Succulent Hunting: Where to Find Rare and Exotic Varieties for Your Collection

Succulents are popular houseplants that come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. If you're a succulent enthusiast looking for rare and exotic varieties to add to your collection, here are some places to start your succulent hunting
A topsy debbie.

If you are convinced that you have had enough collection of succulents, you need to pause and think again. The succulent family has so many species for collection. In fact, some people have turned succulent hunting into a perfect hobby. Succulent hunting involves searching for rare and unusual varieties of these unique plants in their natural habitat or plant stores.

So, where can one find rare and exotic succulent varieties for their collection? First, you need to list some of the best rare succulent species you want to go after. The list may include succulents such as the baseball plant, disco cactus subterraneo-proliferans, plover eggs plant, and crinkle leaf plant. Once you have your list, it is time to step out and start hunting for these precious plants. Some of the best places to buy rare succulents include Mountain Crest Gardens, Harddy, Succulents Box, Succulent Market, and The Succulent Source. You can also find them in online plant forums, rare plant shows, botanical gardens, and specialty nurseries.

This article will provide an overview of how and where to go on a successful succulent hunt. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

What Is Rare/ Exotic Succulent?

A rare succulent is a succulent plant that is uncommon and difficult to find in homes or its natural habitat. Several factors contribute to the rarity of succulents:

1. Limited Distribution

Some succulents have a restricted natural distribution, meaning they are found only in specific regions or habitats.

These plants may be endemic to a particular area or found in isolated pockets, making them naturally scarce.

A zebra plant.
Some succulents have a restricted natural distribution.

Limited distribution can be due to specific climatic requirements or habitat destruction.

2. Slow Growth and Low Propagation

Certain succulents have slow growth rates, making them rare to find on the market.

Additionally, these plants may be challenging to propagate, requiring specialized techniques such as grafting, offsets, or leaf cuttings.

The combination of slow growth and low propagation rates contributes to their rarity.

3. A rarity in the Wild

Succulents that are rare in their natural habitats due to habitat loss, over-collection, or environmental changes also become scarce in homes.

These plants may face threats like deforestation, urbanization, or climate change, reducing their overall population and making them rare in their native and cultivated settings.

4. Unique Characteristics

Some succulents are considered rare due to their unique characteristics. This could include unusual growth patterns, distinct leaf shapes or colors, or the presence of rare genetic mutations.

These distinctive traits make them highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, increasing their rarity and value.

5. Limited Availability

Certain rare succulents may be available only through specialized nurseries, botanical gardens, or dedicated collectors.

These plants may have limited commercial production or be part of conservation efforts, making them harder for the general public to find. Limited availability contributes to their rarity and exclusivity.

PS: It’s worth noting that the concept of rarity can be subjective and may vary depending on factors such as geographical location, availability, and popularity among collectors. What is considered rare in one region or community may be more common in another.

What Are Some of the Best Rare Succulents?

Before you start hunting for these succulents, you need to know what you are looking for and what makes them rare or exotic.

We have compiled a list of some of the best rare succulents to provide a good starting point.

1. Baseball Plant

The “baseball plant” is a common name for Euphorbia obesa, a succulent species native to the arid regions of South Africa.

The baseball plant gets its name from its spherical shape, which resembles a baseball or a bowling ball.

A Euphorbia obesa.
A succulent species native to the arid regions of South Africa.

It has a compact, globular body that can reach a diameter of around 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 cm). This shape is relatively uncommon among succulents and contributes to its visual appeal.

The succulent has a slow growth rate, adding to its rarity. It can take several years for the plant to reach its mature size, with each new growth ring appearing as a distinctive vertical ridge on the surface of the plant.

The baseball plant has a pale green to bluish-green hue, accentuated by patterns of vertical ribs and grooves on its surface.

These ribs give it an exciting and attractive texture, adding to its appeal as a rare succulent. The coloration and patterning vary among individuals, making each plant unique.

2. Plover Eggs Plant

The Plover Eggs Plant, scientifically known as Adromischus cooperi, is a rare succulent native to South Africa. It derives its common name from the appearance of its leaves, which resemble tiny plover eggs.

 Adromischus cooperi in a pot.
It derives its common name from the appearance of its leaves, which resemble tiny plover eggs.

The succulent features small, rounded leaves that are pale green to grayish-green. The leaves have distinctive spots or markings resembling the speckled pattern on bird eggs.

The Plover Eggs Plant is highly valued for its unique leaf texture and pattern.

3. Graptoveria ‘Topsy Debbie’

‘Topsy Debbie’ is a rare succulent hybrid resulting from a cross between two genera, Graptopetalum and Echeveria.

This unique plant showcases a compact rosette shape with thick, fleshy leaves. The leaves exhibit captivating coloration, ranging from pale blue to lavender, with hints of pink or purple along the edges.

‘Topsy Debbie’ is highly sought after for its attractive appearance and ability to form dense clusters. Its rarity is due to limited propagation and availability, making it a prized addition to succulent collections.

4. Giant Quiver Tree

The Giant Quiver Tree, scientifically known as Aloidendron pillansii, is a rare succulent tree native to Southern Africa. It is distinguished by its massive size, reaching up to 30 feet (9 meters).

The tree derives its name from the traditional use of its hollowed branches by indigenous people to store quivers for their arrows.

A  Aloidendron pillansii.
It is distinguished by its massive size, reaching up to 30 feet (9 meters).

The Giant Quiver Tree has a thick, succulent trunk covered in rough, cork-like bark, and it produces thick, sword-shaped leaves that are bluish-gray or green.

5. Echeveria gibbiflora ‘Barbillion’

This rare succulent, also known as the Barbillion Echeveria, is a unique variety of Echeveria gibbiflora.

It stands out due to its large, rosette-shaped structure and stunning coloration. The plant forms multiple thick, fleshy leaves that can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, creating an eye-catching display.

‘Barbillion’ is characterized by its vibrant hues, ranging from deep purples to rich reds and greens.

6. Crinkle Leaf Plant

The Crinkle Leaf Plant, also known as Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, is a rare succulent found in the arid regions of South Africa.

It grows in high-altitude areas between 6,000 and 13,000 feet (1,800 to 4,000 meters) above sea level. This plant features large rosettes of thick, crinkled leaves with an interesting, furrowed texture and a grayish-green hue.

A Kalanchoe thyrsiflora.
A rare succulent found in the arid regions of South Africa.

Due to overcollection and deforestation, the Crinkle Leaf Plant is one of the rarest succulents in its habitat. It’s highly valued for its unique appearance and has become a prized addition to collections worldwide.

Where Can I Find These Rare Succulents?

Now that you know some of the best rare succulents, you may be wondering where to find them. Here are some places to check out:

1. Specialty Succulent Nurseries

Specialty nurseries specializing in rare and exotic succulents are a great place to look for unique plants.

They typically offer the widest selection of unusual varieties, many of which are difficult to find elsewhere.

Some nurseries even offer online ordering, making it easy to get your hands on these rare plants.

2. Online Plant Markets and Communities

Numerous online platforms, such as eBay or Etsy, specialize in selling rare succulents. These marketplaces often feature a wide selection of unique varieties from around the world.

Moreover, there are numerous online communities dedicated to succulents where you can find experienced collectors with valuable knowledge and tips.

Joining these groups is a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest rare varieties available for sale or trade.

3. Plant Shows

Did you know that there are plant shows specifically for rare succulents? These events feature vendors selling a variety of unusual and one-of-a-kind plants.

It’s the perfect place to meet like-minded collectors and find and purchase some truly unique plants.

The only challenge you may face is that these shows are often held in specific locations and tend to be intermittent, so you’ll need to research events near you in advance.

4. Friends and Family

Another great source of rare succulents is your friends and family. Ask around to see if anyone you know has a unique plant they may be willing to share or sell.

Often, the most unique plants can be found in personal collections rather than nurseries or markets.

Consider organizing a plant exchange with colleagues or your local gardening club to meet fellow succulent enthusiasts and get access to rare specimens.

5. Botanical Gardens

Many botanical gardens around the world use their space to grow and preserve rare and endangered plants, including succulents.

Visiting these gardens is a great way to get the chance to see an impressive variety of rare species in person.


Rare succulents are highly sought after due to their unique appearance and limited availability. This makes them great additions to collections and can add a touch of exotic beauty to your home or garden.

These plants can be found in specialty succulent nurseries, online markets, and communities, plant shows, friends and family collections, and botanical gardens.

With a bit of searching, you’ll surely find the perfect rare succulent for your home or garden!

Last update on 2024-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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