Caudex Plants: A Touch of the Tropics in Your Home

A caudex plant is a plant that has a woody base or trunk. A caudex plant may have multiple trunks, but the majority of plants in this category are singular.

If you are a gardener, chances are you are always looking for new and exciting plants to add to your collection. You might have heard of a caudex plant, but you don’t know what it is or how to care for it. Caudex plants are a fascinating group of succulents with an intriguing and unique appearance. They are relatively low-maintenance and can bring an exciting look to your garden.

So, what is a Caudex plant? Caudex plants are members of the plant family Crassulaceae, which includes some other well-known succulents such as the jade plant and hens & chicks plant. Caudex plants have a thick, woody stem (called a caudex) that gives them their unique appearance. Their leaves are usually small and can be found in shades of green and purple. Most of them are native to the Mediterranean, so they thrive in warm climates with plenty of sun exposure and well-draining soil.

This blog post discusses everything you need to know about caudex plants, including their care requirements and tips for propagating them. We will also discuss the different types of caudex plants and how to choose the right one for your garden.

Read on to learn more!

Caudex Plant: General Overview

As mentioned earlier, caudex plants are members of the plant family Crassulaceae. Many of these plants have thick, woody stems that give them their unique look— think of a cactus with its thick stem!

Caudex plants range in size from small succulents to larger shrubs or trees. They can be found in various colors, including green, purple, and yellow.

Most are native to the Mediterranean, thriving in warm climates with plenty of sun exposure and well-draining soil.

While they may not be as easy to care for as some other types of succulents, such as jade plants or aloe vera, they can still make a great addition to your garden if you are willing to put in the effort.

Caudex plants usually require regular watering and total exposure to the sun when grown at home. They can also benefit from occasional fertilizing, especially during the growing season.

You may need to protect your plant during the coldest months of the year if you live in a region with colder winters.

Why Grow Caudex Plants at Home?

Caudex plants are an excellent choice for gardeners looking to add some unique, eye-catching plants to their collection. Their attractive shape and vibrant colors can make them stand out in any garden or landscape.

These plants are also relatively low-maintenance and don’t require much care. They are also drought-tolerant and can survive long periods without water.

Finally, caudex plants are widely available in nurseries and garden centers, so it’s easy to find one that fits your needs and preferences.

Common Types of Caudex Plants

There are many different types of caudex plants, and each one has its unique characteristics. Some of the most popular varieties include:

1. Crassula perfoliata

This caudex plant is native to South Africa and has a unique shape. It has thick stems, and bright green leaves that form an attractive rosette pattern.

Crassula perfoliata in a pot.
This caudex plant is native to South Africa and has a unique shape.

This caudex plant can be grown in containers or gardens and is relatively easy to care for. All it needs is full sun and occasional watering.

2. Euphorbia Obesa

Euphorbia Obesa plant has an unusual shape that resembles a bowling pin or a sea shell.

It is native to parts of South Africa and can tolerate hot climates, though it does need protection from frost in colder regions. This plant requires full sun, well-draining soil, and occasional watering to thrive.

3. Desert Rose

Few succulents can match the beauty of a Desert Rose. This caudex plant has bright green leaves and beautiful pink flowers that bloom throughout the year.

It is native to parts of Africa, Madagascar, and other regions. The desert rose requires full sun and well-draining soil to grow correctly.

A desert rose flowers.
This caudex plant has bright green leaves and beautiful pink flowers that bloom throughout the year.

It is often deciduous in winter. Therefore, it is crucial to bring the plant indoors if the temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Elephant’s Foot

The elephant’s foot is perhaps the most common type of caudex plant. It is native to parts of Africa and has thick stems and glossy green leaves.

The succulent gets its name because it looks like an elephant’s foot. This caudex plant is best suited for growing in containers and requires full sun, well-draining soil, and occasional watering to thrive.

5. Madagascar Palm

The Madagascar palm is another typical caudex plant. It has thick stems and bright green leaves that can reach up to twelve feet in height.

The plant is more tolerant to cold temperatures than other varieties and can be grown outdoors in temperate climates.

However, it will need protection from frost during the winter months. Feel free to expose it to full sun, as it can tolerate much more light than other caudex plants.

6. Buddha Belly Plant

The buddha belly is also known as the grout plant and is native to parts of Africa and Arabia. It has thick stems and large, round leaves that resemble a Buddha’s belly. This plant is easy to care for and can tolerate various soil types.

Buddha elephant plant in a pot.
It has thick stems and large, round leaves that resemble a Buddha’s belly.

It does require plenty of sunlight to grow properly. However, you must protect it from frost during the winter months. It does not require much care and can survive long periods without water.

Caring for Caudex Plants

Caring for caudex plants is relatively simple as long as you meet their basic needs. They require full sun and well-draining soil to prevent root rot.

Water your caudex plant about once a week or when the soil is dry. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once every two months to promote healthy growth.

Pruning is not necessary, but if you do prune, be sure to use sterilized tools to prevent the spread of infection.

Another essential aspect of routine care is to ensure your caudex plant has enough space for its roots to expand freely. Since most are slow-growing plants, they can stay in the same pot for about three to five years.

If you need to repot it, use a container one size up from its current home. For instance, if the plant is in a four-inch pot, use a five or six-inch pot when repotting. This will give its roots enough room to grow and maintain healthy growth.

Troubleshooting Caudex Plants for Trouble

These succulents are usually prone to rotting and weak/unseasonal growth. In fact, rotting is the main complication of caudex plants. The most common signs of rot are yellowing leaves, softening stems, and rotting roots.

If you notice any of these signs on your caudex plant, acting quickly and removing the affected parts is crucial. Be sure to check the soil drainage and make sure that the plant is not overwatered.

Additionally, ensure the container has enough drainage holes and is in an area that receives plenty of sunlight. With these simple steps, you can help your caudex plant stay healthy and thrive.

How to Propagate Caudex Plants

Propagating caudex plants is relatively easy. The easiest way to propagate them is by using stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, or division. Stem cuttings can be taken from the ends of the stems and placed in a sterile medium.

Leaf cuttings can also be taken and placed on a sterile medium, where they can form new roots that will eventually develop into new plants.

However, division is the most reliable way of propagating caudex plants. To do this, you must carefully remove the plant from its container and gently separate it into two or more sections.

A small desert rose.
The easiest way to propagate them is by using stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, or division.

You can then replant the sections in separate containers with well-draining soil and provide the necessary care.

If you are ambitious, you can also try propagating them through seed germination. Most caudex plants are slow growers, so it will take some time for the seeds to germinate.

On average, it takes around two to three months for caudex seeds to germinate and sprout. Once the seeds have sprouted, transfer them to individual containers and provide proper care.

How to Choose the Right Caudex Plant for Your Garden

When looking for a caudex plant to add to your garden, choosing one that fits your climate and space is vital. Consider the amount of sunlight, soil type, and temperature range when selecting a plant.

You should also consider how much maintenance you are willing to do—some caudex plants require regular pruning or repotting. In contrast, others need minimal attention to thrive.

Euphorbia Obesa in a pot.
You should consider how much maintenance you are willing to do—some caudex plants require regular pruning or repotting.

When you find the right plant for your garden, provide it with ample sunlight and water and watch as it grows into a beautiful succulent centerpiece.


Caudex plants are an exciting and easy-to-care-for addition to any garden. These unique plants come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, making them perfect for adding interest and variety to your landscape.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that can tolerate extended periods of drought, then a caudex plant might be the right option!

Last update on 2023-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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