As many of you may already know, most succulents come from dry areas such as steppes, semi-desert, and desert. South Africa just happens to specialize in all three of these environments. Because these eco-regions are known for high temperatures and low precipitation, many plants native to South Africa must collect and store water in their stems and "leaves" to survive long dry periods. This is why many of them are chubby and adorable.
For succulent-savvy folks, always on the lookout for low-maintenance and interesting plants, South Africa is a haven of diversity. We can't list all the species, but we've included a list of some of our favorites.
Lithops are commonly known as living stones. This is because, well, they look like rocks. These are stunningly cool plants. They grow in little clumps close to the ground, and are ideal for a sunny spot on a desk or shelf. Like most succulents, they are relatively easy to grow, given sufficient sun and well-draining soil.
Did you know? Because lithops are so well-camoflagued in their natural habitat, new species are still be discovered by scientists.
Gasteria and Harworthia
Gasteria and harworthia are easy-to-grow succulents in the Aloe family. Much like lithops, they grow close to the ground and thrive on low moisture. Unlike lithops, these little guys send their blooms out on long stalks that grow much higher than the plants' stem-like leaves. This is so their pollinators (bees and other insects) can reach the flowers the plants put out in order to reproduce.
Did you know? Some species of gasteria and harworthia are endangered in the wild due to habitat loss.
Crassula come in many different shapes and sizes and are super easy to take care of. They make great "first plants" for new plant parents. They also look great in planters and terrariums because they can add height and texture to any arrangement.
Did you know? There are two main forms of crassula - branching and stacked. Use branching crassula (e.g. Crassula perforata) in hanging baskets or in a window box. Use stacked crassula (e.g. Crassula ovata, shown in above image) in an oval shaped terrarium for a cool symmetrical look.
Euphorbia are commonly known as spurge. There are over 6,000 species in this plant family, many of which grow in South Africa. A common characteristic among these plants is that they secrete a milky latex when the stem is broken. In fact, the rubber tree ( native to Brazil) belongs to this plant family, which is the primary source of natural rubber.
Did you know? Poinsettias, the red (sometimes white or pink) plants you see around the holidays, are in the Eurphorbia family.
Stop by and see us at the storefront to get a treasure from South Africa, without the pricey plane ticket!
Have a favorite succulent from South Africa? Comment and share it with us!