Succulents come in all sizes, shapes, textures, and colors you can ever imagine. The different species and types have also become very popular among plant enthusiasts across the globe. These plants are well-loved not only because of their exceptional characteristics and qualities but also their ease of care and unique beauty.
If you are planning to add succulents to your plant collection, you might be wondering how these plants are classified in the first place. Are succulents perennials or annuals?
To put an end to your confusion, most succulents are evergreen perennials although you can also find some annuals. Aside from this, some perennial succulents might also behave similarly to annual plants if grown in inappropriate climates, and these succulents are called tender perennials.
Are Succulents Perennial Plants?
Succulents are mainly perennials. These plants are evergreen that can live for over two years. But some perennials may also behave just like annuals in places with harsher winters than summers. You can also find several annual succulents although these are a bit rare.
Succulents have a forgiving nature that makes them more appealing to people. These are amazing specimens of nature that won’t hate you even if they are left neglected. Succulents have now evolved in such a way that makes them simple and easy to raise and care for.
What are Succulents?
Succulents or succulent plants are a category of plants with tissues for water storage. These plants can resist drought. Succulent plants have adapted to survive and thrive in very arid and dry conditions. Succulents usually store water in their roots, stems, or leaves.
The term succulent came from sucus, a Latin word that means sap or juice. The leaves of succulent plants tend to be thick, plump, and fleshy to conserve water and help lessen the loss of water.
The life cycle of succulent plants is dependent on whether the plant you are growing is annual or perennial. Perennial succulents will last several seasons while annual succulents can only live for a single season.
What is the Difference between Perennial Succulents and Annual Succulents?
The life cycle of annual succulents is relatively shorter than that of perennial ones. They often just live through their first summer before they die off completely.
Annual succulents grow on one stalk of leaves or thick stems rather than growing long roots like their perennial counterparts.
Perennial succulents, on the other hand, can live and survive for several years with different stages of growth where they will sprout new branches or leaves from the older ones. Their roots often grow deep into the soil, often as deep as 3 feet.
Once the fall season comes, perennial succulents typically go dormant and begin losing their leaves until the spring season comes once again.
The perennial succulents are also more common compared to the annual ones due to their long life. These are also ideal as indoor plants or for gardeners who wouldn’t want to worry about yearly replanting.
Annual succulents are also perfect if you are looking for plants that require low maintenance and can also last through a single season even without much care.
These plants are also a good choice for those who lack the money or time required for taking care of perennial plants but would still want to have them at home.
Common Types of Perennial Succulents
There are several types of perennial succulents that you can find today and some of them are the following:
Popularly called Inland Pigface, carpobrotus modestus is an Australian native perennial succulent. The leaves of this plant are arranged in two opposite rows. This also grows from a fleshy and thick stem.
The succulent has flowers with beautiful purple color and can be grown very easily. This also bears fruits that are often small in size.
This particular perennial succulent is a drought-tolerant plant and is mostly used as a form of groundcover. This is also used to form a barrier or an attractive edge.
More commonly called the Campfire Plant, Crassula capitella is a South African native perennial succulent. Its leaves vary in color ranging from red to light green. The leaves of these succulents become smaller close to the top of a rosette and turn into bracts at the tip of the stem. This perennial succulent blooms with tiny white flowers during the summer season.
Another perennial succulent that is native to South Africa, Curio rowleyanus is more popularly called the String of Pearls. The succulent is a type of trailing stem that grows as long as 2 to 3 feet. The plant also has a very enticing curly appearance that makes it an ideal candidate to be planted in hanging baskets.
The perennial succulent grows white flowers with colorful stamens. These are hardy flowers, and you can keep them in your garden the whole year.
Also called the Mexican snowball, Echeveria elegans is a flowering plant species native to Mexico and belongs to the family Crassulaceae. It is an evergreen perennial succulent that grows to a height of 5 to 10 centimeters with a width of 50 centimeters. Its leaves are blue-green in a rosette shape. The plant has a thin stem that blooms in spring and winter.
The perennial succulent spurge euphorbia tithymaloides grow as tall as 8 feet. it has glabrous leaves growing up to 3 inches long arranged on the stem opposite each other with acuminate shapes.
This plant also has ovate and bifid floral leaves as well as bright red involucral bracts that have irregularly acuminate shapes. The plant generally blooms in the middle of the spring season.
Commonly called Star Cactus, Haworthia retus is a flowering plant species native to South Africa and belongs to the family Asphodelaceae.
This is a tiny succulent plant that grows rosettes shaped like stars. It also has lime green flesh leaves with triangular translucent tips with longitudinal line markings.
The perennial succulent has recurved deltoid leaves and can be 2 centimeters wide and 8 centimeters long.
Tiny tubular flowers show on the unbranched flower stalks in summer or spring that grow up to 50 centimeters.
The perennial succulent undershrub Pachyphytum bracteosum is native to Mexico and grows as high as 12 inches with silver-grey leaves producing spikes of flowers.
This plant has obovate leaves that measure 5.6 inches thick, 2 inches wide, and 4.4 inches long. The large bracts and calyx that come with the flowers are of blue or grayish-green color with red petals.