Fuzzy Succulent Plants: A Prickly Beauty

Succulents, with their stunning fuzzy leaves, have become one of the most sought-after houseplants for plant enthusiasts. Surprisingly, these captivating plants are easier to care for than you might think.

Succulents have evolved and thrived in some of the most inhospitable locations on Earth. These arid environments, often accompanied by voracious animals, have forced succulents to develop ingenious strategies to protect themselves. The fuzzy hairs that adorn the leaves of certain succulents serve a dual purpose: defense against predators and protection from the scorching sun.

Many succulent species display a protective waxy coating, known as ‘bloom,’ which shields them from the sun’s rays. This adaptation is especially prevalent in Echeveria, Graptopetalum, and their hybrids. Rubbing off the coating reveals a noticeable difference between the bloom and the leaf’s actual surface.

The evolution of a fuzzy surface in succulents also serves as an adaptation to intense light. Each hair creates a small amount of shade on the leaf, reducing the heat absorbed. Moreover, these hairs disperse the light, lessening its intensity and heat.

Caring for Fuzzy Succulents: Tips and Tricks

When bringing fuzzy succulents indoors, they require specific care to thrive. Avoid watering them onto the leaves, especially with cold water or water high in mineral content. Cold water droplets can act as magnifying glasses when exposed to full sun, damaging the delicate hairs and leaving the plant vulnerable to sunburn.

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Using low-mineral water is crucial for the well-being of these plants. If your tap water has a low mineral content, it’s suitable for use. Otherwise, filtered water is recommended. In cases where tap or filtered water isn’t ideal, distilled water or condensation from an air conditioner’s tank can be used as alternatives. It’s worth noting that rainwater can also be used, but be cautious of potential pollution or contaminants.

Overwatering can be detrimental to any succulent, but fuzzy succulents are particularly susceptible to drooping, mold, and rot if not given ample time to dry out between waterings.

Identifying Common Fuzzy Succulents

Let’s explore some examples of popular fuzzy succulent varieties and learn how to identify them.

1. The Bear Paws Plant

cotyledon tomentosa

Meet Cotyledon tomentosa, also known as the Bear Paws Plant. Its distinctive features include fat leaves and a lengthier stem. These succulents form a loose circular arrangement and can develop orange-pink flowers atop each leaf cluster. Don’t fret if you notice red or brownish tips on the leaves; they’re part of their normal coloration.

2. “David” (Crassula Lanuginosus)

crassula lanuniginosus david

Introducing the aptly named “David” or Crassula lanuginosus. This iconic plant exhibits a striking combination of succulent green and pale white, culminating in vibrant pink hues. The heavy fuzziness on its leaves can be a mix of natural fibers and the intricate web spun by spider mite parasites. Depending on the climate and maturity of the plant, the central branching stems can range from pink to red-orange.

3. Hedgehog Iceplant

delosperma echinatum

Delosperma echinatum, commonly known as Hedgehog Iceplant, might appear spiky, but it’s surprisingly soft to the touch. Its bright green hue seems lighter due to the fuzzy coating, and the plant sprawls in all directions. This succulent showcases beautiful blooms, with some sporting yellow petals and others a combination of yellow and white. Growing tips of the leaves often exhibit a reddish color.

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4. Echeveria Ciliosum

echeveria setosa ciliosum

Echeveria Ciliosum boasts a color-shifting charm, displaying green inner leaves and a reddish-brown hue on outer leaves. Though less pronounced compared to its cousin, sempervivum ciliosum, this succulent variety still captivates with its unique appeal. Its easy propagation makes it a sought-after choice for houseplant enthusiasts.

5. Plush Plant

echeveria red velvet

Echeveria harmsii, also known as the Plush Plant, gives the impression of being velvety soft. However, those red-rimmed, teardrop-shaped leaves are surprisingly firm. The plant’s velvet-like fuzziness adds to its allure, and its paler growth points create a delightful contrast. New leaves may even appear almost white, adding an extra touch of charm.

6. Red Velvet Plush Plant

echeveria pulvinata red velvet

Similar to the standard plush plant, Echeveria pulvinatum, or the Red Velvet Plush Plant, exhibits tear-shaped leaves. However, what sets it apart is the vibrant coloration of its growing leaves. A red tip indicates a developing leaf, while mature leaves tend to turn slightly reddish over time. Exposing this plant to more sunlight enhances the red hues, as it requires less chlorophyll for photosynthesis.

7. Echeveria Setosa Hybrid

echeveria setosa hybrid

Echeveria setosa hybrids resemble a succulent crossed with a palm tree. These hybrids feature a pale stem near the growing tip, gradually darkening closer to the soil. The tear-shaped leaves exhibit a deep emerald green, with mature leaves appearing waxy rather than fuzzy. However, don’t be fooled by their lower leaves’ waxy appearance; they still possess spines.

8. Echeveria Pulvoliver

echeveria pulv oliver

Echeveria pulv-oliver, a cross between two velvety Echeveria species, showcases a slightly angled variation of the classic tear-shaped leaf. Brighter green hues and longer spines distinguish this fuzzy succulent. The unique combination is the result of intentional cross-breeding, resulting in captivating foliage.

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9. Chocolate Soldier

kalanchoe tomentosa

Meet Kalanchoe tomentosa, affectionately called the Chocolate Soldier. These plants feature upright stems, pale sage-colored leaves, and short, dense fuzz. The top half of every leaf is adorned with milk-chocolate brown spots. Some variations have pointed triangular leaves, while others exhibit a rounded tip. A true beauty in the succulent world!

In conclusion, caring for fuzzy succulents requires attention to detail. Avoid misting or watering them onto the leaves, and use low-mineral or filtered water. Knowing how to identify various fuzzy succulent species adds to the joy of nurturing these exquisite plants.

To learn more about fuzzy succulents and explore additional captivating photos, visit the Ames Farm Center website.

Fuzzy Succulent Photos

portulaca fuzzy

Portulaca or Delosperma with fuzzy leaves.

tradescantia sillamontana

Tradescantia sillamontana, a truly mesmerizing species.