7 Succulents That Stay Small

Succulents are excellent plants for small spaces. You can reap the same benefits of owning succulents (ease of care, longevity, etc.) in a small, manageable package.

Here is a list of seven succulents that stay small:

1. Echeveria amoena

Echeveria amoena
Image: istockphoto.com / Creative life, looking for special pictures.

The Echeveria amoena is known both for its compact size and its prolific production of offsets. The succulents leaves can measure up to two inches in length, forming a small rosette. The leaves are green in color and can sometimes have red tips.

The Echeveria amoena produces coral-colored flowers from red stems during late spring. These blooms usually last for a month.

Like most echeverias, this succulent does not require extensive care or maintenance. However, there are a few things to bear in mind if you want to keep this plant. For starters, you should not water this plant from its crown. Doing this will create small pools of water to form on the rosette. These small pools of water can make the plant vulnerable to fungal diseases and rot.

Over time, the plant sheds its old leaves. Be sure to remove these immediately because mealybugs like to stay in the dead leaves. If you need to repot your plant, do it during the summer and make sure that you are using dry soil.

2. Echeveria minima

Echeveria minima
Image: istockphoto.com / owngarden

In English, the Latin word “minima” translates to small. The Echeveria minima is a miniature succulent that is known both for its beauty and its size. Originating from Mexico, this plant can grow between three to five inches in height. 

Its chubby, blue-green leaves form a tight rosette that has a diameter a hair below two inches. The rosette is tightly-packed that you cannot see much except the upper halves of the leaves.

When exposed to full sun, the leaves become stressed and their tips take on a pinkish hue.

The Echeveria minima produces bell-shaped, peach and orange-colored flowers during spring.

Like most succulents, the plant needs well-draining soil and deep but infrequent watering.  The plant prefers full sun and without adequate light it may start stretching. It can be kept in partial shade or indoors, especially during winter.

3.  Zebra Cactus 

Zebra Cactus
Image: istockphoto.com / Saowakon Wichaichaleechon

Often mistaken as a variety of Aloe, the Zebra Cactus (Haworthia fasciata) is characterized by its fleshy leaves which have distinct white markings like that of a zebra. Despite its name, the Zebra plant is not a cactus.

A native of South Africa, this succulent is a slow grower. Mature specimens can reach a height of close to six inches.

Although the plant can be grown outdoors, it thrives indoors. Unlike other succulents that require hours under direct sunlight, the Haworthia prefers indirect light, making it one of the best plants to keep indoors. A lot of that has to do with its original habitat. In the wild, the Zebra Plant can be seen growing beneath rock formations and bushes.

When exposed to too much sunlight, the plant turns to a deep red color, a sign of stress. Eventually, the leaves turn white which is a sign that the plant has dried up.

4. Blossfeldia liliputana

In the book Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift describes a fictional island called Lilliput which is inhabited by small people. As such, it should not come as a surprise that the smallest cactus in the world is called  Blossfeldia liliputana. And it is not just this cactus’ small stature that makes it also one of the most interesting succulents in the world.

Originating from Argentina and Bolivia’s arid regions, this tiny cactus grows up to less than half an inch.

Unlike other cacti, this plant does not have ribs nor spines. Instead, it has areoles that have tufts of wool. In the wild, the cactus can be found growing between rocks with barely enough soil to support its growth.

The plant can also lose as much as 80 percent of its water weight, capable of surviving in such a state for as long as two years. Once the rains come, the plant regains its normal size and shape without being harmed or undergoing significant change.

5. Gasteria ‘Little Warty’

Gasteria ‘Little Warty’
Image: istockphoto.com / Anothai Wimolkaew

Despite its off-putting name, the Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ is one of the most beautiful succulents. A cross between two Gasteria species, Gasteria batesiana and Gasteria ‘Old Man Silver’, Little Warty can grow up to five inches tall and four inches wide. The plant’s nickname is derived from the small bumps which appear all over its thick green leaves.

Gasterias are close relatives of Haworthias and share the same care requirements. This means that Little Warty can tolerate partial shade.

This succulent is particularly vulnerable to fungal infections especially when there is high humidity. An infected Little Warty will exhibit black spots on its leaves. Fortunately, the succulent has a defense mechanism against fungi. When subjected to a fungal attack, the plant attacks the microorganism and seals off these invaders.

6. Sempervivum ‘Little Bobo’

Sempervivum ‘Little Bobo’
Image: istockphoto.com / Helen Davies

The Sempervivum ‘Little Bobo’ is a charming little plant that possesses a few endearing qualities that make it one of the best houseplants. This type of Hens and Chicks plant achieves a maximum height of fewer than three inches and roughly the same width. Its lime-green leaves form a tight rosette.

Like other Hens and Chicks plants, Little Bobo is a prolific producer of offsets or chicks. These offsets can be left with the main plant or transplanted to different pots.

During summers, the plant requires weekly watering. It prefers coarse and gritty soil which will provide it with sufficient drainage.

The succulent is frost hardy and can be left outdoors during winter. However, like most succulents, it should be protected against heavy rainfall.

7. Lithops 

Lithops
Image: istockphoto.com / Nutsara Rukbangboon

Lithops, more popularly known as Living Stones are succulents that originally come from the southern parts of Africa. In their native habitat, it can be hard to distinguish between rocks and these plants primarily because of their appearance.

These slow-growing plants grow up to barely an inch in size. Each plant consists of two leaves that are fused together. The degree of fusion between these leaves can vary from one species to another. In some, the fusion is barely noticeable, while in others, the fusion is deep enough to give the impression that the plant has been cut in half.

To keep these plants happy, they need to get as much sunlight as you can give them. Deprived of sunlight, the leaves will elongate and their patterns can disappear.

Lithops are dormant during the summer. Avoid watering these plants during that period. However, if you notice that the leaves are starting to shrivel, the plants can be watered lightly.

Keeping your succulents small and manageable

A few succulents grow just a few inches even upon reaching maturity. And others seem to remain small because of their slow growth. However, if you want to keep any succulent small and manageable in size, there are a few things that you can do.

Prune

You can slow down the growth of leafy succulents like Jade Plant and the Christmas Cactus by pruning their leaves. Succulents like the Snake Plant and Aloe Vera can also be kept small by trimming their older, more mature leaves.

On the other hand, succulents like the Hens and Chicks plant that regularly grows small pups can be kept small by removing their baby plants. Removing the pups keeps the main plant relatively smaller. Plus, separating the pups prevents crowding in the pot.

Use small containers

Some succulents remain small while planted in small pots. These plants can stay in these small containers for several years. But there are also small succulents that need to be repotted to achieve their full potential.

But how do you know if you need to repot your succulent? If your plant is unhappy with its current container, it has a few ways of telling you it needs a larger home. First, you will notice that its pot can barely contain it. The plant’s various parts may look like they are spilling all over the container. You may also notice that the roots are growing out of the drainage holes.

Once you notice this, you can either keep your plant in the same container or move it to a larger pot. If you opt to keep your succulent in its current container, you should trim its leaves to maintain its small stature.

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