Hot-Selling Succulents Remain Hip, With No End in Sight

Echeveria-Crimson-Tide
Hummingbirds love the tall spikes of Echeveria ‘Crimson Tide.’

As the largest breeder and grower of succulents in the world, we at Altman Plants see evidence of succulents’ popularity every day — in the demand for our plants, both at in-store retail accounts and our direct sales online, and in the passion displayed on social media by our fellow succulent enthusiasts, growers, and sellers.

What explains the hot streak of these fascinating, fleshy plants that store water in their tissues, and can it be sustained? We believe so. Succulents, from the hens and chicks and agaves to cacti and aloes, check many of the boxes of what people today are looking for in live goods. They are incredibly versatile, fitting in almost anywhere: in the garden, inside, on the patio, in all manner of containers and nooks and crannies. They are the ultimate easy-care plants: eager for light, non-extreme temperatures, periodic drinks of water, and not a whole lot else.

Ultramodern Succulents Never Get Old

With new introductions of succulents becoming available seemingly all the time, succulents are simultaneously fresh and timeless. Their natural symmetry and uncommon gifts of color and texture coexist handsomely with contemporary architectural lines and décor aesthetics. Similarly, we see harmony in a succulent landscape fronting a Craftsman home or Victorian-style residence. The possibilities are endless for designers, gardeners, and collectors, as well as for non-plant-obsessed homeowners who are simply curious about alternatives to high-water, high-maintenance lawns.

Succulents Are a Designer’s Dream

While trends come and go and the market for succulents has enjoyed an impressive run the past several years, we believe they will continue to be at the forefront of live design, if not immune from pressures along the way.

The move toward smaller homes and gardens and more compact neighborhoods should increase demand for plants long fancied for use in tight spots, from narrow beds to quirky planters. Numerous excellent choices exist for properties with limited space for plant life. Also notable for their neatness, succulents do not burden time-strapped owners with hours of cleanup duty. Mostly self-reliant when left to fend for themselves for extended periods, succulents should remain desirable in our on-the-go society.

Feed Consumers’ Passion for Succulents, Create Connections

This pro-succulent momentum should continue to provide fertile opportunities for breeders and growers to innovate and attract more customers. At Altman Plants, along with continuing to develop new hybrids, we want to create products that give consumers different ways to enjoy succulents. We work with retail partners to develop and refine point-of-purchase programs to help catch and open more eyes to the world of these remarkable plants.

Over the years, we’ve introduced hundreds of varieties to the market, not only small-sized plants but larger varieties, as well.

It would be shortsighted, however, to view this current growth period purely through a sales prism. We view it as a chance to be part of a vibrant community of fellow plant lovers, to nurture newfound passions so they last a lifetime. We aim to connect with succulent enthusiasts through informational and entertaining content via our social media channels, blog, email newsletter, and other avenues. These are our customers and potential customers, of course.

Aeonium-Mardi-Gras
The vivid rose and rich burgundy colors of Aeonium ‘Mardi Gras’ pop when it is grown in bright light or cooler temperatures.

Succulents’ Value Is in What They Do

We see current succulent trends coalescing around the ideas of versatility and ease of use. Examples include mixed planters incorporated into interior décor and those beautifying compact outdoor spaces, along with plants used for table settings and other embellishments at events such as weddings. These trends dovetail with the tastes of Millennials, the nation’s largest generation and the demographic generally most open to living in smaller spaces and denser neighborhoods — and who are less likely to own homes than previous generations at the same age.

In studies and surveys, Millennials report a strong regard for sustainability and serious concerns about environmental issues such as climate change. Succulents are well-positioned to appeal to those values.

Plants Like Succulents for Companionship, Too

Other trends we see coming include mixing succulents and herbs in planters indoors or on a patio. Succulents make fine companion plants, and this would be a way for people to easily blend various gardening interests.

We could do more to help people understand that succulents go well with other types of plants. Gardeners can create beautiful mixed landscapes by incorporating non-succulent companions such as citrus, rockrose, bougainvillea, African daisy, grevillea, lavender, rosemary, sage, statice, and yarrow.

There are more varieties of succulents available now than ever before. They are attractive, low-maintenance options at a time when more people desire planted spaces that reflect a commitment to sustainable living and the conservation of natural resources. We see plenty of reasons to be excited about succulents and their future.

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