What Are Rare Succulents
Succulents are plants composed of fleshy leaves and stem that they have adapted to store water for long periods of time. These succulents have fleshy stems and leaves because they tend to thrive more in dry climates.
Cacti are among this classification of plants, but you can find a lot more. If you are interested in getting a succulent or two, you need to keep in mind that it will be an addictive hobby. It may end up with you gradually filling your living space with a lot of beautiful plants, which is not actually a bad thing.
The good news is that you can find hundreds, even thousands of species of succulents. However, only a portion of these succulent species are domesticated, and among those are the select few plants that are quite rare and sought after by many collectors. If you can manage to get your hands on even one of these plants, you will be the envy of a huge community of plant lovers.
Benefits of Growing Rare Succulents
Should you start growing rare succulents? Then here are the benefits of having rare succulents even in a small living space that will encourage you to give this hobby a try:
As the name suggests, rare succulents are hard to come by. There are only a few gardeners who can claim that they have successfully propagated them. If they did, these are usually not enough that they can freely sell them to other collectors. With that in mind, it is safe to say that you will get yourself into an elite and unique class by cultivating these succulents on your own.
If you have a high-stress job, you can easily relax just by staring at your succulent collection. The composition and configuration of their leaves can sometimes be hypnotizing. Besides, most succulents are pretty low-maintenance. Even some rare species are easier to take care of than other types of houseplants, so you do not have to stress yourself too much.
Add Fresh Oxygen to Your Home
In general, plants, not just succulents, can add a lot of fresh air into any living space. If you feel like your apartment is starting to feel stuffy, then consider getting a couple of succulents, like the succulents hanging from the ceiling. You should then watch out for its positive effects, especially as you notice the air quality drastically improving within just a few days.
How Do Rare Succulents Work
To identify a succulent, you need to look at the leaves and stems of the plant. Succulents have meaty leaves, unlike other plants that have thin and fragile ones. Their leaves are like that because they are used for storing water. Succulents are native to dry and arid landscapes where they would rarely get any rain. It is the reason why you never water succulents every day.
Succulents also use their stems for storing water, which is why cacti can also be classified as such despite not having any leaves. Although there are more than 10,000 known succulents species, a good portion of them is not so common that you can find them in your local plant nursery. In fact, there are many that you have to get shipped from overseas.
Are rare succulents more beautiful than the common ones? Not all of them. Note that you can also find many common succulents that are pretty and some rare succulents that may not look special to the untrained eye. However, because they are rare, many consider them as more valuable.
Pros and Cons of Rare Succulents
- Have the potential of increasing in value. Rare succulents can be a good investment. Because of their limited numbers (propagating them can sometimes be difficult), some collectors will be willing to pay extremely high amounts for them.
- Gives you the chance to hold a prominent position in the community. There are numerous communities of people who share your love of succulents. If you have a scarce plant species in your possession, the other members will put you in high regard.
- Look beautiful. Even though succulents rarely bloom, just their leaves and how they are configured make them quite attractive, especially the best flowering succulents. Speaking of the leaves, they also come in all the colors of the rainbow. Also, succulents make a splendid groundcover if you live in a dry and arid area, like many Southwest USA parts.
- Easy to maintain. Even beginners can grow amazing cacti as well. Unlike other plants that you need to look after constantly and water, succulents are low-maintenance. In fact, most succulents only need watering every week or so. Overwatering is one of the only ways that you can kill them.
- They are usually expensive. Many common succulents are quite affordable, but they get a bit on the expensive side when buying mature and established ones. The prices do get ridiculously high when you delve into the realm of rare succulents that can go into thousands of dollars.
- They take a long time to grow. Unlike perennials and other garden plants that can fully grow in just one growing season, succulents grow slowly. They also require a lot of sun, so if you live in the Northern territory, your succulents will take years before they can even fill their pots. In this case, you may want to invest in a good UV growing light.
Types of Rare Succulents
Now, let us talk about the different types of rare succulents that you can grow at home. The following are among the most prominent names in this field:
Othonna Capensis – Ruby Necklace
This specific rare succulent refers to a hanging plant, which somehow resembles a “string of pearls.” You can easily distinguish this type with its elongated leaves. It also has a bright purplish-red color.
Pachyphytum Compactum – Little Jewel
One thing that makes the Pachyphytum Compactum a little bit distinctive is its short-stemmed structure combined with its leaves that form into a rosette shape. It got its name from the peculiar shape of the leaves, which looks like cut gemstones.
Also called “living pebbles,” the Conophytum Subglobosum succulent resembles little, green hearts sprout from the ground.
Ariocarpus Trigonus – Living Rock
Just like its name suggests, this succulent looks like a rock that has fleshy spines growing out of it. The “rock” is actually the thick stalk of the plant.
Tephracactus Articulatus – Paper Spine Cactus
This rare cactus refers to a segmented type of cacti that is quite delicate as each segment is loosely connected. It is what makes this succulent quite high maintenance. Unlike other cacti, this plant’s spines get softer around the tips when they get longer.
Haworthia Truncate v. Maughanii
This type is one of the most sought-after among the rosette-type succulents. It has leaves that come with a blunt end and is translucent. The leaves also look like raw, uncut emeralds.
Adromischus Masculatus – Calico Hearts
This type is a unique succulent not just because of its wedge-shaped leaves but also due to its brown, mottled pattern. Unlike most of the rare succulents in this list, it does not mind the cold weather. Just remember not to water it during the wintertime.
Echeveria x Imbricata
Also called “blue rose,” this succulent is one of the most sought-after rosette-forming species. These rosettes can grow up to 20 centimeters in diameter. The growth is rather slow, though. Another thing to take note of is that this succulent has vibrant blue-green leaves with pink tips.
How to Plant and Grow Rare Succulents
Although it is best to leave the planting and propagating of rare succulents to the professionals, albeit being a bit more fragile, the process does not differ too much from planting common succulents. Here are some of the usual steps to take when growing them:
Step 1 – Carefully remove the plant from its old container
Use a small gardening knife to loosen the soil surrounding the succulent. You should then carefully pull it out, holding it as close to the base as possible.
Step 2 – Remove the old soil
Remove as much of the old soil from the roots as you can. Gradually break up the clumped-up soil on the roots of the plant. Be careful not to damage the roots themselves.
Step 3 – Let the air of the root dry for a couple of days
Place the plant on its side on a flat container (any old dish or tray will do) and spread out the roots so that they can dry faster. This will make it easier for the plant to recover after transplanting.
Step 4 – Get the right soil mix
Succulents need quick-draining soil, something that is a bit sandy will do well. Making perfect succulent soil at home requires adding some perlite to any soil to make it loose and fast-draining.
Step 5 – Prepare the container
You need to use pots that have ample drainage so that the excess water can run off quickly. You can put broken pieces of pottery or large pebbles at the bottom of each pot before filling it with your potting mix. It will let the water run through the soil quicker.
Step 6 – Carefully transplant the succulent into the new container
Fill the container halfway with your soil mix. Put the succulent inside and then fill the pot with more soil. Ensure that at least half of the plant’s body clears the top of the pot for proper ventilation.
Step 7 – Ensure that the plant is securely in place
Pack the soil around the succulent so that it will not go anywhere. If the plant is still falling over, place a dowel or two around the succulent to brace it until its roots grow. Water the soil around the plant until it is fully saturated. It will encourage new root growth.
How to Care for Rare Succulents
Step 1 – Water the succulents sparingly
Watering succulents is important, so it is a must for you to do it regularly. Proper watering is actually even more important. You should only water your succulents when the soil in the pot is parched to the touch. If there is even a slight trace of moisture, then it does not need watering yet.
Step 2 – Inspect the plant for any diseases
Check if the leaves have any discoloration or if they are starting to wilt. Usually, the leaves at the base will be the first to start wilting. Pluck off any wilted or half-wilted leaves. Throw the half-wilted leaves into a container and keep them in a cool and dark place. They might still be able to grow roots and propagate later.
Step 3 – Put them in the right place
Place them in a location that gets lots of sun. Succulents love sunlight. They even need at least three to four hours of direct sunlight every day.
Step 4 – Re-pot them when they get too big for their pots
The good news is that the entire process is easy that you can try repotting succulent by yourself. You will need to transfer the succulent into a bigger pot to have more room to grow.
Where to Find Rare Succulents
Rare succulents may be difficult to come by, but they are not impossible to find. Here are some of the places where you might get your hands on some rare succulents to add to your collection.
Succulents Shows and Sales
There are so many succulent fans that annual conventions and shows just for showcasing succulents are also easy to find. If you haven’t already, join a local gardening Facebook group or web forum for any news on upcoming trade events and conventions. If you snoop deep enough, you might even get a couple of scoops on what kinds of rare succulents would be up for sale.
Your Local Nursery
You might be surprised at what kinds of plants your local nursery might have. Although most plant nurseries would only have common succulents for sale, if you ask the proprietor nicely, they might let you in on a “secret menu” of sorts and sell you some rare plants that they keep in the back room. Or, at the very least, you may get valuable information on where to get them.
Botanical and Public Gardens
Now, it is illegal and very unethical to uproot plants from botanical and public gardens. However, it is not illegal to pick up fallen leaves from the plants. Just peek underneath the plants and carefully pick up any fallen leaves that are still in good condition. If you are lucky, you can propagate new plants from these leaves. Of course, it would still be best to ask permission from the garden caretaker before you go out picking.
The neat thing about living in the age of the Internet is that you can find practically anything you want online, and that includes rare succulents. As mentioned earlier, you should join Facebook groups and web forums dedicated to the love of succulents, and you will definitely find links to online stores that sell rare species.
Share Cuttings With Friends
If you have friends who have rare succulents in their collection, ask if you could have any fallen leaves and then use them to propagate your own plant. If you want a rare succulent, it is only polite to ask your friend to sell you a couple of propagatable leaves.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
The reason why rare succulents cost as much as they do is that there are minimal numbers of them in the market, just basic supply-and-demand. You should also expect to pay more if the rare succulent is inside an expensive decorative container and if it is in perfect health.
Moreover, if you think that rare succulents are already expensive, the price gets even higher when we talk about variegated plants. These are plants with a genetic mutation that give them unusual colors and color patterns, and these are more sought after by collectors. If you want pretty plants to look at, and you do not have a budget big enough for the real thing, there is nothing wrong with owning premium artificial succulents that cost much less.
Do’s and Dont’s With Rare Succulents
- Give your succulents a lot of sunlight. Succulents will need a lot of sunlight exposure. Some even need more of it compared to the others. If you will be keeping them inside your home, place the pots on a windowsill that gets at least four hours of sunlight every day.
- Use a small watering can. You need to prevent water from getting anywhere else other than the roots, so you should not use a spray bottle like you would on your other plants.
- Do not use cups or mugs without drain holes. You might have seen succulents planted in teacups, mugs, and jars on the internet, but what you do not see is that they have holes drilled at the bottom for proper drainage. If you plan on doing the same thing, get a hand drill and poke holes on the containers’ bottom beforehand.
- Do not overwater your succulents. Note that if you overwater your succulents, the stems and roots’ base will begin to rot. When that happens, you will need to cut off the rotten part, especially if you want to salvage the plant’s rest.
FAQ About Rare Succulents
What makes a succulent rare?
As the name suggests, rare succulents are the species that are very difficult to find. One of the reasons why certain succulents are rare that they are quite difficult and challenging to propagate and grow. Some rare succulent species are so delicate. They are not like the common varieties that you can leave alone for months outside and will still be fine.
Where can I find rare succulents?
You will need to do a bit of hunting and bring plenty of cash. You can surely find at least a couple of rare succulents in gardening conventions and shows. It is also possible for you to find a couple of large plant nurseries selling a couple of varieties. Some of them are not even displayed and you must ask the proprietor if they have any.
What is the rarest succulent in the world?
The rarest succulent on record today is the Discocactus subterraneo-proliferans. Many botanists believe that this plant is already extinct in the wild, and there are just 50 known samples of the plant in private collections. These plants are basically priceless.
Why are succulents expensive?
Most succulents are not that expensive at all, especially the widespread ones. However, the price tags exponentially rise when you are talking about rare succulents. Some of them are not even leaf-propagated, so you need to know the tricky process of growing succulents from seeds.
They are so expensive that rare succulents are hard to find, hence the name. It is also mainly because of the rule of supply-and-demand. The rarer the plant, the larger the asking price will most likely be.
Can you make money selling succulents?
Yes, you can. It will take some time, though, if you start from scratch since it will take a couple of months to propagate and grow succulents. Still, if you have the time and patience for it, succulent selling can be a lucrative career.
Are clear succulents real?
Yes. There is a particular rare succulent called the Haworthia cooperi, which, shape-wise, is not that unusual. However, because of its translucent leaves, it is very much sought-after by collectors. This plant is also gorgeous. It even looks like a clump of emeralds.
Growing and cultivating your own succulents can be a gratifying hobby. However, there will come a time when you will feel like your collection is lacking something and that is when you will start hunting for rare succulents. Although this hobby is pretty rewarding, it can also be expensive, so learn to control yourself as best as you can when shopping.
Despite the high cost, though, nothing can compare to the feeling of hunting down and finally getting your hands on a rare species of succulent. This is especially true once you start seeing them grow and flourish even in your small garden.
Photos from: MillaFedotova / depositphotos.com, khuntapoldep / depositphotos.com, belchonock / depositphotos.com and Wirestock / depositphotos.com.