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.

Mexico

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! 🌿

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
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