Because most succulents are small, many people think that these plants remain small for their entire life. But is it a truth, or a myth? Do some succulents stay small forever whereas others grow really big, or how is it? We will try to find the answers together.
In most cases, people see small succulents sold in the markets. It often leads to the misconception that succulents do never grow big. But in fact they can grow quite big, and it depends on the variety of succulent. Some of them stay small while others can grow into absolutely giant plants. Believe it or not, some succulents can grow to be up to 40 feet tall.
Most of the growers choose to grow mini succulents though,the slow-growing types. Both small and giant succulents share the same characteristics, having thick leaves and an ability to grow in dry conditions.
How quickly do succulents grow?
Different species have different growth rates. But almost all of the succulents grow much slower than a typical plant you know from a garden or even from a forest. Honestly, something like a no. of inches a succulent should grow in a year does not exist.
Seasons impact the succulent size. The growth slows down in the so called “dormant period”, which is winter with most succulents, but some plants are actually dormant in the summer. Even the “summer” growing succulents though sometimes cannot endure the scorching sun at the heat of the day. If you keep them in such an environment, they may become dormant.
How big do succulents actually get?
Different species have different growth size. If you choose giant succulents then set your expectation higher because they might reach 40 feet above, and you don’t want your home looking like a forest. If you choose to grow a mini succulent, then it will stay small.
Fast-growing succulents will reach a huge size in just a month or so. You will notice the size increase in at least four months. These fast-growing plants include Irish rose (Aeonium arboreum), Hen and chicks (Echeveria sp.), Jelly bean plant (Sedum rubrotinctum), Jade plant (Crassula sp.), Haworthia (Haworthia sp.), Lavender scallops (Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi), Aloe vera (Aloe vera), String of buttons (Crassula perforata), and Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera sp.).
Slow growing plants give an impression of not growing at all. Examples of these house plants are the following: Crinkle leaf plant (Adromischus cristatus), Living stones (Lithops sp.), Air plants (Tillandsia sp.), and Barrel cactus (Ferocactus sp.)
Indoor succulents tend to grow more–seeking sunlight
Indoor succulents can actually have taller and larger leaves. Seeking for sunlight, they stretch out their leaves, as if they were trying to reach something from above. This characteristic is called etiolation. It commonly happens when plants need sunlight, which is the case with many indoor succulents.
With the right sunlight, we can prevent this unwanted tallness of your little succulents. It is important to always consider what is best for your plant. Know your succulent’s needs, give them the right amount of sunlight, temperature they like, appropriate soil. They will thank you a thousand times with their beauty.
Remember that the absence of sunlight can cause succulents to lose saturation, while too much sunlight will cause succulents to produce lighter pigments such as red or orange color. Size also depends on the pot you use. As a grower, you have the power to control the size of your plant. If you don’t want your succulents to grow taller or bigger, then cut away the new buds every single time. You can also plant the cuttings in a new pot to grow a new family of succulents.
Some cacti and succulents can live for decades and more
Belonging to the family of cactus species, succulents expect to live for a long time. Cacti in particular can live for decades, and some can cross the century mark!
Due to their characteristics as slow-growing plant and their ability to adapt to environmental changes, succulents can live long, in relatively dry conditions, with relative neglect. Remember that in their natural environment they often have to save their energy (for worse times), and hence they won’t grow too big just for the sake of growing.
How can you tell when your succulent has finally reached its final size?
Succulents may grow that slow that you cannot even notice any changes your succulents has gone through. For example, you believed that their appearance is just the same as before, even though their leaves become darker.
Another example, you may notice how much the pot becomes smaller as the succulents grows bigger. Succulents are versatile. You cannot tell if it’s its final size, because it never really is. As long as they get the nutrients they need, they may start growing again, at anytime.
May also interest you: How to water succulents indoors.
Echeveria VS Sempervivums as two large succulents
Echeveria is polycarpic, they can produce flower many times during their lifetime. This is a good thing about Echeveria since it will not die after flowering. On the other hand, Sempervivums die every time their flower blooms. The life span of this plant is much shorter so you need to learn propagating to ensure that you will never lose this plant on your pad.
Talking about cold hardiness, most Echeverias cannot stand in a very cold climate, unlike sempervivum. Echeveria is originated in Mexico and Central America, and the cold bothers them. Most of them can survive in cold unprotected but some are not. So if you are living in a cooler climate, then you must evacuate your echeveria into a greenhouse. Build a temporary shelter for them and help them overcome the coldness, and feel their owner’s warm from the outside.
But if the winter season starts to freeze all the way, then you should put your plant inside. Temporary shelters cannot make them feel warm any longer! Put them in any window sills for them to receive at least a little sunlight from the outside. You see that both of these plants has some advantages, and some specifics when it comes to growing. Think about them for a while and just then decide which succulent you want to have in your garden.