16 Most Popular Succulents Species In The World

16 Most popular succulent species in the world

Some succulents are quirky, while others are cute. Some succulents are colorful, while others are fearful. What we can all agree with is that succulents are some of the most creative of mother nature’s handwork.

These varieties of perennial plants are brilliant for those trying out green thumbs for the first time because they do not ask for much. Four to six hours of sunshine and a drink now and then will keep them budding for years on end.

There are hundreds of succulents to choose from. We decided to break them down into little groups that would catch your attention. 

Indoor Succulents

From an old cup to a painted ceramic pot, these popular succulent species are perfect for small spaces and will brighten up any nook and cranny.

1. Crassula ovata – The Jade Plant

Known to bless the house in which it resides, the Jade Plant transcends cultures and language barriers to become one of the most popular succulents. Commonly associated with good luck, friendship, and financial success. The Jade Plant is among the most admired, no-brainer gifts for any occasion.

The scientific name for the Jade Plant is Crassula OvataCrassula means thick on account of the fleshy leaves and Ovata, which points towards the shape of the leaves. This popular succulent species originally hails from Mozambique, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal provinces in South Africa. 

With similar characteristics to a Bonsai tree, the Jade plant has a thick trunk and broad, olive-green leaves. Given the right conditions, it will produce small white or pink flowers. This celebrated succulent also goes by the names Lucky Plant, Money Plant, Silver Dollar, Money Tree, and Friendship Tree.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
The Jade Plant @littlegreenfam

2. Zebra haworthia – The Zebra Plant

Indigenous to South Africa, the picture-perfect Zebra Haworthia or Zebra Plant uplifts any space in a pretty pot.

Staying true to its name, this succulent exhibits stocky, dark jade leaves with horizontal white stripes, like a zebra pattern. The leaves form in the shape of a rosette and can grow between 4 and 8 inches tall. This succulent produces tubular pink or white flowers that develop from a thin inflorescence.

A fun fact about the Zebra Plant is that it communicates with you. If it is in a location with too much direct sunshine (more than 6 hours), the leaves turn red. Brown marks on the surface of the leaf facing the sun indicate sunburn, and if the leaves start to look transparent or yellow, it is getting too much water.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
The Zebra Plant @mygreentales

Therapeutic Succulents

While some popular succulent species may look dangerous to come close to, some are known for their medicinal and remedial values that you might want around you.

1. Sansevieria trifasciata – The Snake Plant

Tracking its heritage from Nigeria, tropical West Africa to the Congo. This wild-looking plant gets its fierce aliases, The Snake Plant or Mother-in-law’s Tongue, mainly due to the shape of its razor-sharp leaf margins. Jutting out of the ground or a potted plant, the Snake Plant has vertical, thick leaves that grow from a rosette, reaching up like flames in a roaring campfire.

Quickly attaining a height of 2 meters, this tenacious succulent can tolerate abuse, neglect, and unsuitable growing conditions like a champ. It can go for more than six weeks without water and in direct sunlight.

The Snake Plant is revered for its health benefits that were discovered by NASA when trying to figure out how to purify the air in space stations. They found that this succulent removes toxins such as formaldehyde found in cleaning products, tissues as well as personal care products. 

It also converts carbon dioxide into oxygen through the night, purifying the air. You can comfortably sit in an air-sealed room with no airflow and the Snake Plant for a significant amount of time.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
The Snake Plant @jadesjunglegram

2. Aloe Vera

This widespread succulent species needs no introduction. With a medical history dating back to 16th Century BC, Aloe Vera has been honored as ‘The Plant of Immortality,’ featuring as an active ingredient in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and food industries.

Sighted initially in the South Western Arabian Peninsula, Aloe Vera wildly grows in tropical, semi-tropical, and arid climates all over the world. This unusual succulent has elongated, pointed, chunky leaves with serrated leaf margins that can grow between 12 – 19 inches (30-50 cm) in length.

Each leaf has a slimy, water-filled tissue or ‘gel’ that contains the plants’ bioactive compounds. These include minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids.

Aloe Vera plant has been applied as a topical medication to heal cuts and burns. When ingested, Aloe has a strong laxative effect that is used to treat constipation. Aloe Vera has also been linked with enhanced insulin sensitivity to improve blood sugar management.

Interested in growing Aloe at your house? Be sure to check out “How to Grow Aloe Vera” for more.

Air Succulents

With over 650 varieties of the Tillandsia, these tiny floating evergreens known as air plants defied gravity and were discovered hanging around the tropical climate of Central and South America. Being epiphytes, they do not require soil to grow but instead attach themselves to trees, rocks, and fences without feeding off the host.

1. Tillandsia stricta

This succulent scientific name (Tillandsia stricta) translates to ‘erect,’ demonstrating the upright habit of this plant. There are also other colloquial names; Upright Air Plant, Strict Tillandsia, and Erect Tillandsia

A resident of Trinidad, Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, and northern Argentina, Tillandsia stricta may vary in size, color, and leaf formation depending on the climate.

This clump-forming perennial has short-stemmed leaves that grow into thick rosettes. Tillandsia Stricta produces attractive white and pink floral bracts when in bloom. The bracts remain vibrant for up to 10 weeks and produce a showy bright blue flower, but only for a day.

Tillandsia stricta can be mounted on virtually anything, including wood, rocks, ceramics, and seashells. 

Check out “5 Types of Air Plants” to see more kinds of air plants you can own and enjoy.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
Tillandsia stricta @twisted_magnolias

2. Tillandsia ionantha maxima huamelula

Known as T. maxima, this upright shaped succulent catches your attention as it shows off bright hues of purple, pink, green, and blue, reminding you of an enchanting firework display.

Originating from Oaxaca in Mexico, the T. maxima has succulent, moss green leaves that seem to burst out from a central point.

The thick leaves start dark green at the base, and when exposed to direct sunlight for long periods, the leaves turn a blush pinkish-red. When in bloom, this air succulent produces multiple, striking purple flowers with yellow tips. 

The plant can grow up to 6 inches tall.

The T. maxima is an interior designer’s dream succulent because its colorful and unusual form makes it a focal point when mounted on a piece of driftwood or dangling in a display globe.

Be sure to also check out “9 Flowering Succulents for Indoors” to see a great list of indoor succulents that flower.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
Tillandsia ionantha maxima huamelula @besstillys

Edible Succulents

Ever thought of serving up popular succulent species at your next dinner party?

1. Opuntia ficus-indica – Prickly Pear

If you have ever dabbled in Mexican cuisine, you may have come across Sopa de Nopal (Nopale Soup) or a salad with the fruit called Tunas. These delicacies are created with the Prickly Pear cactus as the star attraction.

Nopales are the Spanish vegetable name for the flat, oval leaves of this succulent that have featured in Native American recipes for hundreds of years. The leaves of the Prickly Pear can be roasted with garlic butter or added to vegetable casseroles. Its mild, neutral flavor is similar to asparagus or green beans.

The fruit, ‘Tunas’ grows on the tips of the leaves and turns a deep red when ready for harvesting. The health benefits of this succulent include high fiber from the leaves and calcium from the fruit.

Interested in more from the cacti species? Check out “Devil’s Head Cactus – Echinocactus Horizonthalonius” for another kind that’ll catch your eye.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
Prickly Pear @parkerplantz

2. Portulaca oleracea – Purslane

When looking for a vegetable that you could add to your next salad, try Portulaca oleracea, or Purslane. This edible succulent was found initially in areas of Northern Africa, Southern Europe, the Middle East, India, and Australasia. 

The fast-growing Purslane is identified by different names and has been used in recipes since the Middle Ages.

Purslane appears as smooth red stems sprouting out oval-shaped, green leaves and blooms bright yellow flowers. The whole plant (leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds) are all edible, and this succulent has been considered a nutritional powerhouse in the medical and culinary world. 

It helps in organ detoxification and weight management as well as being a rich source of vitamins A and C.

Identified as having more Omega-3 Fatty Acids than some fish and most green vegetables, Purslane is a vegan’s dream succulent. Note that eating Purslane frequently can be harmful because of the Oxalic acid found in the plant.

Need more options on edible succulents? Take a look at our piece “6 Edible Succulents to Excite Your Taste Buds” for more.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
The Purslane @thelocalplantypus

Aesthetic Succulents

When looking to add drama to your plant collection, go bold with blushful colors and lustful tints.

1. Senecio mandraliscae – Blue Chalk sticks

This exotic South African native may be mistaken for a sea urchin at first glance. It is sure to turn heads and attract comments as ground cover, perimeter walls, or terrariums. Scientifically known as Senecio mandraliscae. This succulent emerges as silvery blue, pencil-like fleshy leaves, giving it the colloquial names Blue Finger and Blue Chalk Sticks.

The blue leaves have a waxy coat that protects the succulent from hot, dry conditions and can grow between 2 and 4 inches long. Blue Chalk Sticks grow as thick mats reaching between 12 and 16 inches across.

In the middle of summer, this succulent produces small, white flowers and can go for long periods without water. Blue Chalk Sticks are also famous for their fire resilient qualities.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
Blue Chalk sticks @shell_on_earth

2. Sempervivum – Hens and Chicks

Have you heard of the succulent that thrives perfectly on the rooftop of a building? Sempervivum or the ‘Hens and Chicks’ succulent can be spotted on the roofs of old European cottages. It is intentionally planted to keep roof slates in place and protect the building from fire and lightning. Its origins spread from Western Asia to North Africa and Southern Europe.

This popular succulent species gets its nickname from how it propagates through offsets. ‘Hens’ refers to the parent rosette or mother plant while ‘Chicks’ refers to the offsets. They appear as clusters of compact rosettes with thick fleshy leaves growing alternately from a central point.

Sempervivum has a surprisingly high tolerance to cold. Temperatures below -34°C in Colorado and Michigan. It is known to reproduce with wild abandon. It has over 40 different species that can be differentiated by color. You can be sure to find something for your next roofing DIY.

Learn how to grow this amazing succulent with our piece “How to Grow Hens & Chicks Succulents“.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
Hens and Chicks @marjtheplantlady

Gigantic Succulents

Notorious for dominating scenic backdrops in landscape portraits, these popular succulent species are too big to miss out on this popularity list.

1. Adansonia digitata – African Baobab

It is huge, domineering, acknowledged as the ‘Defining icon of African bushland.’ It has roots spreading from North East to West Africa, Oman, and Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, right through to the Penang district of Malaysia. Meet the largest succulent plant in the world, the Adansonia digitata. 

Looking like an upside-down tree, this succulent has thick, wide branches that spread out of the treetop like angry roots. Also known as the African Baobab and The Tree of Life, this highly respected succulent can tower over geographical panoramas, extending between 5 to 30 meters (16 to 98 ft) tall.

The enormous diameter of the tree trunk can reach between 7 and 14 meters (23 to 46 ft). The African Baobab has a shiny, smooth trunk that can store up to 120,000 liters of water, and sometimes the roots get to grow taller than the tree itself.

Be sure to check out our article “3 Popular Large Succulents You Don’t Have” to see other succulents you probably never heard of before.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
African Baobab @photography_flyer

2. Carnegiea gigantea – Saguaro Cactus

The next time you are enjoying a Western cowboy or Mexican movie with scenes of wild desert, look out for the night guard of the succulent world, the Carnegiea gigantean or Saguaro Cactus. With the ability to grow to over 40 feet (12.2 meters) tall, the Saguaro Cactus has a thick main stem with branches sprouting out to look like stiff arms of a tube man.

An original resident of the Sonoran Desert, the Saguaro Cactus can live past 150 years old. During the nighttime only, this cactus blooms the official wildflower of Arizona. These white flowers have a lingering scent of over-ripe melons.

Around June, the Saguaro cactus produces a crimson-colored, edible fruit that grows from the crown of the arms and stem.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
Saguaro Cactus @the_pappening

Stranger Things

From odd shapes to intrinsic patterns, bright hues, and wild motifs, these low maintenance popular succulent species are sure to catch your curiosity, wherever they reside.

1. Pachyphytum oviferum – Moonstones

They may look like colorful sea rocks, but this succulent is alive and kicking! The scientific name Pachyphytum oviferum means ‘thick plant bearing eggs’ and refers to the chubby, pebble-like leaves. Also known as the Sugar Almond Plant or Moonstones. This succulent can easily remain unnoticed at the border of a rock garden, blending quietly with the surrounding plants.

This succulent has 1 cm thick stems that can grow to 20 cm long and hold about 15 leaves. The rounded leaves tend to be bluish-green or bluish-purple, and the leaves form a loose rosette at the tips of the stems. It produces an inflorescence that bears ruby, bell-shaped flowers.

2. Hildewintera colademononis – Monkey’s Tail

From a distance, this succulent may look like the shredded remains of a very large fur coat swinging precariously in the wind. It is hairy, white, and green in color and funny looking. 

This is a succulent with mind-boggling names like Hildewintera colademononis, Cleistocactus colademononis, and Winterocereus colademononis. Quite a mouthful, huh? Thank goodness its description gave it a more natural name to remember – Monkey’s Tail.

This epilithic plant is originally from Bolivia. It starts off growing as upright stumps with circular hairy stems that trail off the root of the plant as it gets older. When you get a closer look, you discover light green stems that are completely covered in soft white spines. These spines are what cause the look of a ‘monkey’s tail.’

With the right conditions, Monkey’s Tail produces large bright red flowers that are a captivating contrast to the white appendage.

16 Most popular succulent species in the world
Monkey’s Tail @grow.grace12

Bulbous Trunked Succulents

Not all popular succulent species store water in their leaves. Some store water in their stems, trunks, and roots.

1. Beaucarnea recurvata – Ponytail Palm

This Mexican native is a definite showstopper at an entrance hall or as table décor all because of the playful way it looks. It has a globular, swollen trunk that gives way to a thin stem, ending in slender, long, hair-like leaves that make it resemble a ponytail, hence the name Ponytail Palm. Scientifically known as Beaucarnea recurvata, this succulent also goes by Bottle Plant and Elephant Foot.

Ponytail Palm’s proficiency to store water in its trunk makes this succulent a passionate sun worshiper. It grows up to 30 feet (9.14 meters) in the right conditions. Botanists have earmarked some Ponytail Palm’s in Mexico that are over 350 years old.

To shape the Ponytail Palm, you could control its growth by reducing the amount of direct light it gets. Try to avoid cutting or trimming the ponytail as the edges of the leaves will turn brown and dry up.

Discover more Mexican-native succulents in “The 5 Most Popular Succulents from Mexico”

Trailing Succulents

Whether hanging off a decorative chandelier or inconspicuous hook off the ceiling of your terrace, these dangling beauties will rope you in with their characteristics.

1. Burro’s tail

Indigenous to Southern Mexico and Honduras. The Sedum morganianum has a long-braided tail of thick fleshy leaves that cascade downward in an overlapping pattern. This distinctive look has led to the various names of this succulent. Including Horse’s Tail, Lamb’s Tail, and Burro’s Tail after the Spanish word for donkey. This stem-heavy succulent can grow up to 24 inches long.

The leaves of the Burro’s Tail look like they have been dusted over with powder, and depending on the angle of the sun. They can appear dark green, greenish-grey, or even sapphire blue. This chalk-like substance called epicuticular wax protects the plant from the sun and helps retain moisture.

The Burro’s Tail is extremely sensitive to touch. The leaves will fall off with just the slightest brush while repotting will leave you with more soil and stem than an actual plant.


16 Most popular succulent species in the world
Burro’s tail @amandaraewright

Now that you know 16 popular succulent species, don’t be afraid to spot one at your local Farmers Market or online store. 

Which popular succulent species would you say, caught your attention overall? Let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for reading! If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read. 

Be sure to share this post with your succulent loving friends!

Happy Planting!


Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

Contact me: richard.succulentcity@gmail.com

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