Most succulents are not known for being incredibly large or flashy. That part of what people like about them. But just like everything else in life, there is a ton of variation in how big succulents get.
From the smallest lithops to the largest saguaro, there’s a succulent of every size for everybody. Most people consider the Adansonia digitata, or African Baobab, to be the largest succulent in the world.
It does indeed act like a succulent by storing over 30,000 gallons of water in its trunk for later use. And it does grow up to 46 feet in diameter. With so much water in the trunk and such a large size, it would easily win. For the purposes of this article however, we will not consider the African baobab to be a succulent because it is also considered a tree.
How Big do Succulents Get
Succulents are a large group of plants and there is a ton of variation between them. When you look at the sizes of them, be aware that each species will have its limitations on size. For example, you’re never going to get a lithops plant to grow as large as a saguaro.
How Big do Succulents get Indoors
Indoors, succulents will not get as large. This is because they are typically planted in smaller pots but also because they will not get as much sun indoors. Of course, if you have a large greenhouse where these factors are different, your plants will get larger.
How Big do Succulents get Outdoors
Of course, succulents grown outdoors will be larger. Especially if they are planted in the ground rather than in pots. In the right growing zone, typically above a zone 10, succulents can reach large sizes outdoors.
If you do live in a colder zone, you will need to grow your outdoor succulents in pots so that they can be brought indoors during winter to prevent freezing. This will limit their growth somewhat for even the largest succulents.
Succulents planted in the ground outdoors will always grow larger than those indoors
Do Succulents grow Bigger in Bigger Pots
Succulents will grow larger if their pot is larger. However, this does not mean that you should plant a small succulent in a large pot. That’s a recipe for root rot and plant death. Instad, you need to size up the pot as the succulent grows. Typically, this means that every two to three years, you should repot your succulent in a slightly larger pot to give it more room to grow.
Major Factors that Affect How Big Succulents Get
There are a few factors that affect how big succulents get. But remember that a succulent species designed to be small will never grow large no matter how many factors you put in its favor. And growing large succulents requires decades so prepare to be patient.
One of the more important factors to growing large succulents is the size of pot. A plant with more room to grow will grow larger. Make sure that your pot is a porous material and that it isn’t too large for the size the plant is when you first put it in there.
To grow the largest succulents, you need to plant them in the ground. Think of it as growing them in a very large pot. You still need to make sure though that they can tolerate the environment, from watering to soil.
Succulents do not, in general, require a lot of water. If you overwater succulents it can actually hamper their growth because it can damage cell walls and put the plant into repair mode rather than growth mode.
You should still make sure that you water succulents enough in their growing season. For most succulents, they grow most in the summer. To make sure you are watering them enough, poke your finger into the soil.
If it is bone dry up to the first knuckle, it’s time to water. Do not wait until your soil is pulling away from the pot or leaves are shriveled if possible.
Succulent soil needs to be well-drained in order to prevent overwatering and damaging the plant. Large succulents typically prefer sandy or rocky soil that their roots can really dig into and support their growth. Smaller succulents can tolerate perlite or pumice to help loosen their soils but these materials are too light to support the largest of succulents.
Succulents like it hot! The warmer the better for these plants. If they get too cold, it will make them go dormant (typically) and they will slow down their growth. Keep your succulents in a warm room in your home or a warm spot in the yard to grow the biggest succulents.
While succulents do prefer warmer temperatures, they do not usually appreciate direct sun. It may seem counterintuitive to try and find a place that is warm but not in the direct sun. If you have the perfect spot to grow your succulent but it’s just too sunny, consider putting up a sheer curtain or a small piece of shade cloth to protect it from the direct sunlight and prevent sunburn.
A List of the Biggest Succulents
The saguaro cactus is certainly the tallest succulent in general. Varieties can grow up to 60 feet tall. This height makes the saguaro cactus an excellent contender for the biggest succulent.
You will find saguaro cacti in the Sonoran desert of the American Southwest and Mexico. These plants grow within a narrow range of altitudes and moisture levels. As an important keystone species in their environment, the saguaro is a species with heavy restrictions on their collection or harvesting.
The ocotillo is an incredibly wide succulent. The ocotillo grows roughly 15 feet wide on average. As a whole, the plant is made of several long limbs that combine to form a large plant. Similar to the saguaro, the ocotillo comes from the Sonoran desert originally.
The heaviest succulent is also the Saguaro cactus because it is the tallest. These Sonoran giants can weigh almost 5000 pounds when they are fully hydrated. Of course, they do weigh less when they have been going through a drought. But they can still weigh over a ton even if they are dehydrated.
A fully hydrated Saguaro cactus can weigh roughly 5000 pounds!
Aloe vera, if cared for properly, can be one of the fastest growing of all succulents. Given a sunny location and watered correctly, it can grow up to six inches a year. Compared to most succulents that can be the same size for decades, that is lightyears faster.
How Long Does it Take Succulents to Grow to Full Size
Succulents can take decades or even centuries to grow to their full size. Since most succulents are adapted to grow in the poorest of environments and conditions, they are designed to grow very slowly in order to conserve energy.
How Long do Succulents Live
The longest living succulents are the saguaro and the agave. Both are titans of the succulent world and both can live for multiple centuries under optimal conditions. They are both incredibly slow growing desert species that take decades to even come close to their full size.
How to Make Succulents Grow Bigger
Succulents can be “forced” to grow larger faster by caring for them properly. As long as they are provided with the right amount of water and fertilizer, but not overdone on both, a succulent will grow as fast and as large as that species is able to.
How Can I Repair an Overgrown Succulent
If your succulent is overgrown, you can easily fix it. If the succulent has overgrown its pot, and you want it to grow larger, repot it into a slightly larger container. If the succulent is overgrown and stretched out, you can propagate it.
Take the top off by cutting the main stem and propagating using a cutting propagation technique. When you do this, make sure to put the newly propagated plant in a sunnier spot to prevent the same problem from occurring again.
How Can You Keep Succulents from Getting Big
If you are trying to keep your succulents small instead of growing them big, you could start by choosing a smaller succulent species to begin with. You can also accomplish this by keeping your succulent in a smaller container or not fertilizing it as much. Both of these techniques will help to keep your succulent small.
A List of the Smallest Succulents
- Zebra Haworthia
- Gasteria Little Warty
- Blossfeldia Lilputana
- Sempervivum Little Bobo
The largest succulent, overall, is the Saguaro cactus. However, there are several large species of succulent and all of them require optimal growth conditions in order to reach their full height. Make sure they are in the right container as well as watered and fertilized properly in order for succulents to reach their full size.