What Do Succulents Symbolize?

With thousands of species and cultivars, succulents are a rich source of imagery and symbolism. If you like to seek deep meaning in things, you’ve probably wondered: what do succulents symbolize?

Typically, we associate the hardiness, colors, shapes, and patterns of succulents with a wide range of meanings. Because many thrive in hostile conditions, succulents convey strength and resilience. Some particular species also signify luck and prosperity, happiness, love, and youth.

In this article, we’ll explore the different meanings attached to succulents. Read on to learn how to better express your wishes and emotions before giving succulents to your loved ones.

Succulents top view

1.  Strength and Resilience

Succulents are plants that stand the test of time and endure inhospitable environments. Their fleshy tissues can store water to prepare for long periods of drought, which makes them look puffy.

They have shallow and sprawling roots for collecting water in sandy soils or rocky beds. Plus, they have thick, waxy, or fuzzy cuticles to counter heat and prevent water loss.

Cacti have unique adaptations like spines and areoles. These features trap moisture and fend off predators in the wild, making them a symbol of strength and resilience.

If you know someone who’s going through a hard time, why not give them a miniature garden of succulents as a gift?

An arrangement of tiny succulents in a glass terrarium globe will surely bring a smile to their face. You can even add mini figurines to turn your succulent arrangement into a fairy garden.

Also Check: Succulent Arrangements: What Succulents Can Be Planted Together?

2.  Luck and Prosperity

According to the principles of Chinese feng shui, houseplants activate the energy of the wood element in homes and offices. These succulent plants are believed to bring good luck and prosperity.

Aloe Vera (Aloe vera)

Aloe vera is an evergreen perennial that grows in different habitats around the world. It’s both a medicinal and an ornamental plant, known for its vibrant green leaves that give off a calming effect.

Aloe vera has been used to treat skin problems and speed up wound healing. The gelatinous extract is a popular ingredient in many skin care products. Not just that, but the plant rids the air of pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde.

In feng shui, aloe vera brings good luck because it resonates with healing and cleansing.

Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

The Jade plant gets the stamp of approval from feng shui practitioners. It also goes by other rewarding names, like money tree and dollar plant.

The slow-growing foliage has the same tinge as a jade gemstone. Because of its woody stem, it looks more like a mini tree as it matures. As a good luck charm, this succulent is thought to encourage financial vigor and stability.

Place a pot of healthy Jade plant in the center of your home, by the front door, or near the cash register.

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

The snake plant is cheekily referred to as ‘mother-in-law’s tongue.’ This succulent has sword-like leaves with yellow margins. It can thrive on neglect as long as you plant it in well-draining potting soil.

The upward growth of the blades makes it look like it’s reaching for the sky. The tall, slender leaves radiate protective energy. Additionally, the yellow edges are a symbol of money.

Scientifically, the snake plant purifies the air by removing toxins and allergens drifting around. For a steady supply of fresh oxygen, keep several pots around the house, then flank the entryway with a pair of snake plants to guard against bad chi.

Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

The ponytail palm is a succulent plant masquerading as a palm tree. A tangle of long, curly leaves emerges from the top of a bulbous trunk. This forgiving plant does well in both direct sunlight and low light.

This low-maintenance succulent represents balance, as it can thrive indoors and outdoors. Because it looks like a palm tree, feng shui experts believe it brings hope and good fortune to the whole family.

Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides)

The round foliage earns the Chinese money plant a slew of other nicknames, inspired by coins, pancakes, and UFOs. It’s also called ‘the friendship plant’ because it produces plenty of offshoots you can cut and transfer to new pots.

The Chinese money plant grows best in bright light conditions. Experts recommend rotating the plant regularly out of the sun’s direct rays to keep it looking healthy and symmetrical.

The cluster of coin-shaped leaves in vibrant green is a strong symbol of wealth and abundance.

3.  Happiness

The holiday season is inarguably the happiest time of the year. In the world of succulent plants, there are no species that spell cheer and festivity better than the holiday cacti.

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

Christmas Cactus

Unlike its desert-dwelling relatives, the Christmas cactus is native to tropical forests. It’s a gorgeous plant when in full bloom, with clumps of red, pink, purple, yellow, and white flowers.

The draping stem is a series of flat-shaped and scalloped segments called phylloclades. The flower at the end of the stem has neon pink to purplish brown stamens.

The plant grows best in a pot with a mixture of 60% potting soil and 40% perlite or orchid bark.

Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)

The Thanksgiving cactus is another tropical plant prized for its prolific flowers. It looks very similar to a Christmas cactus, except for its phylloclades that look like crab claws. The stems are toothed and serrated and bloom beautiful tubular flowers.

The plant blooms around Thanksgiving, filling your home with bright, vivid colors just as temperatures start to dip. It doesn’t like getting its feet wet, so drain the soil well between waterings.

Easter Cactus (Rhipsalideae gaertneri)

The Easter cactus produces star-shaped flowers around spring. The segmented branch is more rounded compared to the other holiday cacti.

This dwarf tropical shrub thrives in loose and chunky soil near sunny windows.

Related: How to Trim Tall Succulents? The 7 Steps To Prune Your Plants

4.  Love

Roses are the queen of all flowers and the universal symbol of love. People love to give them as an expression of admiration and romantic feelings. If you find roses too finicky for your gardening skills, rose succulents are worth a try. Their rosette pattern mimics the real thing! 

Here are some succulents that resemble rosebuds:

  • Pink mountain rose (Greenovia dodrantalis)
  • Black rose (Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’)
  • Rose cabbage succulent (Echeveria imbricata)

Another succulent that symbolizes love and devotion is the sweetheart plant (Hoyaa kerrii), thanks to its perfectly heart-shaped leaves. It’s one of the best-ever Valentine’s gifts to give to your special someone.

5.  Youth

Dolphin succulent

Many succulents represent the childishness of youth because of their adorable shapes. To up their cuteness level, you can plant these unique-looking plants in quirky pots before giving them away as gifts.

Here are some examples of succulents disguised as other items:

  • The spiral grass plant (Albuca spiralis), also known as corkscrew Albuca and frizzle sizzle plant, has foliage that looks like coils and springs.
  • The bunny ears succulent (Monilaria moniliformis) has leaves that look like bunny heads with fuzzy ears. 
  • The dolphin succulent (Senecio peregrinus) resembles leaping dolphins.
  • The Kalanchoe looks like giant potato chips in iridescent sunset colors.
  • Stone plants (Lithops) look like tiny dissected brains in corals and pastel colors.
  • The bear claw succulent (Cotyledon tomentosa) has plump rounded leaves with claw-like points along the edges.
  • The mermaid tail succulent (Senecio vitalis) resembles the tail of a whale or a mermaid.
  • Trachyandra tortilis has curly, ribbon-like leaves. The plant looks like it belongs to Who-ville, the fictional town created by Dr. Seuss.

Wrapping Up

Succulents make for thoughtful gifts because of the symbolism attached to them. So, what do succulents symbolize? Lots of things!

So, make sure you read our guide so you’ll know exactly which type of succulent to choose for each occasion.