The lifespan of a succulent is a difficult thing to predict. They’re known for being able to grow and survive in places with very harsh weather conditions, yet can still wither and die somewhat easily. For optimal living conditions, so many variables have to be just right – well-draining, nutrient-rich soil, enough water and sunlight, and a not too hot or too cold environment. Getting that balance is tricky, especially for indoor succulents.
With the right care and attention, a succulent can live for decades, whether the original plant flourishes, self-propagates, or is propagated by the owner. But for every succulent that survives with excellent care, there’ll be one that doesn’t live long due being improperly cared for in one way or another. It’s also possible that the plant can simply die without any apparent cause.
Many succulents simply have not been kept in cultivation long enough for you to be able to know how long they’ll live. But if your succulent is healthy and doing well after a bit of consistent care, it should be with you for many years.
The best thing you can do as a succulent owner is to find out as much as you can about your particular plant. While its lifespan may be somewhat ambiguous, there is a lot of information to be found about plant care for different species and individual succulents. Find out if your plant prefers direct sunlight or a shadier spot, if it needs more frequent watering to stay healthy, etc. Keeping your succulent well-fertilized during the growing season and staying on top of its care will help it to live a longer, healthier life.
The more specialized and hybridized the succulent, the shorter the lifespan tends to be. Succulents with a less complex heritage live longer on average. If longevity is something you are looking for, try choosing a simple succulent, like a Jade plant or a commonEcheveria.
When you research your specific succulent, you are likely to find out key details about how it propagates, which can give you an insight into how long it could live. Some species of succulent flower and then die naturally, some collapse in on themselves and re-root without interference, and some need to be propagated to survive. More often than not, a succulent will ‘live on’ through its descendants rather than the original plant surviving for many years. Learning how to propagate your succulent is key if you want to have it for a long time.
One of the easiest succulents to take care of, theJade plant will happily live for 20-30 years when placed in a bright spot. The cheery, floweringChristmas cactus is another 30+ year succulent that needs warmth and humidity to thrive.Hens and Chicks are an interesting group as they self-propagate, so while the original plant may only live 3-4 years, their offspring continue on. You could also try aLiving Stones succulent, which is very slow growing but can live for 40-50 years in the right conditions.