How Long Do Succulents Live?

The average lifespan of succulents can vary from a few months to 100 years depending upon their habitats and care given. Therefore, how long do succulents live depends upon how you care for your plants. Plants exposed to the harsh extremes of the wild are obviously less likely to live longer than those who live comfortably indoors.

Finding a one-size-fits-all answer to this question is difficult due to the diversity of succulents.

There are thousands of different types, each with its own set of requirements and habits. Let’s find out how long do succulents live, how fast they grow, and what they require in terms of sunlight, water, pots, soil, and other factors.

The lifespan of a succulent can sometimes be found online or in a plant nursery. Many plants, however, have unknown ages simply because they haven’t been seen in nature for long enough.

Here are several succulents that have been known to live for a long time:

Succulents lifespan
Barrel Cactus Centuries!
Jade Plant”}”>Jade Plant 70-100 years
Living Stones 40-50 years
Christmas Cactus”}”>Christmas Cactus 30+ years
Hens and Chicks 3+ years
Agave Americana 10 to 30 years

In the lives of some succulent plants, various factors have a significant impact on how long they survive. 

Many hybrids, such as Echeveria Perle von Nurnberg, for example, have limited lifespans.

Some succulents do not live for long periods of time, yet they produce offsets to replace themselves. 

Chicks and Hens is a fantastic example. The mother plant only survives for 3-4 years, however it produces a large number of offsets during that time. Because of many offsets taking its place, you may not even notice the mother plant’s death.

After flowering, monocarpic plants, such as aeonium kiwi, die. The succulent may live for several years before blooming, depending on how quickly it matures. 

If your succulent starts to flower and you don’t want to lose it, the greatest thing you can do is propagate it with cuttings. Consider how one generation passes away and a new one emerges to take its place.

Understanding The Life Cycle of Succulents

  • Succulents are slow-growing plants because the harsh climatic conditions in which they usually reside lack sufficient water and nutrients to support a fast-growing plant. Most succulent species take several years to achieve maturity due to their sluggish growth.
  • Plant dormancy is quite similar to animal hibernation. Succulents go into a dormant mode during a particular season in order to survive harsh weather. Because of this, succulents don’t require as much water or sunlight when they’re dormant as they grow very slowly or just stop growing to save energy.
  • If your succulent is an indoor plant, the temperature may not vary enough for it to go dormant. Your plants are fine, but they aren’t following their natural patterns. If you don’t let your succulents go dormant, they won’t blossom.
  • During the growing season, succulents grow new leaves, send forth offsets, and blossom. At this time, succulents usually appreciate extra water, sunlight, and even fertiliser.
  • Some species do not live for longer periods of time and instead propagate to future generations. Monocarpic succulents, for example, are succulents that die shortly after flowering.
  • Many succulents can only flower under specific conditions, thus even if a plant dies after flowering, it can live for a long time. For example, after flowering, Agave Americana dies, but they can survive for 10 to 30 years until blossoming.
  • Your succulents will grow if you use the correct potting mix.
  • We can focus on assisting your succulent get there now that you know how long it can live. The idea is to mimic the conditions of your succulent’s native habitat as closely as possible.

Common Succulent Species’ Average Lifespan

  1. The longevity of Aloe varies greatly according to the species, however, most live between 5 and 20 years. Aloe plants, unlike Agave, are polycarpic, meaning they can bloom multiple times throughout their lives.
  2. An example of a succulent that lives on through its offspring, rather than a long lifespan is Sempervivum. Also known as Hen and Chicks, this plant propagates plentifully, but each plant typically lives for only three or four years.
  3. Most Crassula ovata, or Jade plants, can live for over 20 years in the wild, but with proper care, they can live for up to 100 years.
  4. With an average lifespan of 150 to 175 years, the Saguaro cactus is one of the longest-living succulents. They are, however, capable of living for more than 200 years in the right conditions. 
  5. The oldest known Saguaro, known as Old Granddaddy, was thought to be approximately 300 years old when it died in the 1990s.
  6. With the proper care and conditions, Echeveria can live anywhere from three to four years to over a decade, depending on the species. Echeverias can also bloom multiple times during their lifetimes.

Increasing the Lifespan of Your Succulent

Follow these tips to increase the lifespan of your succulents:

  • Watering: When the earth is fully dry, water your succulents. Give your succulent a good drink until the drainage hole is dry. This is known as the “soak and dry” method. Succulents can normally recover from being submerged, but overwatering is fatal.  Check to see if the dirt in your pots has dried before watering again. Maintain a regular watering routine and make sure that they are well-drained.
  • Sunlight: Allow lots of sunlight to reach your succulent. The majority of plants, however, cannot endure direct sunlight. The best light is usually indirect or strong, filtered light. Your plant may begin to stretch out, or etiolate if it doesn’t get enough sunshine.
  • Soil: Repot into fresh pots as needed, using good quality soil.
  • Drainage: The soil should have excellent drainage. There are a variety of succulent and cactus mixtures available that are ideal. Make your own mix by combining one part potting soil and one part perlite. The roots will begin to decay if the mix holds too much water.
  • Fertilizer: The type of fertiliser you use is determined by the type of succulents you have. Some succulents benefit from many doses each year, while others do not. Plants that require fertilisation prefer a balanced or low nitrogen fertiliser.
  • When moving your succulent to a new area, give it time to acclimatize.
  • Keep pests and diseases away from your plants at all costs. Mealybugs, aphids, and scale insects are examples of frequent succulent pests. 
  • Care: Succulents are generally disease-free, however, virtually all are susceptible to root rot. Ensure that the roots are well-cared for.

How Long Can Succulents Live Without Soil?

Without soil, succulents have a few days of survival time. To be clear, they cannot survive in the absence of soil. Succulents require soil as their primary source of nutrients, with the same requirements as the rest of the plants.

Can Succulents Grow Without Soil

  • Succulents can grow without soil, but not for a longer time. Succulents can survive for a few days without soil, but they can flourish for a week or two if properly cared for. 
  • Succulents require soil for crucial nutrients, and they cannot survive for long without it.
  • Succulents resemble epiphytes in appearance, but they have quite different development habits and requirements. 
  • Epiphytes are plants that grow on a plant’s surface and acquire their nutrients from the air, rain, and the environment. Orchids and air plants are two well-known epiphytes.
  • With the exception of tropical or holiday cacti, which are epiphytes by nature and have distinct growing habits and needs than desert cacti (Christmas Cactus is a prominent example). 
  • Succulents are commonly found in the wild in places where other plants would not be able to survive.
  • The majority are from arid regions, deserts, and semi-deserts. Others can be found in rainforests and mountainous areas. 
  • High temperatures and minimal precipitation, which are ordinarily too harsh for other plants to survive, have made these plants extremely resistant and adaptive.
  • Some succulents can also be found in natural settings such as sea beaches and arid lakes, where the excessive quantities of dissolved minerals can be harmful to other plant species. 
  • Succulents are naturally more tolerant to less-than-ideal conditions due to their harsh native habitats. This is why succulents can last for weeks in arrangements while other plants would only last a few days.
  • Succulent plants’ ability to hold water is another feature that makes them suitable candidates for these arrangements without soil. 
  • Succulents contain water-storing tissues that help them withstand drought. Water is usually stored in the leaves, stems, or roots of these plants.
  • They’ve evolved to exist in arid, dry environments. They don’t require much watering and don’t require moist soil to thrive.

Why Succulents Need Soil

  1. Even epiphytic tropical cactus require soil in their medium to survive. This is because, in contrast to their natural habitat, they have been acclimated to being grown in a soil mixture in agriculture.
  2. So, succulent arrangements in small terrariums with sand or gravel, or on driftwood or rocks can be grown with a little care. 
  3. Succulents, due to their hardiness, can last an unlimited amount of time in these arrangements, depending on how they are cared for and the environments they are exposed to.
  4. Succulents can live in these settings indefinitely, but they are not ideal conditions for them to thrive in.
  5. Succulents will eventually begin to root and seek out a more suitable medium in which to thrive.
  6. Succulents, peat moss, sand, or driftwood planted in small containers will gradually overrun their container. Some succulents do not stay small for long and will need to be potted in a larger container at some point.
  7. The plants can be withdrawn and re-potted in a more suitable succulent potting mix whenever they outgrow these arrangements. They will not thrive if kept in these conditions and may eventually perish.
  8. So, while these projects are lovely and enjoyable to do, think of them as temporary solutions that aren’t meant to stay a long time. 
  9. Accept the possibility that some of your plants will die or that you will lose some of your favorite plants. Starting a new project and witnessing the fruits of your labour is the most enjoyable aspect.

Two Things to Consider when using Terrariums without Soil

When growing succulents in small terrariums, the first two things to consider are providing enough light and sufficient water for them.

How to prolong the life of succulents without soil?

Here are some tips to make your succulents last longer without using soil.

Add nutrients or fertilizer

You can fertilise the plants to supplement the nutrients they’re getting from the soil or potting mix. This can be accomplished by diluting fertiliser to 1/4 or 1/2 strength in the water that will be used to water or mist the plants. 

You’re giving the plants the nutrients they need to flourish this way.

Succulents require something to adhere to in the absence of soil. You may either hot glue the succulents to the driftwood or use wires to adhere them. However, having something on which your succulents may cling and develop, as well as something to keep the moisture in for the plants, can help them live longer in these arrangements.

Suggested Materials to Use:

    • Coir or coco fiber
    • Sphagnum moss
    • coco fiber coir
    • moss

Attach the moss or coir to the driftwood with a glue gun. Plants should be attached to the moss or coir. The coir and moss will help hold the plants in place as they begin to root after a few weeks. 

The plants will have something to grow into, as well as something to grip onto with their roots.

Mist the plants lightly every few days or so to keep them from drying out. Sphagnum moss retains more moisture and may not require as much misting.

You might also think about putting nutrients in the water to help the plants grow. In the water, add 1/4 to 1/2 strength fertiliser. This can be done once a month or whenever you mist the plants.

Using moss or coir in these types of arrangements will help your plants live longer before they need to be transplanted and repotted. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the results of your labour for a longer period of time.

Final Thoughts

Succulents can have variable lifespans depending upon the species you are growing. 

Procreate so that your plant can be passed on through the generations.

Keep in mind that you are in charge of your plant’s survival. So study your plants, keep track of their progress, and take notes! You are the only one who can enhance the life of your succulents.


Nikita is a Succulent lover. She really enjoys planting and nourishing them. She loves to share information about various Succulents on this blog to aware people more about these awesome plants.

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