How Long do Succulents Live?

Almost all gardeners love succulents because they are easy to maintain, are drought-resistant, and come in various colours. So whether you want a plant for indoor or outdoor, succulents are best for every situation.

All plant owners want their plants to live long and don’t want to lose them any time soon. This is why succulent owners commonly ask, “How long do succulents live?”

In this article, we will answer that question and also provide you with a few tips to make your succulents live a long life.

Predicting How Long Your Succulents Will Live is Difficult

It is almost impossible to predict the average lifespan of a succulent because there isn’t a specific factor that defines how long a succulent may live. Succulents have thousands of species, and each has a different life expectancy from the other.

A major reason why it’s so difficult to predict the life span of succulents is that their life expectancy depends upon the conditions in which they are grown. Also, how closely those conditions resemble the natural habitat of the succulents.

As succulents are drought resistant, they survive best in dry, arid places. If those conditions are not provided, they will die early.

Even if we narrow down to the genus of a succulent, we may still not be able to determine their average life. Additionally, many physical factors of the succulent are also crucial to consider during this process.

Do Succulents Have Any Specific Life Span?

Succulents are slow growers by nature which is a chief factor contributing to their long life span. All succulents go through two main periods throughout their life cycle.

Dormancy period

During unfavourable weather conditions, the growth of the succulents gets suspended, and this is known as dormancy. In some cases, however, the growth does not halt entirely but slows down.

The succulents remain in the dormant period till the environment becomes favourable for growth. Dormancy usually appears in succulents during the winter season.

Active/ growing period

On the other hand, the active period is the time when the weather conditions are suitable for growth. As a result, during this period, the plant forms new leaves and flowers. Succulents require more care throughout this time.

If your succulents are indoors where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate, they might not enter the period of dormancy. That’s not something you should worry about as it won’t affect the health of your succulents.

Yet, most succulents don’t bloom till they go dormant.

Average lifespan of common succulent species

Just to give you an idea of the versatility in the life expectancy of succulents, we have provided you with information on the lifespan of a few common succulent species.

Hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum)

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Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

This succulent usually has a life of 3-4 years, but during the growing season, it produces babies. Therefore, it has 2-3 productive years before it dies. As a result, this succulent can live for many years through its offspring.

Jade plant (Crassula Ovata)

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Image by sandid from Pixabay

The Jade plant, popularly known as the Money Plant, has an average life of 70-100 years. Thus, if you have had this succulent since you were young, you can expect it to grow old with you.

Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)

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Photo by Katie Bernotsky on Unsplash

Aloe Vera is the most commonly grown succulent in home gardens. They have a wide variety of species, but their requirements and life spans are almost the same. Typically, this succulent reaches maturity within 3-4 years and lives up to 12 years. It can grow 60 to 100 cm in length during this time.

Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

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Image by RitaE from Pixabay

The Barrel Cactus also has an outstanding life span. This cactus can live up to 50 years and if the succulent is provided with ideal living conditions, it may even survive for centuries.

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi)

This amazing-looking cactus blooms with attractive white, red, and pink flowers and has a life expectancy of 20 or more years with proper care.

These succulents are not the easiest to care for especially when it comes to watering. The slightest overwatering makes them shed their leaves, stems become mushy and in extreme cases, the roots might rot completely. So to be on the safe side, you should stop watering the Christmas Cactus once the soil becomes moist.

Lithops (Lithops spp.)

The Lithops are sometimes mistaken as split pebbles, which is why they are also known as living stones. These low-maintenance plants can live up to 40 – 50 years. They are extremely slow in their growth and take a long time to develop, but look incredible once they have matured.

Crown Of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

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Image by Anuraj RV from Pixabay

The Crown of Thorns is also known as Euphorbia. They are filled with thorns on their stem and bloom with flowers of various colours. These succulents usually live to a period of 20 – 25 years.

Keeping your succulents alive

Succulents may die early due to improper care. Even the Barrel Cactus, known for its long life span, dies within one year without adequate maintenance. So for the long-lasting life of your succulents, take a look at the tips given below.

Specialization of your plant

The survival of hybridized plants is difficult as they live a shorter life than less complex succulents. So, if you want your succulent to live a longer life, it’s best to avoid hybridization.

Ideal conditions for growth

Though succulents are low-maintenance plants, they still require specific conditions for optimum health and growth. Here is a list of those conditions.

1. Watering

Be careful while watering your succulents. Overwatering is as good as a death sentence for them. The best way to water succulents is the soak and dry method. This can be performed by watering the plant once the soil has completely dried.

2. Soil mix

You should always use a succulent soil mix for your succulents because it has better drainage than regular soil. Well-drained soil is necessary for the growth of healthy roots of succulents.

3. Fertilizers

As plants grow, the nutrients of the soil deplete. Therefore, it is essential to fertilize the soil with fertilizers to provide nutrient-rich soil to the plant. Some succulents may require fertilizers multiple times in a year, while others are fine without them throughout their life.

4. Good Drainage System

As succulents are adapted to hot and dry weather conditions, they can not persist in a wet environment.

As it attracts pests and causes roots to rot, which results in the death of the succulent.

For this reason, it is important to provide them with a good drainage system that predominantly depends on the soil type, but a few other factors are also important to consider, such as:

Pot material

It is important to buy pots made of materials that favour drainage. Unfortunately, plastic and glass pots are not the best in that regard. In contrast, clay pots promote better drainage.

Drainage hole

Having a drainage hole in the pot takes the drainage system to another level. Those who often overwater succulents should consider buying a pot that has a drainage hole, since it drains the extra water.

5. Propagation

Many succulents produce seeds, but it is better to grow succulents by propagation. It is easier and faster and also keeps the succulent healthy. Thus, you can continue to extend the life of your succulent by propagating it.

Featured Photo by Sheelah Brennan on Unsplash

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