Succulent plants have fleshy, thickened leaves and stems. Their waxy parts enable them to retain and store water for harsh conditions such as arid climate and barren soil. As being one of the hardies of the plant world that seem to live forever, one may wonder, how long do succulents live?
There is no clear-cut answer for this question because the lifespan of these tough plants varies with their species, ranging from just a few years to some decades to several hundred years! The secret for the longer lifespan of succulents is that these robust plants save water in their fleshy leaves, stems, and sometimes roots that help them go through harsh conditions even with minimal care and maintenance.
Succulent Plants Features
Although succulent plants live for decades, they are slow-growers. This is because of the harsh environment that they live in. Limited availability of water and nutrients limits their growth rate. No matter how long do succulents live, their mature height will not exceed the normal growth.
The annual periods of dormancy throughout their lifecycle affect a lot for how long can succulents live. During dormancy, the growth of these fleshy plants declines to an even slower rate. These dormant times are important to store an extra amount of water and to save energy. However, the dormancy periods of succulents can be avoided if the plant is kept in the same conditions as it has been in the growing season; it has to be given adequate hours of sunlight and water along with a warmer temperature.
Most Common Succulents and How Long They Live
These succulents are from the Cactaceae family, which outlive most of the other succulents. The most common succulent plants from this family are Barrel cactus and Christmas cactus.
Barrel cactus has a lifespan of about a century that matures in just ten years. It has a faster growth rate during the initial years. This growth rate gradually slows down.
Christmas cactus is distinct from other species for its blooms of red, pink, and white, also that it prefers to be grown in a tropical environment rather than the typical harsh conditions of deserts that most succulents live in. This tough and pretty plant has a minimum lifespan of about 30 years.
The Jade Plant
The Jade plant is widely known as a money plant that is believed to bring good luck. They have an average lifespan of about 70 to 100 years and attain a mature height of about three feet.
This succulent good luck plant, if grown indoors, will live with you throughout your life!
Aloe Vera plant is the most popular succulent that is widely used for its benefits for skin and medicines. It can live up to 5 to 25 years as it is a slow grower and can save a tremendous amount of water in its thick, fleshy, and serrated leaves. It can grow up to a mature height of 2 feet.
These remarkably unique lithops got their names due to their similar appearance to tiny pebbles. They are extremely slow-growing succulents that have a lifespan of about 50 years.
Hens and Chicks Plants
These succulents are also called houseleeks. These plants can be grown outdoors as well as indoors depending on the climate. These hardy perennial succulents can live up to 3 years normally, but if cared for properly and placed in suitable surroundings, their lifespan extends to 10x of the normal years.
How Long Do Succulents Live Indoors
If growing high-maintenance houseplants is a hassle for you, but indoor plants are your thing and you yearn to create a beautiful indoor garden, then small and beautiful succulents are your best option that can be grown with minimal care and survive any harsh conditions.
These plants make excellent indoor plants because they can survive extremely dry conditions given that their thick stems and fleshy leaves can conserve water. These hardy plants can also survive a dry atmosphere, so the low humidity of your indoors will not be a concern.
The environment in which the plants are kept determines how long do succulents live indoors. These hardy plants require direct sunlight and dry air for proper growth; these conditions are best provided outdoors. If grown indoors, succulents have to be placed in a spot where they receive extended hours of sunlight exposure and low humidity that allows their soil to dry out quickly.
The more your indoor conditions are optimum for the growth of these robust plants, the longer will they stay green and fresh inside your walls.
How Long Can Succulents Survive Without Water
Succulents being drought-resistant, and desert-based plants can go months without being watered. The watering frequency varies with the type of species and their size.
The size of the leaves determines how long can succulents survive without water. The hardy succulents that have thick fleshy leaves with less surface area, such as cacti, can survive for six months without being watered. Amazing, isn’t it?
The less surface area has a lesser number of stomata, so no extra water is lost through transpiration.
Some types of succulents, such as Lithops, need to be watered just a few times throughout the year. This peculiarity is due to their extremely compact size that does not require much water to grow; also, its less number of stomata make sure no excess water is transpired.
In general, water your succulent plant when its soil goes completely dry within 14-15 days.
How to Extend Your Succulent’s Lifespan
If not cared for properly, even your Barrel cacti, with a lifespan of nearly a century, will die in just a year. The longevity of your plant depends a lot on you, on how much you care for its specific needs and optimal conditions.
Do not grow a hybrid succulent if you are planning to keep it for a much longer time. Hybrid succulents dry off much quicker than the less complex ones.