Most people choose to have succulents as house plants since they are easy to take care of.
Furthermore, they also live longer compared to most plants. If you’re a succulent-owner, you might not even notice that they’ve been in your home for years already.
So, do you ever ask yourself, how long do succulents live?
The life of succulents varies since there are a lot of species under it. On the other hand, most succulents can live indefinitely if properly cared for.
Just take a look at “Granddaddy”, which used to be the biggest and oldest saguaro in the US. It has survived in the Saguaro National Monument East for about 300 years!
How long do succulents live?
To say it simply, it really depends on the type of succulent itself and the care given. Most succulents are perennials, which mean that they can live for years with the right care.
For instance, jade plants, money plants, or the Crassula ovata, have a natural lifespan of 70 to 100 years. Meanwhile, some cactuses can live for centuries just like “Granddaddy” which survived twice as long as the average saguaro lives.
Furthermore, most monocarpic succulents -succulents that only flower once and then continue to die- can live between 10 - 100 years. My own Hen and Chicks (Supervivum) bloomed after 3 years. Since I was still a newbie back then, I let it dry out and die.
Although some succulents have a shorter lifespan, their offshoots and plantlets can be propagated and can live anew. Technically speaking, these new plants can be considered that same plant, maybe just a different generation of it.
Lifespan of some common succulents
- Aloe Vera – 10 to 20 years
- Crassula ovata or Jade plants – 20 to 100 years
- Christmas Cactus – minimum of 30 years
- Living Stones – 40 to 50 years
- Barrel Cactus – 50 to 100 years
- Hen and Chicks – 2 to 4 years
- Agave Americana – 40 to 100 years
How to make your Succulent Plant last Longer
Succulents may have a certain lifespan, but it doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed to live that long or that short. It still depends on how you take care of them.
To be able to take care of them properly, you must first know the kind of specie that you are dealing with. Each type has its own ideal conditions where they can thrive.
However, if we’re talking about succulents in general, you can follow some of the tips below to ensure that your succulents can live for a long time.
Choose the right pot and soil
Always pick a container or pot with the best drainage system. It doesn’t mean that the pot must have giant holes in it, but it has to be breathable so that the moisture won’t get trapped inside.
I might have mentioned before that most of my succulents are in terracotta pots. However, I need to water them more, especially the ones that are in direct sunlight, because they are very breathable and the succulents can dry out too much.
Pair your choice of container with soil that doesn’t hold water, and you’re good to go!
With soil, you can follow some DIY mixes online depending on your succulent. For the safer side, you can opt to use fast-draining cactus mix.
Go easy in watering your succulents – but not TOO easy!
Succulents naturally live in areas with extreme temperature, and they live just fine. They hold water in their roots, stems, and leaves so they can survive in harsh conditions.
However, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need water to the point that you’re already depriving them.
A good estimate is about every 2 weeks, depending on the type of succulent. As for me, I only water my succulents once the soil is nearly completely dry.
It can be more frequent if the weather is slightly warmer, especially in summer, or if the plant is placed outdoors.
One thing is for sure in every succulent regardless of the type, DO NOT overwater them. If you do, their roots will rot faster, and it can be tough to revive them.
Give them the proper amount of light.
Most succulents need natural light to thrive since most of them are used of sunlight in the desert, but they can also live in low light too.
Find the perfect balance of light and shade. Too much direct sunlight can cause them to dry out and get sunburns.
As long as your succulents get at least some exposure to sunlight, you can be sure that they’ll thrive. It is best to imitate the light conditions of the place where you got your succulent.
Feed your succulents
It is not really a requirement for succulents to be fertilized since they can get almost all the nutrients that they need from the soil. It also wouldn’t hurt to give them food every once in a while, though!
Giving your succulents fertilizer can help them grow fuller and produce fleshy leaves with more vibrant colors.
Think of it like giving them food supplement, although it’s not a necessity it can help them grow stronger.
A good rule of thumb is feeding them during the hotter seasons using a well-balanced organic fertilizer. You can also choose to fertilize them once a year during spring or your succulent’s growing season.
Seasonal care for you succulents – know your growing zone.
Whether they are located indoors or outdoors, you should know how to tend to them in any season. Make sure that you know your hardiness zone.
There’s a Hardiness Zone Map available online that can help you find out your location’s area.
For those in the US, USDA has a map that can where you can locate your zone. You can also check out this map if you live outside the US.
As for me, I usually relocate some of my succulents around if the weather is too brutal outside during summer or winter. I also depend on my succulents’ dormancy.
Some of my succulents are tender, and they can’t really handle freezing temperatures, I cover some of them with frost cloth.
On the other hand, I also have some cold hardy succulents, so I just let them out since I’m sure that they’ll do just fine all winter.
Not ready to say goodbye? Propagate them
Some succulent species have a shorter life span, and although you’ve tried your best to let them live longer, that’s just how long (or short) they’re meant to live.
If that’s the case, you can always propagate succulents from the current one that you have.
Through this, you can reproduce generations of succulents from the current one that you have.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she attended University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture. She has supplemented her formal education by working on various organic farms, including spending a semester abroad in India.
Growing and/or raising just about anything gets her excited. She is especially passionate about environmental justice and low-tech, sustainable ways to better run small-scale farms and homesteads. Lindsey started Urban Organic Yield to discuss gardening tips and tactics.