Most succulents love sunshine, but not all of them can withstand high temperatures with direct sunlight. These 9 succulents have proven they can survive full sun all day in the the brutal temperatures of the American Southwest.
We opted for mostly non-pokey succulents in this list, but you'll see a couple cactus as well.
While the succulents listed here can tolerate extreme heat and sunlight, make sure you plant in the cooler months of the year and allow them time to get well established before the extremes set in. Also, unless mentioned otherwise, these succulents are rated for Zone 9 -- meaning they won't surive in a four season climate.
If not properly acclimated to the heat and sun, these plants can get a "sunburn" which damages the plant and they likely won't make it through the summer.
Also known as Elephant Bush, this succulent will hold up under temperatures well over 100°F in full sun. It adds a beautifully lush look to the desert landscape. While you'll often see it in mounds or looking like a very tall ground cover, it can grow to be 12ft tall. Often the branches bend over due to their own weight giving it more of a mound-like look. Over time the branches will thicken giving the plant more structure and support.
Portulacaria Afra is often confused with Jade or other Crassulas, but it's in a class of it's own and much more durable in the heat and sunshine. You'll find it's very easy to propagate and you can easily grow a new bush by cutting off one of it's branches.
Aloiampelos ciliaris stands out from other Aloes and succulents due to it's ability to grow in a vine-like manner. It can be used as a hanging plant with each branch flowing flowing over the edge of a pot or planter. You can easily propagate this succulent by cutting off part of the plant, letting it dry out, and then putting the cut end into soil. It also naturally produces new branches or offsets on its own.
While this succulent can tolerate extreme heat and sunlight, it will also thrive in shadier areas as well. If grown indoors make sure to water it infrequently to slow it's growth and prevent stretching.
Another name for Lampranthus glaucus is Ice Plant, which is a bit ironic considering it can handle extreme heat and sunlight. Of all the succulents on the list, this one is most susceptible to sunburn, so make sure you fully acclimate this plant to the area in the fall, giving it plenty of time to root and grow before the hot weather sets in. You can easily find this succulent with a variety of flower colors including the stunning orange you see here, yellow, pinks and purples.
It is a groundcover succulent and spreads easily on it's own, with long trailing branches. It's also very easy to propagate from cuttings.
Sticks on Fire
This succulent looks like a flame, but Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire' is a great succulent for hot sunny climates. While often seen in small bushes or clumps, this plant can get quite large and provides a colorful backdrop behind shorter plants. It holds up well with lots of sunshine in the summer and tends to show off it's deepest reds when temperatures are just above freezing.
Be careful with where you plant (and how you handle it) it as it has a sap inside that can be toxic -- causing extreme irritation on skin.
Similar to Agave truncata, this spikey plant has lots of color and texture all combined into one plant. It has a really distinct color pattern with deep brown spikes along cream colored stipes and minty green leaves. While many variegated plants have a hard time in extreme heat, this variety can handle lots of sunshine even when temperatures get over 100°F.
Dinosaur Back Cactus
This unique Dinosaur Back Cactus has intricate swirls and folds along the edge of its wavy arms. It has a lot less spines than most other cactus varieties, but can still leave some spines in your fingers. The rest of the plant has a pale smooth finish that can change from green to blue to purple depending on the time of year and amount of sunlight it gets.
You can't think of hot climates without thinking of Opuntia. This variety has long black spines and can turn a stunning purple in colder temperatures or with lots of sunlight. You'll also see beautiful rose-like flowers each spring. The delicate petals provide a sharp contrast to the long black spines.
This cactus is great for using in landscapes that won't get a lot of foot traffic as they can get quite large and grow very easily with minimal watering.
These smooth green agave leaves hold up incredibly well under the hot Arizona sun. Foxtail Agave is a popular plant in the Southwestern United States since it doesn't look like your typical desert plant. It does have sharp point on the end but otherwise has much less of a bite than other heat loving succulents.
This Agave also produces a lot of new pups each year so it's the plant that keeps on giving.
Mangave are a relatively new succulent to the market but they are quickly becoming popular. 'Bloodspot' along with other varieties have stunning colors and patterns that make a great addition to any full sun garden. The deep purples are sure to catch your eye and add visual interest all year round. Some Mangave varieties can grow quite large and are well suited for growing in the ground. Others stay small which allows them to grow well in potted arrangements.
Save Your Succulents With This Critical Watering Techinque And Look Like A Pro
A big part of keeping succulents healthy is providing them with the right environment. You'll want to pay attention to the soil they're in, how much sunlight they're getting, and most importantly, how often you're watering them. The method and frequency of watering succulents are critical to preventing rot while encouraging lots of new growth.
More Amazing Succulent Varieties
While not all succulent plants are fans of extreme heat and sunlight, you're sure to find some that will grow well in your climate. Choosing succulents that are suited to your care style and growing environment will help you be more successful keeping your succulents alive.
Get more succulents for free with this simple propagation technique
One of the best things about growing succulents is how easily they propagate (grow new baby plants). Propagating succulents from leaves is extremely fun and a rewarding way to get more plants without having to buy new ones. Learning this simple technique can be quite addicting but may help keep your plant budget on track.
This article originally appeared on Succulents and Sunshine.