How To Know Which Succulents To Get And The Best Place To Buy Them

Many people will simply pick up the first plant they see at a store and not think twice about it. But if you want to get the most value for your money, and help prevent untimely plant deaths, there are a few simple steps to take. Succulents are all so beautiful and unique so it can be hard to pick just the right one.

Then again, you might know exactly what you want already. Before you take your shopping trip, whether locally or online, this post will help you determine the perfect succulents for you and make sure you get a good deal.

What’s your succulent style?

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You might be the kind to give your plants too much attention, or you might totally neglect them. Maybe you’re like me and are non-committal: sometimes giving lots of love and other times utterly neglecting your plants.  

Depending on how you care for succulents, and where you live, you'll want to select different plants. For example, Haworthia fasciata is a great option for indoor growers. But, Echeveria varieties prefer to be outside with lots of sunlight.

If you tend to water your plants a lot, Portulacaria afra is a great option. If you rarely remember to water, try a cactus or succulent with very thick leaves.

Questions to Ask Yourself

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A great way to determine whether certain succulent plants will grow well for you is to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Am I growing indoors or out? This will determine the lighting and temperature requirements for your succulents
  • Is there a lot of light where I'll be placing my succulent? Can I supplement with a grow light inside? Again this will help you determine the lighting requirements for your succulents
  • Do I like to water frequently or do I tend to forget to water? An app, such as the Succulent Tracker, can help you remember when to water, but otherwise you'll need to pick a plant that can tolerate however much water you do or don't give it

Each of these questions can help you determine what succulents will be the best fit for you. Some succulents need more light or water than others. If you pick a high-light succulent but place it on your desk at work, it won't do well for very long.

What size should you get?

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Succulents come in a wide variety of sizes and with that variation you’ll also get a variety of prices and you’ll find some sizes are easier to care for.

Larger plants are less fickle. They don’t dry out as quickly, so they don’t need as frequent watering. The larger the pot, the easier (generally) it will be to maintain your plant. A succulent in a gallon sized pot will be lower maintenance than a 6 inch pot, which will be lower maintenance than a 4 inch pot, and so on.

A succulent in a larger pot will cost more, but if it means you’re less likely to kill it… seems worth it to me!

Less Expensive Options

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Two alternatives to potted succulents are cuttings (succulents without roots) and plugs (like cuttings but with roots and a little soil).

Cuttings are easier to work with since you don’t have to worry about roots, and they’re much cheaper! They’re generally a little more needy than a fully rooted plant, but not too bad overall.

Plugs are somewhere in between cuttings and a 2” potted succulent. They start growing more quickly than cuttings, but can still be a bit temperamental.

Now that you’ve found the right plant for you and know what size to get, you may be thinking, “That’s great! I know what to get, but where do I actually buy them?”

You can buy locally at various stores or nurseries, as well as online. There’s benefits to both.

Buying Succulents Locally

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You can buy them at a variety of stores depending on where you live. A few places I’ve been able to find succulents locally are:

  • Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • Walmart
  • Ikea
  • Local nurseries
  • Farmers Markets

I prefer local nurseries or even farmers markets if you have them. They tend to be higher quality and less likely to be over watered.  Since succulents are really popular, I’ve found more local nurseries are carrying them.

If you aren’t sure if a local nursery carries succulents, give them a call.  You can search for your city or area and “succulents” on Google to find the nurseries closest to you.

Some advantages to buying locally are being able to choose the specific plant, as well as quality and quantity.  Of course, there are also some downsides. Not all areas have stores that sell succulents. There are typically fewer unusual varieties. Local shops don’t specialize in succulents, so plants can be less healthy.

Choose the Healthiest Plant

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This one may seem obvious but… when you buy at a local store avoid damaged plants – this means no bumps, no scars, no bugs, and no mushy spots. You can slightly bump the leaves to make sure they don’t fall off. Be sure to do this very gently, but this is one of the early signs to tell if a succulent has been overwatered. The leaves should feel firm, not mushy or squishy.

Another thing to look for is color. Brighter colors equal a healthier, better maintained plant. Usually this is just a matter of them getting enough light.

Best Value Selections

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Watch for multiple plants in the pot.  It’s like getting plants for free!  Sometimes I’ll pick out a plant that doesn’t look quite as good because it has multiple plants in it. I know I can help it look better and get more plants out of it.

Not all succulents will come with more than one succulent in the pot; it really depends on the variety. If you only see one plant in the pot, lift up the leaves a little and see if there’s any new growth hiding.  I’m always surprised how many have babies growing!

Also, don’t buy anything that has been painted! It’s crazy to me that these exist, but if you do see succulents that are glittering or are royal blue, it’s likely they’ve been spray painted. Buying these is just not a good idea. They may look fun, but in the long run, you will have more success with a healthier plant that has not been painted.

Buying Online

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As you likely guessed, the pros and cons to buying succulents online are essentially the opposite of buying locally.

One great thing about buying online is the access to a wider variety of succulents.  There are also better specimens, because sellers are experts.  You also get the plants delivered to your door – you don’t have to go out to go shopping!

The downsides to online ordering are that you can’t pick your specimen, plants can be damaged in shipping, and are also more expensive.

Now, this isn’t really a downside, but almost always plants purchased online may be a little dirty when they arrive.  Simply use a soft brush to remove the soil.  I also use an air compressor, so if you have one that’s a great option! Do not use canned air though! It will damage the succulent’s leaves.

Where to buy online

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Good news for you… I’m an expert at buying succulents online! I’ve ordered from dozens of online shops so I know a thing or two. Here are my favorite places to purchase succulents online:

  • Mountain Crest Gardens (my personal, go-to source)
  • Leaf and Clay
  • The Succulent Source
  • Etsy shops

When purchasing from online sellers for the first time, look for high-quality reviews. This way you will know that you’re getting the best succulents you can from a reputable seller. I’ve personally purchased succulents from all the shops above, so they get my full approval!


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Once you’ve purchased your succulents, it’s a good idea to replant them as soon as possible.  A lot of times the soil succulents are planted in is not ideal for long-term growth. Plus, they are often root-bound, meaning the roots aren’t able to spread out, so they need more space to grow.

I use Bonsai Jack for my indoor succulent soil, and have never been disappointed. It drains well and has the perfect particle size. Soil is really important for healthy succulents.

Yes, Your Succulent Is Probably Dying, But Here's What To Do About It

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There are a number of reasons your succulent might not be looking great. Find out how to tell what's wrong with your succulent and how you can fix it or prevent it from happening again.

Are you overlooking this critical part of succulent care?

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Many people who struggle to grow succulents think they have a watering problem. As it turns out, most of them have a soil problem. Using the proper succulent soil will make caring for these unique plants so much easier. Find out what type of soil is best for succulents and where to find it.

Don't miss these important tips for planting succulents

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Photo Credit: Adobe Stock / Anatoly Repin.

After you purchase a new succulent, it's important that you replant it to ensure it stays live in your home. Taking a few minutes to learn how to plant succulents will start your succulent-growing journey off on the right foot. You'll want to make sure you have the right supplies, including soil and pottery, to give your succulent (and yourself) the best chance at success.

What Succulent is Best for You?

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Photo Credit: Adobe Stock / Millaf.

There are thousands of succulent varieties and not all of them will grow well in your climate or may require more (or less) work that you want to put in. It's important to know how much light and water your succulent plants need to thrive so you can select the plant that's best suited for you.

This article originally appeared on Succulents and Sunshine.