The eye-catching color combination is the first thing that attracts attention to these colorful succulents. They have a beautiful texture, rich in contrast, making any garden or living space come alive!
If you’re thinking about adding some bright and colorful greenery to your home and garden then stunning succulents might be just a piece of it. Not only do these vibrant houseplants look attractive, but they also make useful additions to any room.
Popular Varieties of Colorful Succulents And Cacti
Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii)
Contrary to popular belief, a colorful cactus is not an oxymoron. And the Moon Cactus is a prime example. This cactus is actually two plants in one. The bottom plant is a green or purple cactus that provides water and nutrients to the top plant, which is a brightly-colored grafted cactus. The most common colors for the top plant are yellow, orange, or red.
The rootstock is usually from the genus Hylocereus, and the scion is from Gymnocalycium mihanovichii.
This cactus does best in bright light but can tolerate some shade. Water this plant once a week, allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering. The Moon cactus is not frost-tolerant and should be brought indoors if temperatures are expected to dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Light: Full sun to part shade
- Watering: Deeply (when dry)
Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg
This Echeveria is a hybrid created by crossing two other echeverias – Echeveria elegans and Echeveria gibbiflora. The result is a plant with the best features of both parents. Like the E. elegans, it has a rosette shape and blue-green leaves. And just like the E. gibbiflora, it has a ruffled edge and pinkish-white flowers.
Echeveria Perle von Nurnberg is typically grey, and it stays that way forever unless given a face full of sun. Under sunlight, this dull grey coloration changes to a striking purple. This drastic change is the reason why this particular variety of Echeveria is so highly sought after as a colorful succulent plant. Luckily for amateur gardeners, finding one is not difficult at all, as these plants are relatively commonplace. You’ll find one at a local garden center without issue.
- Light: Full sun to partial shade
- Watering: Moderate (when dry)
Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana)
This Kalanchoe is native to Madagascar but has been cultivated all over the world for its gorgeous flowers. The flowers exhibit a clustering habit and come in a wide range of colors, including red, orange, pink, yellow, and white. The Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a relatively small colorful succulent, growing to about 12-15 inches in height.
Flaming Katy, or Florist Kalanchoe, is a treat to cultivate. Its flowers are bright, vibrant, and, most importantly, ready to bloom at the drop of a hat. You won’t find getting these flowers to appear come flowering season. Try your best to stick to the right care routine, and you’re golden.
And this plant tolerates a wide range of conditions. It prefers bright light, preferably direct sun. Water it every week, allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering.
- Light: Bright light
- Watering: Once a week (when dry)
Orchid Cactus (Disocactus ackermannii)
Endemic to Mexico, the Orchid Cactus leaves an impression due to its strong resemblance to real orchids. It is a cactus that behaves so much like an orchid; it’s uncanny. It gets its common name from its beautiful flowers, which resemble those of an orchid. The flowers are a bright, eye-scorching red that immediately draws the eye. They bloom for about three days before fading.
Unlike regular cacti, Disocactus ackermannii is basally branched with thin stems similar to leaves. Each stem has sharp, serrated edges. Flowers bloom easily and frequently throughout the year. Truly, a colorful cactus to behold.
The Orchid Cactus is a popular plant for beginners because it is relatively easy to care for. It always wants to be shaded from direct sunlight. A shady location with some light filtered through a window is ideal.
- Light: Dappled sunlight or light shade
- Water: Constantly moist without being wet
Queen Victoria Agave (Agave Victoriae-Reginae)
The Queen Victoria agave (Agave victoriae-reginae) is a popular colorful succulent plant native to the rocky canyons of Coahuila, Durango, and Nuevo Leon in Mexico.
The Royal Agave grows up to 3 feet tall and has broad, spiny leaves that are edged with sharp teeth. Each leaf has thin, white variegation running along its length. The contrast of the white lines on the deep green of the leaves is quite striking to behold.
This agave is cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens and homes. Although this species does bloom, it only does so after a couple of decades at the minimum. But it isn’t really cultivated for its flowers but rather for the appearance of its leaves. In addition, it is drought tolerant and easy to care for.
- Light: Full sun
- Water: Deeply (only when the soil is dry)
Tiger Aloe (Gonialoe Variegata)
The Tiger Aloe (Gonialoe variegata) is a beautiful aloe that originates from South Africa. It gets its name from the yellow and green stripes on its leaves, which are reminiscent of a tiger’s coat. The leaves are thick and fleshy, growing up to 18 inches long. They are arranged in a rosette pattern and have sharp teeth along their edges.
In its natural habitat, the Tiger Aloe grows in rocky, mountainous terrain. It is quite drought-tolerant and can survive long periods without water. However, it does need some water to thrive. The ideal way to water this plant is to give it a good soaking about once a week and then let the soil dry out completely before watering again.
- Light: Full sun or partial shade
- Water: Infrequently
Chandelier Plant (Kalanchoe Delagoensis)
The Chandelier Plant (Kalanchoe delagoensis) is a colorful succulent plant that originates from Madagascar. It gets its name from its unusual leaves, which fan out from the central stem like a chandelier. Leopard spots line the leaves, adding further interest to this plant. It is also called Mother of Millions, referring to its many, many offsets that populate the edges of its leaves. These offsets fall from the leaves quite easily. A stiff breeze is enough to knock them off; you’ll find many fallen to the ground every morning if you plant Kalanchoe delagoensis outdoors.
Not only is this plant the definition of low maintenance, but it is also easy to propagate. Each offset readily grows into a new plant when planted in soil. It prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade. Try to water it about once a week, allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering.
- Light: Bright, indirect light
- Watering: Once a week (when dry)
Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)
The Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) is a colorful cactus that is native to Mexico. It gets its common name from its shape, which is reminiscent of a barrel. The Golden Barrel Cactus can grow to be up to 2 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. It remains globular for much of its early life; it’s only in the later stages of its lifespan that it becomes barrel-shaped. And since this cactus is a slow-grower like many of its cousins, it can be grown indoors for quite some time before it needs to be moved outdoors.
But what makes this particular species stand out from others are the large, golden spines that line the sides of the barrel. Not only are these ribs lined with cactus eye-catching golden spines, but they are also perfectly symmetrical. And as anyone who has dabbled into décor knows, symmetry is its own kind of beauty.
This cactus prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade. It should be watered about once a week, allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering.
- Light: Full sun
- Watering: Deeply but infrequently
Starfish Cactus (Orbea variegata)
The Starfish Cactus (Orbea variegata) is a colorful succulent (not a cactus) native to Mexico and Central America. It gets its common name from the shape of its flowers, which are reminiscent of a starfish.
It’s the flowers of Orbea variegata that serve as the main attraction of this plant. But they are definitely not the most pleasant-smelling things in the world. In fact, the flowers emit a disgusting stench that can stink up a room like nothing else. They’re also called Carrion Flowers, a direct reference to this smell.
However, it’s easy to forgive the smell if you place them on a patio or deck and appreciate the patterns. Because despite the less than stellar smell, they look gorgeous. They resemble a yellow starfish, heavily dotted with brown spots. No two specimens are quite alike, so each plant is somewhat unique.
They propagate so easily that they’re considered invasive species in some regions. Don’t plant them in a garden bed as their offsets will take over any space if they’re given a chance to. Keep an eye on new plants popping up unexpectedly to avoid any mishaps.
- Light: Bright, indirect light
- Watering: Moderately, when the soil is dry
Pearl Plant (Tulista Pumila)
The Pearl Plant (Tulista pumila) is a colorful succulent plant that originates from South Africa. It gets its name from the small, round white dots or “pearls” that line the length of its leaves. The leaves are thick and fleshy, growing up to 4 inches long. They are arranged in a rosette pattern and have sharp points that can cause injury if handled without gloves.
It is often confused with Aloes since it has a very similar growth habit. In some texts, it is referred to as Haworthia pumila or Haworthia margaritifera. This was a mischaracterization that was later corrected as a result of molecular studies. However, you’ll still find places where it is still categorized under those names.
In its natural habitat, the Pearl Plant grows in rocky, mountainous terrain. It is drought-tolerant and can survive long periods without water. However, it does need some water to thrive. The ideal way to water this plant is to give it a good soaking about once a week and then let the soil dry out completely before watering again.
The Pearl Plant is an ideal plant for rock gardens or coastal gardens, and it can also be used in containers. It is perfect for small spaces, and it can be propagated by division or by taking cuttings.
- Light: full sun to part shade
- Water: Every 2-3 Weeks (allowing the soil to dry out between waterings)