Where Do Most Succulents Come From?

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 massive role in attracting curious plant lovers, most succulent owners are oblivious to the native homes of their plants.

A quick note: So, where exactly do succulents hail from?

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

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

Origin Of The Word ‘Succulent’

The word ‘succulent’ /ˈsʌkjələnt/ originated from Latin, and it means juice or sap. The plants store water in 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 retain water. During dry periods, the plant uses water to survive.

The History

Originally, succulents grew in arid and semi-arid areas with long dry periods. These areas include Africa, North and Central America, and 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 humans realized these plants needed little water 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 hardly overgrown.

The historical significance of most succulent species has inspired their conservation.

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
Succulents grow beautifully in many parts of the world.

For example, Agave Harvardia is used as a natural sweetener, while Aloe Vera is considered a healing plant. In fact, throughout history, many cultures have used succulent plants for medical and culinary purposes.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Ancient Myths And Beliefs

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

#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 will most likely find it on rooftops!

They are still found on some cottage roofs in Mid or Southwest Wales. The 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 one of these planters on the roof!

#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 this is a fib or not, they still make beautiful houseplants!

Where Do Most Succulents Come From?
Succulents are believed to bring good luck and fortune.

#3. Attracting Wealth

The 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 this article here.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Countries That Host The Most Succulents

While it is impossible to state the country that hosts the most succulent species explicitly, it is apparent that most species are native to several countries. Mexico is one of the greatest succulent plant 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, Sedum allantoides, Echinocereus Viridiflorus (nylon Hedgehog Cactus), Seven Stars, ladyfinger Cactus, Moses in the Cradle, Hookers Orchid Cactus, and many more.

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 orbiculata, Portulacaria Afra, Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata), Delosperma cooperi, Aloe zebrina, Jelly bean plant (Sedum Pachyphyllum), the little Zebra plant (Haworthiopsis fasciata), Elephant bush/ Spekboom (Portulacaria Afra), Panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa), Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense), Plush plant (Echeveria Pulvinata), and many more!

Closing Words

Are any of your succulents native to Mexico or South Africa? Learning about the birthplace of these beautiful plants is exciting, isn’t it?  It’s great to understand where the plant is from and recreate the environment for it to grow. I will dig deep and find out where the plant originated in each of Succulent City’s plant posts.

Thanks for reading. Happy planting!

Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

2 thoughts on “Where Do Most Succulents Come From?

  1. I bought a cute little mini succulent today from Home Depot. I had no clue what it was. I used Google Lens and it brought me to this page. Turns out I have a echevaria. ?

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