Succulents are one of the best plants you can grow outdoors for decorating your backyard! They are easy to grow, have extremely low caring needs, highly adaptive, and can be really considerate of little neglect.
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So, Can Succulents be planted outside?
Succulents in their natural habitats grow mostly in drought-prone conditions. Hence they are well adapted to the outdoor growing conditions & are one of the best plant species to be planted outside. Most succulents can put up with 4-6 hours of indirect sunlight throughout the day so make sure to place them under a shade.
- Drainage friendly soil is their fundamental need while growing both indoors and outdoors. They can put up with low sunlight but not with poor soil drainage. They do well in gritty soil rich in inorganic components and lacking higher amounts of organic content.
Most succulents are not cold hardy so if your place gets really chilly in the colder months then it is best to grow them in pots. This will ensure that you can bring them inside to protect them from the frost. If your place does not get too chilly(remains above 10-12 degree Celcius even in winter) then you can go for planting the succulents in the garden soil.
Growing succulents in pots will also help you to move them as per need if your place gets a lot of rain.
What Succulents Grow Well Outdoors?
Region of Origin: the Canary Islands and North Africa
These succulents are one of the most popular outdoor succulents that are sought by all succulent lovers. Aeonium has got striking similarity with Echeverria and hens and chicks. The leaves can be of the same color or can contain varied shades of yellow, red, and green. This makes them look magnificent when grown in clusters in the garden.
Key Points about Aeonium
- Aeonium has got thin spoon-shaped leaves and unlike most succulents, they go dormant in the summer and grows actively in the winter. So even if they look like they are dying or not growing in the hotter months of the year, it is something absolutely normal.
- The succulent is monocarpic so it dies after flowering. Produces beautiful looking pink, red, white, or yellow flowers. So make sure you propagate them for the next year.
- Propagation of Aeonium is quite easy as the mother succulent produces multiple baby pups around the stem base which can be grown in separate pots.
How do you care for Aeonium?
Do Aeoniums like the full sun? Aeonium can survive well both under full sun and partial shade. They love getting 4 to 6 hours of bright sun and dislike extreme heat so go dormant in summer. Active growth happens in the winter and the spring. So if you have hot summers, consider placing them under some shade.
How often should you water aeonium? This succulent particularly have a slightly enhanced watering need than other succulents especially if your place gets really dry. However here also stick with the soak and dry method. Only water the succulent when the soil feels dry so keep an eye out for the soil moisture from time to time. In the summer even though they are dormant, water them when the soil feels dry.
Are Aeoniums frost hardy? The succulent is not frosting tolerant however it can thrive well under lower temperatures of even 4 degrees Celcius. During the winter instead of using icy cold water use lukewarm water to avoid stressing the succulent out.
- Sometimes the succulent can grow quite tall and resemble a bonsai. In those situations consider trimming the branches to keep the plant in shape. You can use the cuttings for propagation as well however you must let them callus over for a week before planting them.
Region of Origin: Africa
Also Called: Crown of thorns
Euphorbia like most succulents when provided with the basic needs can do well on their own. They are extremely easy to grow and produce stunning flowers. So in case, you wanna add them in your rock garden or certain border places in the garden it is an excellent choice.
Key Points about Crown of Thorns
- It a succulent full of leaves and thorns. They produce bright red, pink, and yellowish flowers depending on the type. The hybrids are especially popular among the gardeners which produce better blooms.
Is the crown of thorns plant poisonous for humans and pets? The crown of thorns is toxic when ingested and the thorns can be troublesome on their own so have suitable precautions in place while handling the succulent. Wear gloves and full sleeves. Keep children and pets away from this plant.
- The flowers really look stunning and are worth all the safety efforts and hassles.
How do you care for Euphorbia Milii?
- They love full sun. In fact, their color also intensifies when placed under full sun. However few of their varieties can also do well under shade. Better sunlight will lead to better blooming.
- Prefers low humidity and does not do well below 12 degrees Celcius.
- Consider repotting after two years as the succulents grow really fast and can branch a lot. Make sure to not use too large pots as that will favor more root development and less flowering.
- Only water them when soil is dry however unlike most succulents dont let it face underwatering or it will start losing leaves and flowers. But be really cautious of not watering it more than it needs.
- In winter especially lower the watering quantity and only water just enough to keep the roots wet. Discontinue pouring otherwise flowering won’t happen properly. In winter ideally, try keeping them at a temperature around 15 degrees,
- Use a cactus mix soil slightly richer in the sand.
Region of Origin: US & Mexico
Also Called: LiveForever, giant chalk
These are some of the best plants to grow outdoors. They are naturally built for surviving in extreme conditions. They are ideal to grow in warm coastal climates but can also thrive well in other regions.
Key Points about Dudleya
- They look quite similar to echeveria as they are fleshy and small and form a rosette.
- The propagation of this plant can only is done via its stem cuttings and roots, not from its leaves.
- It lives for about 50 to 100 years in the wild hence also being called liveforever. So chances are high that it will survive for years in the garden.
- They have a white coating of wax on the plant surface that protects them naturally from intense sunlight. Leave the upper plant parts undisturbed and water only at the roots.
How do you care for a Dudleya plant?
- More or less all succulents can thrive on neglect however dudleya is an ideal example of that. Just plant it someplace from where it can get indirect sunlight for 4-6 hours a day and it will be just fine. It loves bright sunlight so underexposure to light can cause stretching and stunted growth.
- Do not water them if possible for the whole summer season or water once in a while. They are naturally designed for this. In their natural habitats, they do not get rain for more or the less the whole summer season so if you water them frequently in the hotter months their growth will be hampered.
- Most of them cannot tolerate frost so grow them in pots if your place becomes really chilly. They are most suitable to grow in zone 9-11 however there are some exceptions as well.
- Dudleya is tremendously sensitive to damp soil and overwatering. So make sure you plant them in a sandy soil mix that gets dry quickly.
- Water them once in a while maybe once in 10 to 17 days. They can easily put up with underwatering in fact this is something that benefits them as it has adapted themselves to combating intense periods of drought in its native places.
Region of Origin: North Africa and Europe.
Also Called: Hens and Chicks, Houseleeks.
Key Points on Hens and chicks
- Hen and chicks are the members of the Sempervivum variety of succulents. They can grow well indoors as well as outdoors under warm and cooler conditions.
- They can produce numerous babies throughout their growth and this is something very unique. You can gift these chicks in containers to your friends and family.
- Hens and chicks have become a really popular plant as it can grow under wretched environmental and soil conditions and also it is one of the few varieties of succulents that can put up with cold temperatures in the winter.
- Aside from its adaptive nature their rosette foliage and easy to propagation abilities make them highly suitable to be grown and nurtured by beginner succulent enthusiasts.
- The mother plant survives for 4 to 6 years and then it dies.
How do you care for a sempervivum?
Do Sempervivums need full sun? Hen and chicks love the full sun and can do well even under partial shade. For ideal growth, it needs 4 to 6 hours of bright sunlight daily. The fact that it can put up with extreme weather conditions and poor soil nutrition is something really intriguing.
- The succulents get rare outbursts of rain in their natural habitats so they can survive on little watering. Their fleshy foliage helps them in this regard. So water them only when the soil is dry and be wary of not overwatering them. They can put up with neglect to some extent and can go without water for weeks.
How do you repot & propagate sempervivum? In case you wanna propagate just remove the smaller babies(chicks) from the mother plant which can remain connected underground. Then plant them in newer containers and you are done. Removing the chicks at least once a year is a healthy thing to do otherwise it can lead to overcrowding. Pot them in a cactus mix soil, keep them under partial shade, and water them when the soil feels dry.
- The succulent normally loves a temperature of 14-24 degrees Celcius and goes dormant under extreme temperatures. Unlike most succulents, it can put up with winter when kept outside.
- They rarely need fertilizers and does well under rocky or sandy soil conditions. So use a cactus mix with sufficient amounts of pebbles and sand in it.
Region of Origin: Central and South America.
The large variety of 150 different subtypes existing within Echeveria, along with its foliage and vibrant shades of color makes it highly suitable to be grown both indoors and outdoors.
Key Points about Echeveria
- Another one of those succulents that can put up with neglect and adverse conditions. Their fleshy leaves help them to store water for a long period and the rosette foliage makes them undoubtedly stunning.
- There are many different varieties of Echeveria of different colors, you can grow them together for a more striking appearance.
- The active growing season is from spring to summer and blooms during that time only.
- They can be differentiated from Hen and chicks owing to their pulpy and smooth texture.
How to care for Echeveria?
Does Echeveria need sun? All photosynthetic plants need sun. The leaves of the succulent have got a waxy coating on them to combat full sun so you can keep them under direct sun. They love full sun and need 4-6 hours of sunlight daily.
Echeveria is one of the slow-growing succulents and barely grows above 30 cm. They are comfortable with dry desert-like conditions however they can put up with moderate moisture in the air.
How often should you water Echeveria? The watering needs of Echeveria is very low. Make sure you never overwater them and only water the succulent when the soil feels dry. They can put up with underwatering but not with overwatering.
- They will keep on producing offsets around the mother plant which can be easily separated and propagated. The chain of succulents growing in one place looks wonderful from a distance.
- You can also propagate them from the leaves, just make sure you let the leaf callus over before planting them in a new pot.
- Move it indoors if your place gets really chilly in the winter.
Region of Origin: South America
Scientific name: Parodia Magnifica
Also Called: Moon cactus
They have awesome aesthetic value as the green body and yellowish thorn-like color contrast really sets it apart from many other cactus varieties. The thorn alignment is also extremely orderly which makes it more visually stunning.
Key Points about Ball cactus
- This is a great succulent that can be grown both indoors and outdoors. They dont like full sun and can suffer from sunburn if gets too much sun.
- Produces wonderful looking yellow, pink, red flowers. These are one of the best cactuses you can grow. They are highly beginner-friendly and look adorable as well.
- One of the best succulents you can grow for decorative purposes. Another good thing is it does not suffer from pest and insect problems as other plant varieties do.
- They are suitable to be grown in zone 9 to 12( If you are unsure about your zone then worry not, find your zone here). Does not do well under colder temperatures. If your place gets lower temperatures than 10 degrees Celcius then consider growing them in pots and bringing them inside.
How do you take care of a Ball cactus?
- Loves moderate sunlight and does not prefer full sun. So put them under some kind of shade and make sure they get 2 to 4 hours of proper indirect sun and they will be happy. They love the morning sun so in case you have an open east-facing side in the garden you can grow them there.
- Water them when the soil becomes dry. It can be once a week in the summer and once in 14 days in the winter. This succulent prefers little frequent watering than other succulent varieties. Loves a well-draining soil like all succulents.
- Loves being fertilized especially in the growing season. However, always dilute it several times before use. Avoid fertilizing in the winter.
How do you propagate a ball cactus? Propagation is super easy as it forms many clusters of offsets just at the base of the mother cactus. Carefully cut it with a sterile knife and let it callus over for a few days under shade before planting it on a new cactus mix soil. It is slow-growing in nature so keep them in a place that gets filtered sun and mist the soil until roots emerge then switch back to normal watering.
Region of Origin: Southern Africa
Also Called: Torch Plant, Guinea-fowl aloe, lace aloe.
They are one of the most attractive looking aloes you can grow. Aside from their stunning looks, you can also use the leaf gel for a variety of purposes!
Key Points about Aloe Aristata
- You can grow them both outdoors and indoors. It looks quite stunning on the coffee table or along the garden pavement.
- Usage of smaller or shallow pots for growing aloe aristata is a must if you wanna propagate them from the offsets. Root bounded torch plants facilitate the growth of better pups.
- The gel obtained from the leaves can be used for hair and skin care.
- The white spots on the deep green leaves along with their teeth like carvings make the plant look really stunning.
How do you take care of aloe vera Aristata?
- One of the succulents that love moderate sunlight of 4 to 5 hours a day. Can put up with partial shade. Too much sun can cause stress issues so make sure to place it under some kind of shade.
- Always use a cactus mix soil as these plants will die when placed in soil that has inferior drainage.
- Using fertilizer is optional however using fertilizer once or twice during the growing months can help in better blooming.
- Always water at the stem base and not on the leaves. The moist leaf can attract pests. Also only water them when soil is really dry. They have fleshy leaves that can store water for weeks. Cut back on watering in winter.
- You can use offsets for easy propagation in the summer season. Look for small pups growing at the base of the mother plant. Separate them carefully with a sterile knife and plant it in a new pot. Do not water it for the first few days. Keep it someplace where it can get adequate light.
Region of Origin: Mexico, USA, Various parts of South America
Another one of those sun-loving low maintenance succulents that can survive well under neglect. Prefers warmer climates and does not do well in places having extremely cold weather.
Key Points about Agave
- Agave is a slow-growing succulent but it can grow up to 20 feet tall when receives the right amount of sun exposure.
Does agave die after they flower? It flowers only once after it fully matures which can take a few years. Typically as this plant is monocarpic right after flowering the succulent dies.
- One of the best plants you can grow if you wanna have succulents with great foliage and not great flowers. Their spiky leaf structure is tremendously appealing.
- Their incredible appearance makes them ideal to be used for landscaping and bordering particular regions. You can also pair them with other succulents and it will look striking overall.
- They have sharp-looking thorns or highly edged leaves so its best to keep small children and pets away from the plant.
How to care for Agave
- Loves full sun and light for about 4 to 6 hours a day. However, it can put up with partial shade but not with low light conditions.
How often do you water agave?
If your place gets frequent rainfall you dont need to think about watering them. They can put up with underwatering for weeks and are drought tolerant. Only water them when the soil feels really dry. Watering once in 10 days is just fine for mature ones. Growing ones need a little frequent watering however only water them when the soil feels dry. Change the watering schedule to monthly in winter.
- Can do well in sandy or rocky soil texture so loves cactus mix soil when grown in pots.
- Prefers low humidity and is not at all frost tolerant. Bring them indoors when it rains heavily regularly or it really gets chilly in the winter.
- Use shallow pots preferably made of clay or terra cotta. This encourages better root development as they have shallow roots.
Region of Origin: USA and Mexico
Dasylirion is so visually stunning that it is bound to turn heads. They also form rosettes however their leaves are extremely narrow and ribbon-like.
Key Points about Dasylirion
- These are one of the best drought-tolerant semi succulents out there!
- Commonly found in paces with rocky and sandy terrains that drains incredibly fast and lacks organic matter.
- Highly suitable for people who wanna grow succulents in the garden that is extremely low maintenance.
- Flowering is not common every year. They are commonly used for landscaping.
How to care for Dasylirion
- Their natural habitats get rain once in 10 months! Hence they are by default highly adaptive to put up with lower supplies of water. So you can get away with watering them once in a while. Make sure of not overwatering them. This is one thing you must never do. They are one of the succulents that are highly prone to root rot.
- Water rarely maybe once a month in winter, it won’t harm the succulent.
- They grow slowly but steadily. Plant them on a really drainage-friendly gritty soil mixture from where it can get loads of bright sun and they will take care of themselves on their own.
- One of the best plants to be grown under full sun. They love loads of bright sunlight but they can survive well under partial shade as well. But make sure they get 5 to 7 hours of bright light every day.
- Can tolerate a moderately low temperature of 10 degrees Celcius however anything below that can harm them.
Region of Origin: Mexico and South America
Scientific name: Beaucarnea recurvata
Other names: Elephant foot tree, bottle palm.
This is one of my favorite succulents. It has become hugely popular in the last few years owing to its splashy appearance.
Key Points about Ponytail palm
- Ponytail palm has got a bulb-like stem from which long and sleek thin leaves sprout out just like water coming off a fountain.
- It is not only visually attractive but it can really be quite forgiving as well so perfect for people looking for hassle-free gardening experiences.
- The bulb-like stem helps in the storage of water and the thin leaves look just like a ponytail coming out off the stem thus giving the succulents its classic name.
- If they receive the right amount of sun they can grow really tall, their leaves can be as long as 6 feet. In its native habitats, the succulent is known to have grown to a height of 30 feet! However, this is quite unlikely to happen normally. Generally, they are found to grow about 8 to 10 feet taller when kept outside and about 3 to 5 feet taller when grown inside (source).
How to care for Ponytail Palm
- Ponytail palms love bright indirect sunlight for 4 to 5 hours a day. However, they are highly adjustable in nature and can cope up with moderate light conditions as well. They can put up with the full sun and even with low to moderate light conditions. This is really admirable.
- Use shallower pots as that will prevent waterlogging conditions and only water the succulent when the soil feels dry. Always use drainage friendly soil mix and use pots with drainage holes. These plants hate dampness in the soil and are really touchy about it.
- You can grow them outdoors in the summer and if it gets chilly outside bring them inside. They can even put up with low light conditions indoors.
- More or less they can take care of themselves pretty well just make sure you dont overwater them and they will be just fine.
One of the best varieties of succulents to grow outside. They love warm conditions and often time is grown in hanging baskets. Senecio consists of about 100 varieties of succulents, popular ones include a string of bananas, the string of pearls, the string of dolphins, etc.
Region of Origin: South Africa
Key Points about Senecio
- This is one of the most popular succulents used for landscaping. You can use them in rock gardens and in containers.
- Leaves are thick, fleshy, and look stunning in hanging form. The leaf shape varies from one type to another and is named mostly depending on the leaf structure variation.
- Flowers can be of white, purple, yellow color depending on the variety. But more than flowers the “pouring of the basket” look of the succulent stems and leaves is something that attracts people towards the plant.
- Senecio is regarded as toxic succulent and when ingested can cause stomach issues including vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, etc. So in case you have children or pets in your house, it is best to grow them in hanging baskets or in someplace out of their reach. The sap of the plant is quite poisonous so wear gloves, full sleeves, and specs or sunglasses while working on the succulent.
How to care for Senecio
- Senecio is quite a drought-tolerant as its fleshy leaves are capable of storing water for weeks. Only water the succulent when the soil feels dry. Avoid watering the leaves and only aim for the soil.
- The succulent loves bright sunlight, in case you live in cooler climates go for full sun. But if it’s warm throughout the year then aim for providing partial shade with indirect light to the plant.
- They do not like too much rich soil. So fertilize only once a year.
- Prune them before the start of spring to keep it in shape.
- Can be easily propagated via cutting of the hanging leaves and stems.
- Prefers sandy soil that drains water fast and is not at all frost tolerant. Hardiness zones are from 9 to 12.
Where should I plant succulents in my garden?
Plant the succulents in that location of the garden that gets the maximum sun. Green plants love sunlight however make sure you dont plant them directly under full sun.
- Succulents love the filtered sun for at least 3 hours a day to grow properly in full swing. So place them under some kind of shade from where they can enjoy the filtered sun.
Generally, the south and east-facing sides of the garden get the best quality of sunlight. So succulents planted on these sides of the garden will get the best morning and afternoon doses of sunlight respectively.
There are suculents that prefer 3-4 hours of sunlight and then there are succulents that thrive better under 5-7 hours of sunlight. You can plant the succulents that need a moderate dose of sunlight in the eastern facing side and the ones needing higher doses of sunlight in the southern direction for better results.
- However, it is important that the southern and eastern directions of the garden are free of high rises and other constructions otherwise the sunlight will get blocked.
- So in such conditions consider planting your succulents in the garden area that gets suitable light, succulents can adapt really well to external conditions so they will take care of the rest.
All these succulents mentioned here are highly suitable to be grown under full sun. However, they can also put up with partial shade in the garden. You can use these succulents selectively for rock gardens, for decorating your backyard, and for landscaping.
Most of these succulents are quite easy to care for by default and are beginner-friendly apart from a few. So choose the ones that suit your needs and whether you need to grow them in garden soil or pots totally depends on the weather conditions of your region. If you get frequent rainy seasons and chilly winters, it is ideal to grow these succulents in pots or in some greenroom.