How to Identify Succulents (Quick Ways)

How to Identify Succulents

How to identify succulents? This is a common challenge for beginners. I also asked this question when I was started my journey as a succulent grower. In this post, I will share some tips on how to identify succulents that you’re growing.

You can identify the different varieties of your beloved succulents by their own shapes, color, structures, and sizes. Just observe their different structure if they are round, fleshy, spiky or if they produce baby plants that hang on the edges of the leaves of its mother plant, this will help you to distinguish if they are in the same specie or not.

There are many types of succulents–especially cacti– which can be found most likely in gardens like your garden or even a neighbor’s garden. Cacti are the ones we mainly ask in our kind neighbor to have some cuttings of it.

Back to the topic, you can also identify them through their growth habit and unique characteristics. If they are in a rosette form or if they have babies hanging on the leaves.

The following will help you to track down what specie your succulents belong to:

Aloe plants

This succulent has spiky leaves that are fleshy. The edge of its leaf looks like it has small teeth and it is also thick that stocks water in it.

Small species and varieties of it are perfect for landscaping your garden but don’t forget that it cannot handle too low temperature that can frost your plants.

It can also produce a flower when it is fully developed. The flower has a shade of peach, red and pink. Its tall flower attracts not only for human but also for hummingbirds. And to tell you, this plant is fire resistant.


Though this plant is somehow similar to Aloe, its spikes are not soft as aloe has, because its spike was hard and can hurt your finger when you touch or slid onto it. And its leaves are not as thick as aloe has, it is thinner but harder ones.


Gasteria’s leaves are similar to Aloes but less the tooth-like edges on Aloe’s leaves. Plus, its leaves are commonly opposite to each other making it on a straight line on top view.

Its name was coming from its flower because of its shape. It can be compared to a tiny red stomach that it is called ‘gasteria’.

Queens Tears

This plant is so plain that it looks like a grass but can amaze you when it blooms its flowers.

I don’t know why it was called ‘queens tears’ when in fact, it more looks like an elegant and colorful earing to my eyes, you must see it also for yourself before realizing what I’m saying here.


Aeonium can be in the shades of green, maroon and dark red to black in color that makes it like a shiny dark flower. The leaves of it were long and in a rosette formation.

This type of succulent can survive in a high-temperature environment with a small amount of water. Though it may look in a not good condition during summer, it will definitely recover when fall comes.


Echeveria succulents are one of those common types of succulents having a rosette formation. You can buy some of its variety in a condition where its stem was fully covered by its leaves and have a short stem, but it can be elongated as time goes by and have left only on its top. Don’t panic because it’s normal for them to be elongated, it only means that they need more sunlight.


Graptopetalum is relative to Echeveria because of its similarities in appearance. But Graptopetalum has more pointy leaves than Echeveria.

x Pachyveria

This succulent was specifically crossed breed of two different types of succulents, Pachyphytum and Echeveria to be exact. But this type of succulent was basically any types of succulents that came from two different types of succulent. If you can’t identify which type your succulent is or you can see two characteristics of different succulents in your succulent, maybe it was crossed breed and this type of succulent is the right variety of your succulent.


Jovibarba was confusing to many people if it is species because it sometimes inclined to Supervivum which are both somehow similar in environmental characteristics but have their own uniqueness.

Most of its small species, baby Jovibarba connects to their mother plant with just a thin root. This plant is also called as ‘roller’ for when the baby’s root break, the baby succulent roll for a distance away from its mother plant.

Unlike most of others, Jovibarba Heuffelii propagates its own babies through splitting. Where new babies will grow and form itself in the same plant making it looks like a conjoined twin. But it can be separated through a time when it is fully stabled with its own roots.


Orostachy is a genus that considered hardy succulent when it comes to drought. It can also survive at extremely low temperatures but hate wet surroundings for it is sensitive to water.


This type of succulent is rare though it is collected by rock gardener. Maybe because they die once they bloom. It happens only once every two years.

With that setup, it can only continue its generation if they are in an undisturbed place so that the seeds once dropped by the mother plant will grow and continue to propagate.


This type of succulent looks similar to Jovibarba. But its babies stick around the mother plant, unlike Jovibarba. It has a range of colors such as red and green. This is one of the succulent varieties that are easy to take care of.


Sedum is also known as stonecrop. There is no exact formation of this one, but some look like a shrub. I always see this succulent in dish gardens. Most growers put Sedum as their background for it is creeping and slow growers. It can also survive with a minimum of water.


Kalanchoe has its unique characteristic on propagation of its babies. Unlike others, its babies hang on the edges of the mother’s leaves. This makes this succulent easy to identify.

Stinky Cactus

I will just mention two types of Stinky: Huernia and Stapelia. Both of these types have a flower that smelled like rotting meat when open, that’s why they are called Carrion Flowers.

I can describe Huernia to be spikier than Stapelia. Stapelia has soft and organized thorns. While Huernia has a rubber-like stem and odd bumps.

Fuzzy Succulents

I remember when I had my first fuzzy succulent, my family was so amazed and my big sister can’t stop pinching it because it’s like chewy candy, soft. Aside from it being soft, it also has tiny soft bristles around them.


This is a type of pebble plant because of course, it looks like a pebble. It mimics its environment to protect themselves from any risk. They were mostly found in the forest making them tolerant of drought.

Andromischus Cristata

Sometimes, this succulent is called “Baby Toes”. Unlike other succulent, it does have 3 sides or edges of its leaves making it look like a triangular leaf. Its leaves are plump and the edge of its leaves are crinkled.


The famous Jade Plant or also known as ‘Money Tree’ is a Crassula. It was called Money Tree for having a circular leaf that represents money.

Portulacaria Afra

Portulacaria Afra known as Elephants Food. In some countries, however, it is called “Jadelet” because it looks like a mini version of Jade, tinier leaves and soft violet stems.


Adenium is also drought tolerant that’s why it is called Desert Rose. This can be propagated through cuttings and seeds.

Ceropegia woodii

Ceropegia Woodii is known as Heart Entangled. While others call it “String of Hearts” due to its appearance. It has a thin stem where fleshy heart-shaped leaves were connected.


Peperomia is a genus is very wide to identify all of its variety. But some of the leaves of it were like the leaves of taro–heart-shaped–but striped with other colors like white. But some have the color of full red-violet. There are some circle-shaped leaves and or pleated leaves too.

Aptenia cordifolia

Like Sedum, Aptenia Cordifolia also used in making a dish garden or in landscaping as a background.

It has a small green–and sometimes with a shade of white–leaves. It also blooms a flower in colors of red, pink, yellowish-white and violet. I hope that after reading this post, you will somehow be able to identify the succulent variety you are growing.


I am a university teacher by profession, researcher, blogger, and gardener.

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