Succulent plants are known for being attractive, hardy, and easy to maintain. Most of them can survive even when neglected. Typically, they do great in warm climates with plenty of sunlight and minimal water. Most of them are not suited to tropical climate conditions. They need relatively steady temperatures throughout the year with no extreme heat or cold periods.
So, will succulents grow in tropical climates? The answer is yes! Some succulent species can grow and thrive in different climatic conditions, including hot and humid tropical areas. While many succulent plants originate from arid regions, they are surprisingly adaptable to different climates. Some succulents even prefer tropical climates as long as they have access to plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil. Some common succulents that thrive in tropical climates include the monkey tail cactus, kalanchoe, aloe vera, sansevieria, and the string of pearls.
This blog post discusses everything you need to know about growing succulents in tropical climates.
Understanding the Tropical Climate
Before diving into how to care for succulents in tropical climates, let’s look at what tropical climate looks like.
Tropical climates are experienced between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
This area is known as the tropics and experiences high temperatures throughout the year with minimal seasonal variations. These areas also experience relatively high levels of humidity and rainfall.
The rainy season is between May and October, while the dry season is between November and April.
Temperatures are higher during the rainy season than during the dry season. The average annual rainfall in tropical climates is between 1,000 and 2,000 millimeters.
Most succulents that thrive in tropical climates are native to these regions. These plants have adapted to the unique conditions in the tropics and will survive quite well given proper care.
Which Succulents Will Survive in Tropical Climates?
As mentioned earlier, some succulents can do well in areas that experience tropical climate. Some of the most common succulents that can survive in this type of climate include:
Aloe Vera is a popular succulent known for its medicinal properties. This plant is native to tropical climates and can survive in temperatures of between 40-90oF.
It prefers bright light but should be placed away from direct sunlight since too much heat can damage it.
Keep the soil moist but consider watering it regularly during summer. However, you need to reduce watering during winter and let the soil dry out completely in between watering sessions.
It is also important to remember that Aloe Vera needs lots of ventilation to survive. Keep it away from areas with heavy air conditioning or heating. Instead, position it near a windowsill or balcony for adequate ventilation.
The Christmas cactus is native to the tropical forests of South America and is a popular choice for decorating homes during the winter holidays.
It prefers bright, indirect sunlight and should be placed in areas with temperatures of between 60-70oF.
The soil must stay constantly moist during the growing season and slightly dry during the dormant winter period. This succulent only needs a little fertilizer since most of its nutrients come from the organic potting mix.
It is essential to keep this cactus from cold drafts and direct sunlight during winter since it can cause discoloration of its leaves.
Pruning back the tips of the plant may encourage new growth and additional blooms. Given proper care, your Christmas Cactus will bloom in late fall or early winter
Monkey Tail Cactus
The monkey tail cactus is a famous succulent native to tropical forests in Mexico and Central America.
This unique cactus looks like a long monkey tail with pointed “fingers” at the end. It prefers bright indirect light, temperatures of around 75oF, and relatively moist soil for growth.
In its natural habitat, the monkey tail cactus grows on trees as an epiphyte. The succulent relies on the trees for support.
This succulent is a great option for tropical climates since it can tolerate high humidity levels and lots of sunlight.
The monkey tail cactus should be kept from cold drafts and direct sunlight when grown in a home environment. It must also be placed in a pot with good drainage, so the soil does not stay soggy for too long.
Minimize air conditioning or heating exposure and ensure it gets plenty of indirect sunlight. Although the monkey tail cactus can survive the whole year without fertilization, it is good to fertilize it once or twice a year.
Apply slow-release fertilizer during the active growth season, which is usually during spring or summer.
The Kalanchoe is native to tropical Africa, specifically Madagascar. It can survive in temperatures close to freezing but prefers warm and humid climates. The prefers lots of sunlight for growth and should be placed in bright areas with indirect light.
The soil should also be well-draining and consistently moist during the growing season. During the winter, you can let the soil dry out a bit.
Provide adequate ventilation around the plant to prevent humidity from getting too high since it can cause root rot.
The kalanchoe can benefit from fertilizer every month or two, especially during the active growing season.
Use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength and apply. The succulent also needs regular pruning to maintain its shape.
The Kalanchoe can flower any time of the year as long as the conditions are right. During the blooming season, provide lots of bright light and keep the temperature around 65-75oF
Crassula is a diverse and extensive family of succulents native to South Africa and Madagascar. It thrives in bright light but should be protected from direct sunlight, which can cause sunburn.
This succulent prefers warm temperatures, with ideal conditions ranging between 65-75oF.
Ensure the potting mix is well-draining and slightly dry between watering sessions. It does not need much fertilizer, but a light application of diluted liquid fertilizer during the active growing season can help promote flowering.
It is also important to remember that Crassula needs proper ventilation to thrive. Keep it away from air conditioning or heating and position it near a windowsill or balcony for adequate ventilation.
Consider pruning the plant at least once a year to encourage new growth and additional blooms.
String of Pearls
The string of pearls is an attractive trailing succulent native to South Africa. It does well in bright light and can tolerate temperatures between 50-70oF.
The soil should be well-draining and slightly dry between watering sessions. The string of pearls does not need much fertilizer to thrive. In fact, frequent feeding can cause severe to your plant.
The succulent requires proper ventilation to survive. Therefore, if you are growing it indoor, consider position it near a windowsill or balcony for adequate airflow.
Pruning the tips of the plant can encourage new growth and additional blooms. With proper care, your string of pearls will thrive and produce vibrant flowers throughout the year.
Sedum is another tropical succulent native to Africa, Asia, and Europe. It prefers bright light but should be kept away from direct sunlight since it can cause sunburns.
The potting mix should be well-draining and slightly dry between watering sessions. It does not need much fertilizer, but a light application of diluted liquid fertilizer during its active growing season can help promote blooms and leaf growth.
It is also important to remember that Sedum needs lots of ventilation to survive. Pruning or pinching back the tips of the plant can encourage new growth and additional blooms.
Top Care Tips for Tropical Succulents
Now that we know the type of succulents that can survive in tropical climates, let’s look at some tips on how to care for them:
- Provide bright, indirect sunlight and ensure the temperature never gets too hot or cold.
- Water your succulents regularly during summer, but let the soil dry out completely in between watering sessions.
- Fertilize your succulent once or twice a year with a balanced liquid fertilizer at half-strength.
- Keep your succulents away from air conditioners, heating vents, and other areas with poor ventilation.
Succulents are a diverse group of plants that can grow in various climates, including tropical climates.
While not all succulents thrive in a tropical climate, several varieties can survive under the right conditions.
If you live in a tropical climate and are interested in growing succulents, research which varieties are best suited for your area and provide them with the proper care.
Last update on 2023-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API