:
- Ensure they have enough sunlight: A good thing to look for is the direction of growth. If your plant is leaning towards the sun, it needs more light on the opposite side, so rotate it. But if the leaves have any burn spots, it is being exposed to too much sunlight.
- Choose a suitable pot: Your succulent will need room to grow and a pot with good drainage is also important.
- Don’t overwater: You’ll likely need to water your succulent every 10-14 days, but this will depend on whether it is housed indoors or out, and on the conditions too. A good tip is to check the first inch of soil. If it’s dry, your succulent needs water. Remember to water the soil and not the leaves.
Whether you’re a brand new gardener or a seasoned sower, and whether you live in a flat or have a huge backyard, the succulent can be a great choice.
There are many varieties to choose from and, with proper care, they can live a very long life – with some reaching the grand old age of 100!
Follow the top tips above to ensure your succulent lives a long and happy life.