How Big Do Succulents Get?

Succulents are often grown indoors as ornamental plants because of their unique appearance and their ability to grow with minimal care. However, even the smallest succulents grow out of their containers if given enough time. This begs the question: how big do succulents get?

The answer to this question entirely depends on the succulent species and type. Some succulents grow between six to seven inches, while others grow over two feet. Other varieties, like the Jade Plant or Elephant Bush, can reach over eight feet.

In this article, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about succulent growth, including the factors that affect its size. Let’s dive right in!

Factors That Affect the Growth and Size of Succulents

Here are some of the biggest factors that affect a succulent’s growth and size:

Light

Most succulents thrive under full sunlight. The more sunlight they receive, the bigger they’ll likely grow.

Succulents need at least four hours of sunlight a day to stay healthy. Succulents can survive in minimal light for up to 14 days, but this usually results in distorted growth, loss of color and/or markings, and dull, faded leaves.

Shade-tolerant succulents, like Snake Plants, Lance Aloe, and certain Echeverias, may live longer, but will eventually succumb to the inevitable.

Pot Size

Planting succulents

Succulents planted in smaller pots often stop growing because of the lack of space. They’ll fill out the pot as best as they can, but no more than what the pot allows.

Ideally, the pot should be 10% wider than the succulent itself. If the succulent fills out the space (which typically takes 18 to 24 months), it’s time to repot the plant so as to not hinder its growth.

Soil

Needless to say, succulents grow bigger when planted in soil with proper nutrients. Most succulents prefer well-draining soil because they’re prone to root rot if left in wet soil.

To support the growth of succulents, you need the right ratio of organic to mineral material. Depending on the environmental condition and succulent variety, the mineral content can range anywhere between 40% to 80% by volume.

Good mineral options for succulents include fine gravel, coarse sand, volcanic rock, and chicken grit. Avoid minerals that store water, like non-calcined clays and vermiculite, as they may contribute to root rot.

As for organic matter, I recommend compost, coconut coir, pine bark, or potting soil. Choose the organic matter that best fits your plant type.

Read more: The Wonders of Red Succulents: From Types to Growing to Caring Tips

Watering Frequency

Succulents that are given the right amount of water tend to grow faster and bigger than succulents that are overwatered or left in drought conditions for extended periods.

It’s a well-known fact that succulents don’t need much water. In fact, it’s one of their biggest selling points.

How often they require entirely depends on the environment’s temperature, the room’s humidity levels, and where they’re located in the home (shaded patio, office table, a sunny windowsill, etc.).

A good rule of thumb is to water once every week or two when the topsoil is dry to the touch. If the plant appears moist even after several weeks without water, you may need to wait another week before feeding it water. In the winter, succulents only need to be watered once a month.

Fertilizer

Soil with Fertilizer

Most succulents don’t need fertilizers because their soil contains more than enough nutrients for optimal growth. However, certain indoor varieties require fertilizer if they’re not given enough water during drought periods to boost their growth.

Thanks to their adaptive nature, succulents can utilize most types of commercial fertilizer. Nevertheless, you should get one that has a higher ratio of phosphorus to nitrogen because most soils contain enough nitrogen already.

If using liquid fertilizer, apply it to the soil around the plant instead of the plant directly. Use about half the dose recommended on the package.

For solid fertilizers, mix them into the top layer of the soil without disturbing the plant. Use as much as the package directions recommend.

Bloom

Some succulent species, like Graptoveria and Echeveria, bloom during their growth period (spring and summer). While it’s true that the flowers add to their overall beauty, it’s better to trim them off in the long run so the succulents can focus their energy on their own growth.

Temperature

As with most plants, the temperature can affect your succulents’ growth. Most succulents tolerate the cold, but freezing temperatures should be avoided at all costs. To encourage growth, succulents should be taken indoors during the winter.

Succulents prefer temperatures between 40°F to 80°F. Minor sways of temperature in and out of this range are tolerable, but sudden sways of more than 5°F can cause irreversible damage and stunted growth.

Also Check: Are Cacti Succulents?

How Big Can Succulents Get?

Succulents are slow-growing plants, so it’ll take some time to see changes in their size. Here are some of the most common succulent types and how big they can get in optimal conditions:

  • Aloe Vera: up to three feet tall and two feet wide
  • Jade Plant: up to nine feet tall and five feet wide
  • Aeonium Arboreum: up to five feet tall and three feet wide
  • Echeveria: up to a foot tall and a foot wide
  • Snake plant: up to 8 feet tall indoors and 12 feet tall outdoors
  • African Milk Tree: up to eight feet tall and four feet wide
  • Queen of the Night: up to 20 feet tall
  • Agave Americana: up to six feet tall
  • Haworthia (Zebra Plant): three to five inches tall
  • Jelly Bean Plant: up to an inch tall
  • Burro’s Tail: up to four feet long
  • Panda Plant: up to two feet tall

How Fast Do Succulents Grow?

Close-up Of Assorted Succulents On A Pot

As you already know, succulents are slow-growing plants. But how slow is slow, exactly?

The answer to this question depends on multiple factors, such as temperature, moisture, soil, and others. In optimal conditions, you’ll see a noticeable growth after a single growing season, which happens every year or so.

Ground cover varieties like Creeping Sedum, Blue Chalksticks, and Royal Dewflower can spread up to an inch a month during the growing season.

Echeveria varieties, like Black Prince and Deranosa, are some of the fastest-growing succulents out there, but still not as impressive as non-succulent plants. Depending on the variety, an Echeveria plant can grow up to five to 10 inches a year.

On the topic of growth rates, some succulents, most famously Gasteria and Haworthia, only grow an inch or two in a year. They grow so slowly that you’d barely notice the change, if there’s any at all. For this reason, they’re often used as ornamental plants for indoor decoration.

But even that doesn’t compare to one of the slowest-growing succulents there is, the Saguaro Cactus.

Saguaro Cactuses are among the largest cactuses in the world, reaching average heights of up to 40 feet tall, with the tallest measuring over 78 feet in the air.

However, these cactuses don’t grow this tall in just several years. In fact, it can take them up to 10 whole years to grow a single inch. Plus, they bloom once they reach maturity at 70 years, which at that point they’d be around seven feet tall.

One of the oldest cactuses lived for 300 years and stood as tall as 40 feet.

Wrap Up

Depending on the species, indoor succulents can grow anywhere between six inches to over two feet. Outdoor succulents can easily reach over five feet if given enough sunlight and moisture.

Factors that affect succulents’ growth include light, pot size, temperature, soil, and the frequency in which they’re watered.