What to Look for When Buying Succulents – A Guide with Photos

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Purchasing succulents is an enjoyable experience. With so many different varieties to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one is the perfect fit.

Before you embark on your shopping journey, use this post to help you decide what succulents are best suited for you, whether you know exactly what you want or need some guidance.

What’s your succulent style?

You might be an attentive plant parent, giving your plants lots of care and affection. Alternatively, you might be the type to forget about them entirely. Then there are those of us who are on the fence, vacillating between being a doting caregiver and completely forgetting about our flora.

Depending on your location and how you tend to your succulents, you’ll want to pick the right plants. For instance, Haworthia fasciata will thrive indoors, while Echeveria varieties need plenty of sunlight to flourish when planted outdoors.

If you are someone who waters their plants often, the Portulacaria afra is a great choice. For those who tend to forget to water, a cactus or succulent with thick, fleshy leaves is the way to go.

What dimensions should you choose?

Succulents are available in a wide range of sizes, which also affect the price. Additionally, some sizes are simpler to maintain than others.

Bigger plants are more resilient. They don’t dry out as quickly, meaning they don’t need to be watered as often. The bigger the pot, the easier it is to take care of the plant, usually. A succulent in a gallon pot will require less attention than one in a 6 inch pot, and so on.

Buying a succulent in a larger pot may be more expensive, but it might be worth it if it increases the chances of keeping it alive.

Working with cuttings is advantageous since they don’t require tending to roots, and they cost less than a fully rooted plant. They can be more demanding than a rooted plant, but generally not too much.

Plugs are an intermediate option between cuttings and 2” potted succulents, as they grow faster than cuttings but can still be a bit tricky to care for.

You may be wondering where you can purchase the plant you’ve chosen and what size to get.

You have the option of purchasing from local outlets and nurseries, or from online retailers. Both have their advantages.

Buying Local

Buying Local

    Alternative places to shop for home improvement supplies include Lowes, Walmart, local nurseries, and Farmer’s Markets.

I would suggest looking for succulents at local nurseries or farmers markets, as these are usually of higher quality and less likely to have been over-watered. These days, many nurseries are stocking succulents due to their growing popularity.

If you are uncertain if there are any nurseries in the vicinity with succulents, you can easily find out by picking up the phone and placing a call. You can also use a search engine like Google to locate the nearest nurseries that sell succulents.

One benefit of purchasing succulents from local stores is that you can be selective about the exact plants you buy, as well as the quality and quantity. However, there are also some drawbacks; not all areas have stores that specialize in succulents, the selection can be more limited, and the plants may be less healthy due to a lack of expertise.

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When shopping at a local store, be sure to inspect the plants to ensure they are in good condition. Check for any bumps, scratches, bugs, or mushy spots. If a succulent is present, lightly touch the leaves to determine if they are firm, not soft and squishy, as this could be a sign it has been overwatered. Exercise caution when handling the plants as too much pressure can cause them to fall off.

To ensure a healthy, well-maintained plant, look for bright colors, as this is often an indication of adequate lighting.

Look out for pots with multiple plants inside them. It’s like a bonus – you get more plants than you paid for! I sometimes choose a less attractive-looking pot because it contains more plants. That way, I can spruce it up and get more plants for my money.

If you find yourself with a single succulent in a pot, you can check to see if there are any additional plants by lifting the leaves to peek underneath. You may be surprised by how many succulents have ‘babies’ growing in the same pot.

Avoid purchasing succulents that have been painted in any way. It is befuddling that such items exist, but if you come across sparkly or brightly-colored ones, they were likely sprayed. Purchasing these plants is not advised; they may be visually appealing, but in the long run, you will have more success with an untreated, healthy plant.

Buying Online

The advantages and disadvantages of purchasing online are essentially the reverse of those of shopping locally.

Advantages of purchasing items online include convenience, better prices, and a wide selection of products.

The advantages of shopping for succulents online are twofold: an expanded selection of plants to choose from, as well as higher quality specimens due to the expertise of the sellers. Furthermore, you can have the plants delivered right to your doorstep – no need to leave the house!

The drawbacks of ordering plants online include not being able to choose the product, the potential for damage during shipping, and higher prices.

When ordering plants online, they may arrive a bit dirty. To remove the soil, use a soft brush or an air compressor (not canned air, which can harm the succulent’s leaves).

Where to buy online

I’m thrilled to share with you that I’m an experienced online succulent shopper! I’ve ordered from numerous online stores, so I’m well-versed in finding the best places to purchase succulents. Here are the top places I like to buy succulents online:

    Mountain Crest Gardens is my favorite place to go for succulents, however other great sources include Leaf and Clay, The Succulent Source, Looking Sharp Cactus, and various Etsy shops like I Dream of Succulents, Dalla Vita, and Altman Plants.
    I fantasize about succulent plants.

When buying succulents from an online retailer for the first time, be sure to read the reviews to ensure you get the best quality from a reliable source. I have personally purchased from all the stores recommended, so I can vouch for their quality.

are a popular trend

Worldwide, cacti and other succulents are gaining in popularity.

It can be difficult to source succulents in the U.S. if you’re not actively cultivating them. However, I’ve heard good things about some online stores that ship to multiple countries. I haven’t tried them myself though.

    Unusual Cacti Expert

Explore other Etsy stores to see if they are located in different countries or if they are willing to ship to a variety of locations.


After you have acquired your succulents, it is prudent to transfer them to fresh soil quickly. The soil they are typically planted in is not conducive to their long-term health. Additionally, they often have roots that are too confined, which necessitates more space in order for them to thrive.

I have had nothing but positive results when using Bonsai Jack’s soil for my indoor succulents. It drains effectively and contains the ideal particle size, which is essential for a healthy succulent. To learn more about it, please click the link.

Now that you’ve thought through the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing succulents either in-store or online, it is time to make your decision! Follow my advice and get the most for your money by selecting the option that works best for you.


How do you pick the right succulents?

When you’re looking for a succulent, make sure to choose one with plump, green, and firm foliage. This is the most reliable way to ensure that the plant you’re purchasing is in good health. If the leaves appear brown, limp, or drooping, this might not be an immediate sign of death, but could be an indicator that it hasn’t been properly looked after.

What are the best qualities of succulents?

Reworded: – Succulents possess thick, fleshy leaves and stems.
– These plants require minimal amounts of water and fertilizer, yet need plenty of light.
– The majority of cacti and succulents thrive in sandy soil that drains well.
– As they are mostly accustomed to living in dwellings with low humidity, they’re ideal for indoor settings.

What does a healthy succulent look like?

Indicators of a healthy succulent are vivid colors, resilient foliage, and a slow growth rate. This might appear to be a warning signal, but it is actually a positive sign that your succulent is in good condition. On top of that, you may sometimes find dried leaves at the base of the plant and this is also a good sign.

Can pots be too big for succulents?

Paraphrase: When selecting a pot for a succulent, it is important to consider the size. A container that is too large can impede the growth of the succulent, since the roots will spread out before the plant has a chance to grow bigger. Therefore, a pot that is 2.5 inches in diameter is usually the best option when planting a two-inch succulent.

Do succulents like big or small pots?