Where Do Most Succulents Come From?

The current succulents-craze has turned most living rooms into mini jungles. An Echeveria here, a Saguaro there — talk about an intriguing aesthetic!

But where do these irresistible babies come from? Instagram? Close guess, but not quite. While it’s true that social media has played a huge role in striking an interest in curious plant lovers, most succulent owners are oblivious of the native homes of their plants.

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
Where do most succulents come from @somwooddesigns

So Where Exactly Do Succulents Hail From?

Succulents are indigenous to many parts of the world and they come in various species while growing under different conditions. Knowing where your succulent plants comes from will help you emulate their natural habitat when growing them so that you can give them their best conditions.

Let’s dive in and take a closer look at these plants.

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
purple toned @suculentas_agora

History of Succulents

Originally, the succulent plants grew in arid and semi-arid areas which have long dry periods such as the deserts. These areas include Africa, North, and Central America, as well as the European Alps.

Fondly known as the camels of the plant world, succulent plants can survive for long periods without water. I’m sure you’re aware though.

When human beings realized that these plants needed little water to survive and had low maintenance, they sought to domesticate them by planting them in their indoor gardens and houses. Apart from their resilience, they are beautiful and come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. This led to people growing them as ornamental plants.

Other benefits of succulent plants, which you can read more about here, have been realized with time, which include reduced risk of attracting pests, and are difficult to overgrow.

The historical significance of most succulent species has inspired their conservation. For example, the Agave Harvardia is used as a natural sweetener while Aloe Vera is considered a healing plant.

Throughout history, many cultures have used succulent plants for medical and culinary purposes. Check out our article 6 Edible Succulents to Excite Your Tastebuds.


Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
grown in different parts of the world

Why the Name Succulent?

The word succulent originated from Latin and it means juice or sap. The plants store water in the form of sap in different parts like the leaves, the stem, or the roots.

The sap makes these parts to be unusually thickened and fleshy as they are used to retaining water. During dry periods, the plant uses water to survive.

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
diversity in succulents

Ancient Succulent Myths and Beliefs

Although succulent plants have been here for a long period of time, there are still myths and beliefs that surround them. Whether you are new or knowledgeable in the world of succulents, you may not recognize the myths that surround these magical plants.

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
barely need any water

Myth 1: Protection from Death

Some succulents are believed to offer protection against bad luck and death, like the Sempervivum Tectorum. Its name means “always on top” and you are most likely to find it on rooftops!

Even today they are still found on some cottage roofs in Mid or Southwest Wales. Myth goes that once a stranger removes or picks it, bad luck strikes the family and can lead to the death of a family member.

If you’re a believer, stock up on some hooks to hang your planters on the roof with!

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
every succulent has its own symbolism

Myth 2: It Keeps Family Members Safe and Prosperous

The Houseleek is believed to ward off evil and keep family members safe and prosperous. It has been believed to protect the household against witchcraft, fire, and lightning.

Fun Fact: This was one of the reasons why Roman Emperor Charlemagne (742-814 AD) ordered all the people under his rule to grow houseleeks on their roofs.

Whether you this is a fib or not to you, they still make beautiful house plants! Grab some here, along with these new pots!

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
long succulents

Myth 3: Attracting Wealth

Myth goes that the Jade succulent was used to attract good luck and bring wealth to Asian communities. The presence of the succulent is considered auspicious. It has beautiful vibrant green leaves. Wealth and prosperity are elements related to growth and renewal. That is why this plant is a symbol of just that.

We love the Jade plant! Read more about this beauty with our article, here. And add some to your succulent collection from Amazon.

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
bringing good luck and good fortune

Where Do Most Succulents Originate then?

Although succulents are indigenous plants to many parts of the world, they tend to be dominant in Africa, Central America, and South Africa. These places offer different conditions for their growth and produce different species.

For that, these plants have a wide range of habitats and thrive in environments which would otherwise be inhabitable for other plant species. From extreme temperatures to low rainfall, these plants tend to be very hardy and adaptable.

Want to take a look at some succulents that would thrive outdoors, check out this article. And grab some new outdoor planters to get your process started!

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
Aloe Vera

The Country that Hosts the Most Succulents

Now, while it is impossible to explicitly state the exact country that hosts the most succulent species, it is apparent that most species end up being native to a number of countries. Mexico is one of the greatest succulent plants’ habitats.


It hosts numerous succulent plant species due to its conducive climate and conditions. It’s dry and hilly, and its climate is quite extreme. Some of the most common species include Echeveria Elegans, Echeveria Agavoides, Graptopetalum Pentadrum, Sedum allantoides, Echinocereus Viridiflorus (nylon Hedgehog Cactus), Seven Stars, ladyfinger Cactus, Moses in the Cradle, Hookers Orchid Cactus, and many more.

Learn more about indigenous succulent from Mexico with our article 5 Most Popular Succulents from Mexico!

South Africa

South Africa is known for its succulent Karoo which stretches from the South African west coast to southwestern Namibia. The climate here is arid or semi-arid making it a rich habitat for many species of succulent plants. Most of the area is either flat or hilly and receives minimum precipitation. The temperatures can go up to 44 degrees Celsius.

 The most common species found in this area are Cotyledon Orbiculate, Portulacaria Afra Prostrata, Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata), Delosperma cooperi, Aloe zebrina, Jelly bean plant (Sedum Pachyphyllum), Zebra plant (Haworthia attenuata), Porkbush / Spekboom (Portulacaria Afra), Panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa), Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense), Plush plant (Echeveria Pulvinata), and many more.

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
potted Zebra plants

Are any of your succulents native to Mexico or South Africa? Drop a comment below and let us know!

This article is sponsored by Amazon Prime! Amazon is offering our Succulent City community an exclusive offer of a FREE 30-day trial of their famous Amazon Prime Membership. Click here to get your free trial started and enjoy that free 2-day shipping!

For an extended look at native African succulents, check out our article 8 Most Popular Succulents from Africa! Or maybe you’re curious to learn about new succulents? Our article 8 Rare Succulents Worth Exploring will enlighten you on some new additions for your collection!

Love all things succulents and just want MORE? Well, look no further than Succulent City’s social medias! Check out our Instagram and Pinterest for daily content. Or join our exclusive Facebook Group where fellow succulent lovers share their photos and tips!

Loved learning about this succulent and now inspired to add more to your collection?! (We don’t blame you) Check out Succulent City’s new line of ebooks covering topics from, “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor and Outdoor,” “Different Types of Planters,” and many more helpful in-depth ebooks. Head to this link to view our full line of ebooks and get started with our complementary guide. 

Thanks for reading, happy planting! 🌿

The 5 Most Popular Succulents From Mexico

Lots of things we love originated in Mexico—tacos, chocolate, popcorn, and some of the most beautiful succulents out there! You can thank Mexico for great chocolate and popular succulents like the burro’s tail, ponytail palms, and the adorable bunny ears cactus. What a country!

Mexico has the perfect, warm climate for succulents, so they really thrive there. You’ll see all of these popular succulents from Mexico and many more if you head down there on vacation—it’s pretty much a succulent lover’s paradise!

We apologize in advance if this post gives you the travel bug and makes you want to see all these gorgeous Mexican succulents in their native habitat!

5 Most Popular Succulents from Mexico
5 Most Popular Succulents from Mexico @off.the.clock.cookies

Burro’s Tail—Sedum Morganianum

We were surprised to learn that the burro’s tail, one of our absolute favorite Mexican succulents, is native to southern Mexico! In 1935, a botanist from San Francisco, named Eric Walther, came across the burro’s tail at a nursery in Veracruz, Mexico. He was the first to bring it back to the States and describe it in detail. He was also responsible for naming it—he called it Sedum morganianum after one of his friends, Dr. Morgan.

The burro’s tail is one of our favorite Mexican succulents because it’s so gorgeous! It has long, pale green stems that spill out over the sides of planters. For that reason, it looks especially good in hanging planters, like this one
This succulent got the nicknames burro’s tail and donkey’s tail because people say its long, trailing stems look like animal tails. We don’t really see the resemblance! We think this Mexican succulent is much prettier than a bunch of hairy tails and just what your succulent collection is missing!

Take a more in-depth look at the Burro’s Tail with our article, here!

5 Most Popular Succulents From Mexico
Burro’s Tail @teammaeri

Ladyfinger Cactus—Mammillaria Elongata

The ladyfinger cactus has long, cylindrical stems that can grow to be up to 6 inches tall. The stems kind of look like fingers and are around the same size as them, so that’s how this cactus got the unique name ladyfinger. It’s also sometimes called the gold lace cactus because it has golden yellow spines and produces bright yellow flowers in the spring.

This succulent is native to central Mexico and loves warm climates! It does really well outdoors if you plant it in full sun in a container, like this one, or in the ground. It doesn’t need much watering or maintenance because it has tubercles, which are small round nodules on the stem of the cactus. They expand to allow for increased water storage, so your succulent will only need a drink every once in a while.

A low-maintenance cactus that’s as pretty as it is practical? Sign us up!

We also have an article dedicated to the Mammillaria Elongata cactus, check it out here! You’ll learn about its additional nick name!

5 Most Popular Succulents From Mexico
Ladyfinger Cactus @teammaeri

Ponytail Palm—Beaucarnea Recurvata

Ponytail palms are so unique! We definitely think they need to be talked about in the succulent community more often. They’re a type of succulent that can grow to be up to 30 feet tall. But don’t worry—you can still grow them indoors! Ponytail palms are super slow growers, and if you keep them inside, they usually don’t get to be more than a few feet tall.

Despite their name, these Mexican succulents aren’t actually trees—they’re just succulents with super thick, woody stems. The woody stems and long, curly green leaves do kind of make them look like palm trees, though, which is probably how they got their cute tropical name! They’d look adorable in a bright tropical planter like this one, too.

This succulent is native to semidesert areas of southeastern Mexico, so it loves bright sunlight and warm temperatures. It’s a hardy little plant, though, so you won’t kill it by bringing it inside into lower light conditions. Just make sure you keep it near the brightest window in your home so that it can soak up as much sun as possible!

The Ponytai Palm makes an awesome indoor succulent for homes and offices that don’t receive optimal sunlight. Check out our list of 7 succulents for low light environments, here!

5 Most Popular Succulents From Mexico
Ponytail Palm @calabresegreenhouse

Blue Agave—Agave Tequilana

Did you know that this variety of agave is used to make tequila? It’s native to Jalisco, Mexico and it’s the only variety used to make Mexico’s most popular drink. Mezcal, another popular Mexican drink known for its smoky flavor, can be made from over 30 different varieties of agave. But not tequila! Grab a bottle of agave-made margarita mix, you won’t regret it! (We’ve tried this on cinco de mayo this year, it was fantastic!)

Besides being one of the tastiest plants on the planet, it’s also one of the prettiest. It has gorgeous bluish green leaves that are arranged into a large, open rosette. It can get to be pretty large—it’s not unusual to see a blue agave that’s five feet tall and wide. When it gets to be that size, it has a dramatic, striking look that will be the highlight of any garden!

Agave make beautiful additions to outdoor gardens, as you can see in the below picture! Check out what succulents will complement your Agave in your garden with our article 5 Best Outdoor Succulents!

5 Most Popular Succulents From Mexico
Blue Agave @kobata_growers

Bunny Ears Cactus—Opuntia Microdasys

The bunny ears cactus is probably one of the most popular succulents out there! It’s taken the succulent world by storm because its leaves look just like bunny ears. It makes the most adorable little decoration for Easter, especially if you put it in this planter. It has a bunny on it to match your bunny cactus… how cute is that?!

We have Mexico to thank for the beautiful bunny ears cactus, specifically northern Mexico. Just like all the other succulents on this list, it needs lots of bright direct sunlight to stay healthy. Make sure to keep it near a window so its bunny ears don’t start to droop!


5 Most Popular Succulents From Mexico
Bunny Tail Cactus @pinkandplants

Those are five of the most popular succulents from Mexico. Which one is your favorite? We have a serious soft spot for the bunny ears cactus and that adorable little planter. Let us know what your favorite Mexican succulent is down in the comments section!

Many of the above succulents and cacti appear in more articles from Succulent City. Give 9 Types of Cacti, 6 Best Indoor Succulents, or The 7 Best Succulents for Wedding Arrangement a read today!

Before you go and read other articles, we want to let you know that this post is sponsored by Amazon Audible! They are offering all of our Succulent City community an exclusive offer of 2 FREE Ebooks when signing up for a free trial! You can sign up for a free trial here! You’ll be able to listen to your favorite book while taking care of your succulents!

Calling all succulents lovers— rookie or veteran! Succulent City has developed a line of 12 ebooks (see here), ranging on topics from indoor & outdoor succulents, essential tools, the best soil to use, and more! We even threw in a complimentary ebook to help get your succulent journey started you just have to insert your email on our front page for this. With our ebooks you’ll be a succulent guru in no time, have fun!

Thanks for reading, happy succulent planting! ?