What You Need to Know About Herbaceous Plants

If you read a lot of gardening blogs and books, you may have heard the term herbaceous plant. You may have thought herbaceous was just a fancy way of saying herbs, like the kind you cook with. But herbaceous plants are something different than rosemary and thyme! They’re a group of plants that have soft stems instead of the hard, woody ones that trees and bushes have. Because many herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage have woody stems, they don’t make the cut and can’t be considered herbaceous! Isn’t that funny? 

But a lot of other plants do fall under this pretty broad classification. Everything from agaves to peonies to potatoes is herbaceous plants because of their soft stems. If you want to learn more about this broad category of plants, then keep reading! 

What Are Herbaceous Plants?
Hand-held succulent planter @suculentascoloridass

What is a Herbaceous Plant? 

Herbaceous plants are vascular plants, which means that they have a vascular system. It’s similar to the one humans have and transports water around the plant. All herbaceous plants also have soft, fleshy stems—not the woody ones that are found on shrubs and trees. Most flowers, vegetables, and houseplants are herbaceous.

Herbaceous plants are divided into three more specific categories based on their life cycles—perennials, biennials, and annuals. Perennials are plants that grow continuously for more than two years, while biennials are plants that live for a total of two years. Annuals plants only live for a single growing season.

We’ll teach you all about herbaceous perennials, biennials, and annuals later in the post. But right now, we’re going to answer the question you’re all probably wondering—are your beloved succulent plants herbaceous? 

What Are Herbaceous Plants?
Assorted succulents growing on a ceramic planter @cactos_suculentas_dicas

Are Succulents Herbaceous Plants? 

Most succulents have soft, fleshy stems, so they fit the definition of herbaceous plants! Even cacti with their tough outer skin are considered herbaceous. With that being said, not every succulent is herbaceous.

The Joshua Tree, for example, is a massive tree from the agave family that can grow to be 40 feet tall. It has a super thick, woody stem just like any other tree. You probably can’t call it an herbaceous plant like other members of the agave family! 

The same could probably be said about jade plants. They’re miniature, treelike succulents that have thick, woody stems. They’re probably not herbaceous because they’re a lot like bonsai trees, but they sure are cute! If you want to learn more about jade plants, you should check out the article we wrote about them

Most succulents can also be classified as herbaceous perennials because they live for many years. We’ll explain what an herbaceous perennial is in more detail below!

What Are Herbaceous Plants?
Assorted succulent plants @curso_de_cactos_online

What are Herbaceous Perennials? 

Herbaceous perennials are non-woody plants that live for more than two years. Most succulents are herbaceous perennials, as are many flowers. Flowers that die during the winter and come back in the spring, such as asters, are also classified as herbaceous perennials.

One thing that many, but not all, herbaceous perennials have in common is that they die back during the winter. Some herbaceous perennials can’t handle the cold. As a result, all of their aboveground growth, including their flowers and leaves, dies during fall when the weather gets cold. Surprisingly, though, their roots can stay healthy and intact underground. Check out how to take care of your succulents during the winter season in “How to Care for Succulents in the Winter“.

During the warmer months of the year, perennials store energy so that their roots can survive during the winter. It’s similar to how squirrels store nuts for the winter and then go into hibernation. Even though the rest of the plant is dead, the roots can go dormant and survive underground because they have a stockpile of nutrients and insulation from the cold. Once the weather warms up, and spring comes back again, these plants can sprout new growth because their roots survived the winter. Isn’t that incredible? 

Not all herbaceous perennials die back during the winter, though. Some are more cold hardy and can survive winter while growing aboveground. Hens and Chicks is an example of a cold-hardy herbaceous plant. There are many more examples, so dying back during the winter isn’t a requirement for a plant to be classified as an herbaceous perennial. 

As we mentioned above, though, not all herbaceous plants are perennials. Some of them are annuals that only survive for one growing season or biennials that survive for two. 

Some succulents prefer certain seasons over others, check out “Summer & Winter Succulents: What’s the Difference?” for more info.

What Are Herbaceous Plants?
Young succulents in a planter @yafraq

What are Herbaceous Biennials and Annuals?

Herbaceous biennials and annuals are kind of like monocarpic succulents. After they grow and produce seeds, they wither and die. It takes annuals just one growing season to reach maturity, flower, and produce seeds that can become brand new plants. It takes biennials a little longer—two growing seasons total. Unlike perennials, biennials and annuals devote most of their energy to flowering rather than surviving during the winter, which is why they have such short lifespans. 

Planting annuals in your garden can be a hassle because you have to dig them up each year. But many people still do it because they have gorgeous blooms! Their blooms are generally bigger and prettier than the flowers perennials produce because they devote so much energy to flowering. Annuals also have longer blooming periods than perennials. Their blooming period lasts from spring until just before the first frost of the year. We don’t plant annuals in our garden because we prefer succulents, but they sure do sound like they’re worth the extra maintenance! Learn to water your succulents correctly with our exclusive ebook called “The Correct Way to Water Succulents“. Check it out!

Some common annual flowers you’ve probably heard of are geraniums, snapdragons, and petunias. Many fruits and vegetables are also annuals, including peppers, potatoes, and delicious purslane! 

Biennials require a little less maintenance because they last for two growing seasons. Some common biennials you’ve probably heard of include carrots, pansies, and foxgloves.

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What Are Herbaceous Plants?
Succulent plant on hand @suculentas_agora

Well, there you have it! That is absolutely everything we know about herbaceous plants. We hope that this post demystified the term for you so you can understand gardening blogs and books a little bit better. 

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on “The Best Soil Recommendations for Your Succulent” or even “The Most Common Issues Amongst Succulent Growers”  today! 

Happy Planting! 🌵

Are Succulents Herbaceous Plants?-Definition and List of Examples

Of all plants on the planet, succulents are the most exotic collection from the whole lot. We are spoilt for choice from their vast array of colors, sizes, and shapes. There are succulents with rosettes and ones without — the ones that grow tall, others that remain dwarfs and others that trail along the ground. Additionally, their differing hues from green, yellow, purple to grey. From a decorative point of view, they take up the number one rank. But this is not all they are all about. Some succulents are also herbs.

Herbs are plants that serve a collection of beneficial purposes. Some are medicine; some make flavorings, fragrances, pesticides, or dyes. And some are used as food or food additives.

Herbaceous plants, in the simple definition, are the plants that have green and soft stems, leaves and roots as opposed to woody parts. The plumpness of the herbaceous plants is due to the water available in their cells, of which succulents have quite a lot. Check out “5 Benefits of Succulents” for more interesting facts about succulents that can benefit you.

Are Succulents Herbaceous Plants
Definition of Herbaceous Succulents @jaayaa00

What Makes A Succulent Herbaceous plant?

herbaceous plants first and foremost must be vascular plants with no woody stems above ground. Instead, herbaceous plants must have fleshy leaves and stems that are plumply filled with water in their tissue cells.

Secondly, herbaceous plants must have savory or aromatic properties that are turned into garnishes, flavors, medicine, or fragrances. Any of the uses, as mentioned above, maybe achieved from the manufacturer of processed products. Or directly by the usage of the herbaceous plants in their raw states.

Types Of Herbaceous Plants

Herbaceous plants are known to fit into two main significant kinds and are placed according to the purpose they serve.

Some are known as culinary herbs which are used in cooking or baking or as a garnish.  For a succulent to be fit for food, one must make sure it is well cleaned. And most importantly, it is safe to consume. Just because a succulent may look juicy, doesn’t mean it is safe to devour. Additionally, one should make sure that the part they have of that particular succulent is safe to eat as some parts of a culinary may be unfit for consumption.

The other kind of herbaceous plants is the Medicinal succulents which make a variety of medications as the main or supplement ingredient. Or are used as a remedy in their raw states. The sap found within medicinal succulents is most times the part extracted that serves the therapeutic purpose. They are used to soothe burns and scalds, heal gaping cuts, and to treat certain skin diseases such as eczema and acne.

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Are Succulents Herbaceous Plants
Herbaceous Succulent Types @themerryskeleton

Examples Of Culinary And Medicinal Succulents

As mentioned earlier, Culinary plants are the herbaceous plants that are fit for human consumption. They may be boiled, fried, and in most cases are used as a salad dressing or as a garnish.

On the other hand, the medicinal ones manufacture some medications. These medications vary in potency and usage as well. Some are swallowed, and others are used as ointments.

Below are a few of the herbaceous plants appreciated in the culinary world as well as the medical industry.

The Cuban Oregano

The Cuban Oregano is known as Plectranthus amboinicus. It is a perennial succulent that has sweet-smelling foliage. The leaves contain tart oils that can be extracted and used for cooking.

It has naturally thick, fuzzy leaves with a robust gratifying odor. The leaves have a greenish-grey hue, entirely covered with fine hairs with serrated margins. These perennial succulent blooms in pinnacles and it’s flower may be pink, lavender or white.

As compared to other oregano types, the Cuban Oregano is said to have a stronger flavor. The perennial succulent is therefore used in small amounts for seasoning to avoid an overpowering flavor.

Are Succulents Herbaceous Plants
Plectranthus Amboinicus @an_azure_favorite

Growing And Caring For The Cuban Oregano

The Cuban perennial succulent thrives in a well-draining, crumbly soil mixture. The best place to put this plant is away from direct sunlight as direct solar exposure dries off the plant.

A container-grown, as well as a ground cultivated perennial Oregano, needs regular watering. But only when the soil is dry. And it is more frequently done in the spring and summer and dialed down in the winter. Check out these tips for growing your succulent inside in “How to Successfully Grow Indoor Succulents”.

Uses Of Cuban Oregano

For food, the leaves are used as a seasoning to flavor meat stews.  The leaves are best when they have been dried and crushed. The Fresh ones are used in small amounts for soups, stews and the making of poultry stuffing. They are not quite palatable for salads because their leaves have the hairy feature to them. They would end up irritating the tongue, which is not such a pleasant feeling.

The leaves are also harvested to treat throat and respiratory infections, constipation, flatulence, rheumatism and as a lactation stimulant.

Jewels Of Opar

This succulent also goes by the scientific name Talinum paniculatum. It is also known as Pink Baby’s breath or Flame flower. These names come as a result of its red hazy of flowers that look like cotton candy hanging over the crop. It has stunning bright lime green leaves that are ideal to use as a border plant. It is also an excellent addition to your colorful garden.

Growing And Caring For The Jewels Of Opar Succulent

This succulent loves the full sun but does even better in small part shade for a few hours a day. It has a high tolerance for drought, which means it can go without water for a very long time. But if its location is in a pot, watering is done when the soil is dry. It does well in sandy, and well-drained soils, therefore, grows best in rock gardens and tropical areas. Think you may be having trouble with your succulent? Check out “5 Tips on Saving Dying Succulents” for tips on saving a dying succulent.

Are Succulents Herbaceous Plants
Talinum Paniculatum @jenn.pineau

Uses Of Jewel Of Opar

The bright lime green juicy leaves of the succulent make an excellent addition to salads and sandwiches. They are quite economical because of their availability during the hot, dry weather when most green salad additions are scarce.

Their small seeds are very nutritious and are an excellent supplement of omega-3 oils. The leaves are also quite tasty when eaten raw and are only slightly mucilaginous. The gummy leaves should, however, not be consumed in large quantities because they contain oxalic acid.

Caution needs to be observed during consumption as taking in too much may cause shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting.

Other uses besides culinary or medicinal are that the delicate heads with their shiny red orbs make beautiful bouquet flower fillers.

Are Succulents Herbaceous Plants
Help as a Medicinal @antara_garden365

Aloe Vera

The Aloe Vera is probably one of the most sort after medicinal herbaceous plant of the whole lot. The herbaceous plant is a short-stemmed shrub. Aloe Vera succulent forms a rosette of thick, fleshy green blades with a slightly frigid blue-green color.

The two most essential components of the succulent are the Aloe Vera juice and the Aloe Vera gel. The juice is mainly found in a thin layer under the succulent’s skin. It is also known as the Aloe Vera latex or sap. The gel, on the other hand, is found in the middle of the leaf.

Growing And Caring For The Aloe Vera Succulent

They do best in a cactus potting mix that is fast-draining and well aerated. For best results, the soil should be improved with additional soil expanders such as perlite or builder’s sand. The plants should also be cultivated where the sun’s exposure is bright and direct. The watering is done using the soak and dry method, and only when the ground is parched. Interested in growing Aloe Vera at your house? Be sure to check out our piece on “How to Grow Aloe Vera

Uses Of Aloe Vera herbaceous Succulent

The Aloe Vera is mostly grown for its medicinal purposes that are quite a number.

First, the Aloe vera gel is a crucial ingredient in some kinds of toothpaste and is active in fighting cavities. The Aloe Vera latex contains anthraquinones that actively heal and reliefs pain with its anti-inflammatory effects. The gel can also aid in reducing constipation because it has a high fiber content that will get things moving. The gel is taken in the form of liquid or capsule form once a day for a few days.

Aloe vera is also a hub of several minerals and vitamins that can be incorporated into your diet as supplements. It supplies B-12, which helps make DNA, makes nerve and blood cells. One also gets Choline, which is involved in nerve signaling, Folic acid, which is essential for fetal growth during pregnancy. Lastly, it has vitamins A, C, and E that have antioxidant capabilities.

The Aloe Vera gel has also been used to relieve burns. It accomplishes this by improving blood circulation to the affected spot and stop cell damage around the injury. The application of the gel creates an instantaneous pain relief because of its cooling sensation. The gel is part of many moisturizing creams that are used by cancer patients to protect their skin from radiation.

Check out more benefits from the Aloe Vera in “How the Aloe Vera Succulent can Help with Eczema“.

Are Succulents Herbaceous Plants
Uses Of Aloe Vera Succulent @tatanam.id

Well, from the above information, we can confidently conclude that succulents are herbaceous plants. Although you should know that not all of them are herbaceous plants. Just a few meet the criteria of being a herbaceous plant. Let us know in the comments below if you already have planted these herbaceous plants at home. Need tips on propagating at home? Check out “5 Tips for Propagating Succulents” for an easy guide to propagating at home.

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on “Best Lighting Practices for Succulent Growth” or even “Essential Tools for Planting the Best Succulents” today! 

Happy planting! 🌵

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