Super low maintenance, tough, resilient, AND pretty flowers? Yep, that’s right. These spectacular flowering succulents make your gardening life easier (and more beautiful).
Both cacti and succulents prefer a hot and dry environment with a rainy season in order to bloom to their full potential, but can be a great addition to any garden, whether as a groundcover or a standalone section. Let’s get to looking at some spectacularly flowering succulents for your home or your garden.
Spectacular Flowering Succulents
When you think about succulents to plant in your garden, the most common ones bought at the local garden store are kalanchoe and purslane. Both of these succulents are great for adding some color to your garden.
Kalanchoe is a great accent plant, and purslane is a hardy groundcover with beautiful flowers. Both of these flowering succulents look pretty in a pot on a windowsill or in a hanging pot.
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The Aloe family includes more than just the well-known Aloe vera. There are a huge number of different flowering Aloes and many are absolutely spectacular. Big flower spikes with impressive color!
This flowering succulent does well in a pot but will need to be split off regularly since it can grow quite large. Due to its size, Aloe can make a great centerpiece in a succulent garden or a statement plant in any garden. They are well suited to those dry, hot spots where nothing else will grow.
Just look at this one, for example:
If you like the shape of Aloe plants but don’t want a plant that gets as big, then Haworthia attenuata, or Zebra Plant, might be the plant for you. The Zebra Plant is small to medium-sized with what look like zebra stripes, thus the name.
4. Easter or Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera/Rhipsalidopsis)
If you want a succulent that you can hang inside to cheer you up or you live in an area that gets shorter daylight, then the Schlumbergera or Rhipsalidopsis might be the ones for you. These are better known as Thanksgiving, Christmas (Schlumbergera), or Easter (Rhipsalidopsis) cactus, depending on the time of year they bloom.
All three of these can live for generations and have been known to be passed down from family member to family member. They do very well in pots and enjoy being rootbound. These flowering succulents don’t need too much sun or water, and when the days get short, they put out beautiful flowers in almost every color you can think of.
5. Stapelia (Carrion Flower)
I used to call this particular succulent “Milo” for reasons I can’t remember. It is one of the most spectacular flowering succulents I’ve ever seen. I believe it’s Stapelia grandiflora, but please correct me if I’m wrong.
The name “Carrion Flower” comes from the fact that the flower does indeed smell like carrion. It’s a way of attracting flies into the center of the flower. Don’t let the smell put you off though, it’s not that bad!
6. Ice Plant
The Ice Plant is a great ground cover like purslane, and has beautiful flowers. The leaves on this flowering succulent look similar to rosemary, but the flowers come in many different colors, adding a good eye-catching addition to your garden.
Echeveria is a very pretty flowering succulent. I mean, you’d grow this plant for its gorgeous leaf patterns and colors alone, but the flowers are a nice touch! Just look at all the different colors and patterns you can get, and this is only a very small selection:
Even when this succulent is not in bloom, its petals make it look like a green rose. Echeverias are a compact plant, so they’re well-suited to growing in containers. You can plant them in the garden too. Leave them to spread, which they do by forming new rosettes.
8. Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi
I know I mentioned Kalanchoes above, but I just wanted to show you this one in particular. It’s soooo easy to grow, it’s almost crazy. Easy to propagate too, just cut a piece of stem, stick it in the ground and it’ll grow. The flowers are carried on big spikes, rather stunning!
9. Desert Rose (Adenium)
The Desert Rose truly has gorgeous flowers. It doesn’t flower all the time, but when it does, it makes a point. With time, it grows a big, bulbous base and solid trunk.
This photo shows Huernia schneiderana. There are other Huernias too, and they all have these gorgeous little flowers. Its growth habit is very similar to my Milo above (Stapelia grandiflora) but more compact, smaller overall. Easy to grow and propagate.
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Euphorbias come in a huge range of varieties, sizes, and flowers. It’s one of my favorite plant genuses, because they’re hardy, easy to grow, and beautiful. Above is one in my garden with big white flowers and a spiky stem.
In my carport garden bed, I have a Euphorbia that is very dainty, no spikes and tiny white flowers. I have one that is covered with small, sticky red flowers. There’s a Euphorbia for everyone!
Then there are Euphorbias like Martin’s Spurge:
And this wonderfully crazy Crested Euphorbia:
Another flowering succulent that has a pretty leaf pattern and beautiful flowers is Aeonium, or the Tree Houseleek. The Tree Houseleek is a genus of succulents that is in the same family as Echeveria with leaves that form rosettes, but they are still different enough to be able to be differentiated by sight.
The main difference is that Echeveria’s rosettes push out from the middle, while Aeonium’s rosette resembles more of a bowl shape. Aeonium also has beautiful flowers that are a yellow cone shape and spread fairly quickly by sending out more rosettes.
They are fairly compact, so they can be planted in pots or as an accent border for a succulent or cactus garden.
13. Lithops or Living Stones
If you want to get away from plants that resemble roses but still want to stay small, some succulents to choose from are Lithops or Pleiospilos. Lithops, also called living stones, are a succulent that is native to southern Africa. They make a great accent to a succulent garden.
This succulent gets its name from the fact that it looks like small stones, and it does not get very large. Lithops come in many colors and look beautiful on their own, but when it flowers, it looks even more spectacular and adds a pop of color to your garden.
Another small succulent that looks great as an accent to a garden is Pleiospilos. Pleiospilos looks similar to Lithops in that it also looks like a split rock, but Pleiospilos usually just comes in shades of green or gray instead of the many shades that Lithops can come in.
Like Lithops, Pleiospilos also has beautiful flowers, but these flowers are usually a pretty pink and yellow instead of yellow like the flowers of lithops.
Beautiful Flowering Cacti
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With all the different variations of succulents, there are many different variations of flowers that come with them, many of them spectacular in their own right. With all the beauty to be seen with succulents, their cactus cousins sometimes get overlooked.
Cacti such as Prickly Pear, Bishop’s Cap, Aylostera narvaecensis, and Claret Cup Hedgehog, to name a few, have beautiful flowers and can tolerate much more hostile environments than their succulent cousins. The cactus can tolerate severe drought conditions, but once the rainy season hits, there is a profusion of flowers in every shade of the rainbow.
The Case for Flowering Succulents
After meticulously planning out your vegetable garden and your fruit orchard, have you had the thought that you want some decorative plants in your garden that are low maintenance? Perhaps you’ve also wanted some wonderful and eye-catching flowers to liven up things?
This is where succulents come in.
When you think of succulents, is a boring cactus full of spikes the first thing that comes to mind? As it turns out, there is much more to succulents than just a cactus full of spikes, and even cacti can be fun and flowerful.
Cacti and succulents are related to each other. They are both in the same taxonomic order, Caryophyllales, and both store water internally to get through long periods of drought, but that is where the similarities end.
A cactus normally does not have leaves, stores water in its stem or pad, and most have spines or wooly hair. They also evolved in severe drought conditions and can tolerate long times without water.
Succulents, on the other hand, evolved to tolerate droughts, but not those as severe as cacti. They also store water in their leaves for dry days, which can swell to accommodate the influx of water.
Which Flowering Succulent Will You Grow?
Whether you’re a homesteader with a vegetable patch to feed your family or just an avid gardener looking to spruce up your home, there are succulents and cacti for every environment. They come in all shapes and sizes, with flowers in colors that would suit any preference.
Succulents can be used as an accent plant, ground cover, a hanging plant, or can even take center stage in a garden corner.
Their cacti cousins, though often overlooked as drab and boringly green, can also be used as an eye-catching addition to any garden, since they often have a shocking profusion of flowers during their rainy season.
What’s your favorite flowering succulent or cacti?
Last update on 2020-08-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API