In plant terms, a succulent is a plant with thick leaves, stems, or roots which store water. Examples of these are Crassula, Aloe Vera, and most types of cacti. Nearly all cacti are succulents; however not all succulents are a cactus. These plants generally grow in hot dry areas, where they use their thick, juicy leaves to store water between sparse rains. These plants come from deserts all over the world; most of the cool ones come from southern Africa. They take many forms, from rosettes to cacti to 'living stones' (lithops) and other oddities. There is even a succulent called 'baby toes'. Succulents often make good houseplants.. in areas with cold winters they usually can't survive outside. Also, if you live in a very rainy area they will probably rot if left outside. They are really nice in the landscape if you live in an area which can support them... you will see lots of them in Southern California or Arizona In growing succulents, the one thing to remember is NOT to overwater them! They will quickly rot if kept wet too long. Always let the soil dry before watering these plants. If you want, you can wait untill the leaves start shrinking and shriveling.. this just means the plant is using its water storage. Its always better to underwater a plant than to overwater it.

Suc"cu*lent (?), a. [L. succulentus, suculentus, fr. succus, sucus, juice; perhaps akin to E. suck: cf. F. succulent.]

Full of juice; juicy.

Succulent plants Bot., plants which have soft and juicy leaves or stems, as the houseleek, the live forever, and the species of Mesembryanthemum.

 

© Webster 1913.

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