Even the biggest succulent fanatics can mix up the echeveria, sempervivum, and aeonium succulents! These bbs all belong to the Crassulaceae family, giving them similar colors and shapes. However, when you take a closer look at the details you can easily determine which bb you are dealing with.
These Mexico and South America natives are thick-leaved rosette bbs. You’ll find that echeveria succs have amazing rosettes with spoon-like plump leaves. Typically the very end of each leaf will have a waxy texture, pointy tip, and smooth edges.
Echeverias can bloom every year in the spring or early winter. At the top of each bloom, these bbs grow bell-shaped flowers ranging from pink, peach-orange, or even white or yellow. The stems of their blooms are long and slim. They are slow-growing plants and typically will not be larger than 12 inches tall.
If you are growing these babes indoors, always make sure the soil is extra dry in between waterings. Unglazed clay and terracotta pots help the soil dry out quickly because they allow the water to evaporate quickly. Echeveria succulents prefer dry desert conditions but can still grow with some moisture.
This European native gets its “no fuss” nickname for good reason – the name “sempervivum” literally means “live forever”! If you are looking for a succulent that is both colorful and resistant to frosty temperatures, this succ will be your bestie.
This variety of succ has a few recognizable traits that can help you pick her out from the rest. These bbs will have more narrow and pointy leaves. The edges of each leaf have a serrated edge, sometimes the jagged edges are so tiny that you’ll need a magnifying glass to see them!
You’ll notice that the sempervivum has a different blooming habit than the echeveria. It will only bloom once in its lifetime, when the blooms die so does the plant. If you want to extend your plants’ life, cut the blooming stalk as soon as possible. There is no guarantee this will save your plant because it can be difficult to catch the signs of blooming.
If a sempervivum does bloom, you’ll see beautiful star-shaped flowers growing from the center of the rosette rather than in between the leaves.
Most succulents of the aeonium variety are native to Atlantic Islands and some can even be found in Morocco and East Africa! These bbs are absolutely adorable and add major flair to your windowsill crew.
The most obvious difference between the other succulent varieties and the aeonium clan is spotted by looking at the rosette. Among these bbs, this succ species has the flattest leaves. Similar to the Echeveria, the aeonium has spoon-shaped leaves, but they are not quite as round as the other. These bbs typically have tiny teeth at the edge of each leaf, but they are hardly visible.
Aeonium succulents have similarly shaped flowers and blooming patterns as the sempervivum. Both of their flowers have a star shape and only bloom once. The aeonium will produce many offsets before flowering, giving you plenty of new plants to replace the dying mother plant.
Learning to identify succulents is just the tip of the iceberg! Check out our Succulent Care course to really dive into diverse information about succulents! It is a 4 section course that will increase your succulent knowledge beginning with the basics and then getting more advanced! Keep up with our blogs to be the best plant parent you can be!