Identification of store-bought succulent plant

Identification of store-bought succulent plant

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I bought this succulent in the Bronx Botanical Garden Shop, but it was unlabeled. On the photo it is about 4" high: Can anyone help identify this? Could this be Echeveria haagai? It's indoors in NYC.

The only reason I have any clue as to what this could be is because I have one that looks exactly like it and, in a stroke of sheer genius, I wrote the name on the bottom of the pot. I think it is some member of x Pachyveria, which are intergeneric hybrids of Pachyphytum and Echeveria. Because there are so many, determining the exact cultivar may prove difficult. Mine is "Blue Pearl" and it looked very similar until it's untimely demise.

You can check out this website to see some different varieties. Actually, some of the Pachyphytum look pretty close too.

Compare w/ x Pachyveria "Cheyenne" (source):

and x Pachyveria "Little Jewel" (source):

Before I get to the step by step planting tutorial, make sure you have all the supplies you'll need. Check out this list on my post about essential supplies for planting succulents.

This includes choosing a pot or planter that's ideal for your succulents. Take a look at my tips for choosing pottery for succulents in this post.

And to help you even further, start by downloading my free cheat sheet to see what it looks like when your succulents need more or less water. Click here to grab that that, it'll be super helpful.

Once you've read through those posts and gathered the supplies you need, you're ready to start potting!

Below, you'll find step-by-step photos to show you, from start to finish, how I re-pot a newly purchased succulent.

Cacti characteristics

  • The cactus family has nearly 2,000 species, and with one exception all are native to the Americas.
  • They range from the Arctic Circle to the mountains of Chile, but are most common in the southwestern United States and Mexico.
  • Cacti can be tall and lanky or squat and spherical, frequently without any branches and almost always without leaves.
    • These shapes result in a large proportion of internal tissue to external surface area. This reduces the amount of moisture that is lost through the plant itself.
    • These protect against predators and are thought to aid the plant in withstanding the sun’s heat.

    Growing cacti and succulents

    Succulents require only modest amounts of water and fertilizer, but do need lots of light.

    • Place succulents in a bright, sunny window.
    • Artificial lighting can make up for insufficient natural light.
    • A cool white fluorescent tube, or a combination of daylight and natural white fluorescent tubes will give good results.
      • Position them 6-12 inches above the plants, and keep them on for 14-16 hours each day.

      In nature, most cacti and succulents grow in well-drained sandy soil. Duplicate these conditions indoors.

      • A mix of one part potting soil and one part coarse sand is usually porous enough.
      • A good test is to moisten the mixture and squeeze it in your hand. On release, the soil should fall apart.
      • Both pot and growing medium should be sterile.
      • Grow these plants in pots with drainage holes because excess water trapped in the soil will result in rotting and decay in a very short time.
      • During the low-light winter months, water cacti and succulents only enough to prevent shrinking and withering.
      • When watering, do it thoroughly.
        • Water should flow through the drain holes. Discard excess water after a few minutes.

        Cacti and succulents have relatively low nutrient requirements.

        • Cacti need fertilizer only once or twice a year during the late spring or summer when they are actively growing.
        • Use a houseplant food that is higher in phosphorus than nitrogen, diluted to half the recommended rate.
        • Fertilize other succulents in the same manner three or four times during the brighter months.
        • You may be able to bring your cacti and succulents into bloom indoors if you can create their native winter conditions. This involves a combination of good light, dry soil and cool nights.
          • A windowsill location will give the necessary light and cool night temperatures.
          • Some cacti that are easy to flower indoors are species of Mammillaria, Gymnocalycium, Lobivia, and Rebutia. Do not be fooled by the presence of tiny, brightly colored straw flowers commonly stuck into the tissue of small cacti sold commercially.
          • Once the weather warms up, place them in a semi-shaded, protected area of the yard. Gradually move them to a sunnier location.
          • Avoid locations where they will receive hot, intense sunlight from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
          • Once outdoors, these plants will require more water. Check them regularly.

          Grouping succulents together

          Cacti and succulents are often grouped together in shallow dish gardens. While this may be an attractive way to display your plants, take several precautions.

          • Choose plants that are compatible in growth rate so that one or two plants do not outgrow the rest.
          • Even more important, the plants must have similar water requirements.
            • Most cacti need less water than other succulents.
            • Since shallow dishes seldom have drain holes, do not overwater the plants.
            • Excess moisture will eventually be drawn back into the soil, which may keep the roots wet too long.

            Pests are a rare concern for cacti and succulents.

            • If they have mealybugs or scale, wipe them off with alcohol-dipped cotton swabs.
            • Maintain good cultural conditions, such as bright light and proper watering, to prevent fungal or bacterial rots.

            You can propagate cacti and succulents easily by stem cuttings. Many succulents will form new plants from leaves which have been broken off.

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            La Extensión Cooperativa de Carolina del Norte se asocia con las comunidades para ofrecer educación y tecnología que enriquecen la vida de los habitantes, la tierra y la economía de Carolina del Norte.

            Other Kinds of Jade Plants

            Senecio jacobsenii (‘Weeping Jade’)

            A non-Crassula succulent, the Senecio jacobsenii bears a strong resemblance to the Crassula Jades, but it is in fact unrelated.

            Senecio jacobsenii, colloquially known as ‘Trailing Jade’ or ‘Weeping Jade’, is a glabrous evergreen, perennial leaf-succulent creeper with flat, overlapping leaves that are shades of greenish pink and maroon, along green stems, and brilliant orange blooms in late summer and early fall. This plant has also been called Kleinia petraea and Notoniopsis petraea and the correct name is still in debate today.

            The Weeping Jade is an interesting succulent creeping groundcover with the unusual color combination of greenish pink and maroon and brilliant orange blooms. It is a most rewarding plant that grows in full sun and has no problems with extreme heat or cold down 0° Celsius.

            Senecio jacobsenii makes an interesting and attractive groundcover, hanging basket or window box specimen and may be best combined in a large container with other succulent types. If planted next to a wall, or in a container, the stems drape downwards as much as 120 cm. Uniquely, the leaves and the flower stand upright from the stems. In view of its spreading habit and its high resistance to drought it can be recommended for binding soil on steep banks. It is a fairly easy plant to grow but resents shady cool moist conditions.

            Sinocrassula yunnanensis (‘Chinese Jade’)

            Sinocrassula yunnanensis is a small, perennial, rosette succulent, up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall, that eventually develops into dense clumps. The leaves are half-round, flattened on the upper side, end in a sharp tip and have finely papillous hair. The rosettes are up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in diameter. The plant is monocarpic. The individual rosette blooms only once, then dies, replaced by the close ones. At flowering time, the rosette lengthens in a richly branched inflorescence up to 4 inches (10 cm) long. The flowers are small and white.

            Subspecies, Varieties and Cultivars

            With such a diverse array of succulents out in the marketplace these days, proper taxonomy and identification often gets overlooked. Succulent identification confusion exists even amongst experienced horticulturalists, and plants might leave a nursery mislabeled or even unlabeled. It isn’t uncommon to see a succulent marked by its genus followed by sp. (an abbreviation for species, and a clever way of saying “I don’t know”). To further add to the confusion, unlike with many other plant types, there are very few common names attributed to succulents, therefore consumers must rely on botanical names for most succulents they purchase and/or collect.

            In most cases, the first name one encounters on a nursery plant label is the genus, which, if written correctly, will always begin with a capital letter and be italicized. The taxonomic rank of genus exists between family and species and is based on several criteria, but generally a genus encompasses a group of structurally and genetically similar plants. After the genus name comes the species name, also italicized, but with no part of the name capitalized. A species name might be altogether absent if the plant is a hybrid or cultivar. Most often, species are members of a genus that can interbreed with one another but possess enough physical differences to warrant further classification. Species names are usually either Latin or Greek adjectives, describing some physical characteristic of a plant species (grandiflora: large-flowering, sexangulare: six-angled, farinosa: powder producing, etc.), or a Latinized name in tribute to its discoverer, a famous botanist, somebody’s favorite dog, etc. (palmeri, laui, bainesii, etc.) In biology, species is considered to be the most fundamental taxonomic rank, yet in the horticultural world, there are further classifications of subspecies, variety and cultivar. While most avid succulent collectors are familiar with genus and species names, confusion abounds when it comes to distinguishing between these three sub-ranks of taxonomy. Here is a simple breakdown of the three:


            The rank of subspecies exists beneath a species and above a variety. A subspecies designation is applied to a plant that is geographically isolated from other members of its species in habitat and therefore does not interbreed for this reason (although genetically possible). Because of this geographic isolation, subspecies can often take on different physical characteristics from other members of the species. One example from the succulent world is Crassula pubescens ssp. rattrayi and Crassula pubescens ssp. radicans. The former possesses fuzzy leaves, while the latter does not. Sometimes the terms subspecies and variety are used interchangeably, though this is not technically taxonomically correct. A ssp. notation is placed between the species and subspecies names and never capitalized or italicized.

            Crassula pubescens ssp. rattrayi

            Crassula pubescens ssp. radicans.


            A variety is a naturally occurring variation of a plant within a species. One classic succulent example is Cotyledon orbiculata. There are many naturally occurring varieties of this species, including the round-leaf Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata, and the oblong-shaped Cotyledon orbiculata var. oblonga. The physical characteristics are usually reproducible through sexual reproduction. In other words, seedlings sown from a plant will possess the same (or only slightly different) physical characteristics as the mother plant. A var. notation is placed between the species and variety names and never capitalized or italicized.

            Cotyledon orbiculata var . orbiculata

            Cotyledon orbiculata var. oblonga.


            The term cultivar is an abbreviation of “cultivated variety”. As its name suggests, a cultivar is a variety cultivated by humans, and one not found anywhere in natural habitat (with only a few exceptions: for instance, a fasciated plant can be considered both a variety and a cultivar, as fasciation can occur in nature). Cultivars include all hybrids, both intergeneric and interspecific, as well as sports and mutations. Seedlings from cultivars usually do not come out true to type and are therefore propagated via vegetative means. One example of a cultivar from the succulent world is Echeveria ‘Etna’. This plant is a hybrid of Echeveria gibbiflora, and genetic mutation causes its trademark bumps, or “carunculations”. Cultivar names are usually noted after the genus name (unless detailed hybrid information is included), never italicized, and surrounded by single quotation marks. The first letter of the cultivar name is capitalized.


            By definition, succulent plants are drought resistant plants in which the leaves, stem, or roots have become more than usually fleshy by the development of water-storing tissue. [4] Other sources exclude roots as in the definition "a plant with thick, fleshy and swollen stems and/or leaves, adapted to dry environments". [5] This difference affects the relationship between succulents and "geophytes" – plants that survive unfavorable seasons as a resting bud on an underground organ. [6] These underground organs, such as bulbs, corms, and tubers, are often fleshy with water-storing tissues. Thus if roots are included in the definition, many geophytes would be classed as succulents. Plants adapted to living in dry environments such as succulents, are termed xerophytes. However, not all xerophytes are succulents, since there are other ways of adapting to a shortage of water, e.g., by developing small leaves which may roll up or having leathery rather than succulent leaves. [7] Nor are all succulents xerophytes, since plants such as Crassula helmsii are both succulent and aquatic. [8]

            Some who grow succulents as a hobby may use the term in a different way from botanists. In horticultural use, the term succulent regularly excludes cacti. For example, Jacobsen's three volume Handbook of Succulent Plants does not include cacti. [9] Many books covering the cultivation of these plants include "cacti and succulents" as the title or part of the title. [10] [11] [12] However, in botanical terminology, cacti are succulents, [4] but not the reverse as many succulent plants are not cacti. Cacti bear true spines and appear only in the New World (the Western Hemisphere), and through parallel evolution similar looking plants evolved in completely different plant families in the Old World without spines, a distinct organ structure.

            A further difficulty for general identification is that plant families (the genus) are neither succulent nor non-succulent and contain both. In many genera and families there is a continuous gradation from plants with thin leaves and normal stems to those with very clearly thickened and fleshy leaves or stems, so the succulent characteristic becomes meaningless for dividing plants into genera and families. Different sources may classify the same species differently. [13]

            Horticulturists often follow commercial conventions and may exclude other groups of plants such as bromeliads, that scientifically, are considered succulents. [14] A practical horticultural definition has become "a succulent plant is any desert plant that a succulent plant collector wishes to grow", without any consideration of scientific classifications. [15] Commercial presentations of "succulent" plants will present those that customers commonly identify as such. Plants offered commercially then as "succulents" (such as hen and chicks), will less often include geophytes (in which the swollen storage organ is wholly underground), but will include plants with a caudex, [16] that is a swollen above-ground organ at soil level, formed from a stem, a root, or both. [6]

            The storage of water often gives succulent plants a more swollen or fleshy appearance than other plants, a characteristic known as succulence. In addition to succulence, succulent plants variously have other water-saving features. These may include:

              (CAM) to minimize water loss
          • absent, reduced, or cylindrical-to-spherical leaves
          • reduction in the number of stomata
          • stems as the main site of photosynthesis, rather than leaves
          • compact, reduced, cushion-like, columnar, or spherical growth form
          • ribs enabling rapid increases in plant volume and decreasing surface area exposed to the sun
          • waxy, hairy, or spiny outer surface to create a humid micro-habitat around the plant, which reduces air movement near the surface of the plant, and thereby reduces water loss and may create shade
          • roots very near the surface of the soil, so they are able to take up moisture from very small showers or even from heavy dew
          • ability to remain plump and full of water even with high internal temperatures (e.g., 52 °C or 126 °F) [17]
          • very impervious outer cuticle (skin) [17]
          • fast wound sealing and healing [18] , which retain water abundantly [17]
          • Other than Antarctica, succulents can be found within each continent. While it is often thought that most succulents come from dry areas such as steppes, semi-desert, and desert, the world's driest areas do not make for proper succulent habitats. This is a result mainly due to the difficulty such low growing plants or seedlings would have to thrive in environments where they could easily be covered by sand. [19] Australia, the world's driest inhabited continent, hosts very few native succulents due to the frequent and prolonged droughts [ citation needed ] . Even Africa, the continent with the most native succulents, does not host many of the plants in its most dry regions. [20] However, while succulents are unable to grow in these harshest of conditions, they are able to grow in conditions that are uninhabitable by other plants. In fact, many succulents are able to thrive in dry conditions, and some are able to last up to two years without water depending on their surroundings and adaptations. [21] Occasionally, succulents may occur as epiphytes, growing on other plants with limited or no contact with the ground, and being dependent on their ability to store water and gaining nutrients by other means this niche is seen in Tillandsia. Succulents also occur as inhabitants of sea coasts and dry lakes, which are exposed to high levels of dissolved minerals that are deadly to many other plant species. Potted succulents are able to grow in most indoor environments with minimal care. [22]

            1 Answer 1

            This looks like a Kalanchoe. Unfortunately that doesn't narrow it down much, because there are 125 species of Kalanchoe. Many of them are common as houseplants.

            It looks similar to this unidentified Kalanchoe from the Epic Gardening article, "How to Propagate Kalanchoe". This one appears to have an upright growth form, more shrub-like than vine-like.

            Or it could be Kalenchoe uniflora, as seen in a screenshot from the Youtube video, Kalanchoe uniflora Houseplant Care.

            Here's a cultivar of Kalenchoe uniflora, 'Freedom Bells' from Dave's Garden

            None of those options has the all-over reddish tint that your plant has. But your plant looks pretty unhappy and stressed, and some plants develop a red tint when they're unhappy. If you can get your plant in better health, its color may change a bit. Or the red color could be due to sun exposure - essentially the plant equivalent of a tan, and not necessarily a problem. Kalanchoes can handle full sun. Either way, your plant would probably appreciate some better soil. As with all succulents, make sure the potting mix drains well, and let it dry out between waterings. The easiest way to kill a succulent is to keep its potting mix wet all the time. Here's another Kalanchoe care guide.

            Identification of store-bought succulent plant - Biology

            Plant Identification

            As a service to the citizens of North Carolina, the herbarium of North Carolina State University (NCSC) provides identification of unknown plant specimens submitted through an agent of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service or directly to NCSC (see address below).

            Notes on specimen preparation (for material sent to the Herbarium)

            It is important that information given be as complete as possible to facilitate the identification of unknowns. Specimens should be of as high quality as possible and include stems with leaves attached, basal leaves (if any), flowers, fruits, bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, etc. In the absence of a plant press, specimens can be prepared by (1) pressing and drying in a fold of newspaper weighted with a board or heavy box for a few days, or (2) blotting excess water from the specimen, placing in a plastic bag, and shipping immediately. Specimens should be numbered as needed and carefully packed to prevent breaking or crushing of the plant. A separate form must be enclosed for each specimen submitted. Material submitted directly to NCSC can be sent to: Herbarium (NCSC) Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, Campus Box 7612 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC 27695-7612

            © A. Krings

            Hepatica americana (Ranunculaceae): one of many harbingers of spring in the Piedmont.

            Wrapping It Up!

            Generally, any succulent that hangs down is perfect for hanging baskets. However, you must also consider the style that you want and how you plan to make it complement well inside your house or garden.

            Updated on April 17, 2021 by Amber Noyes

            Amber Noyes born and raised in a suburb Nebraska town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from University of California as well as an BS in Biology City College of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers markets, and potted plants she understands what makes plants thrive and how can we better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially Indoor gardening, houseplants and Growing plants in a small space.

            Watch the video: How to Identify 13 Most Common Succulent Genera. Easy Succulent Identification (October 2022).