Succulents are known for their fleshy leaves and diverse look. These hardy plants have mastered the art of propagating in the most unlikely places in nature. If you are already familiar with growing succulents, you may wonder just how long they live.

Often, you can maximize the lifespan of your succulent by meeting its specific needs regarding soil, water, and sunlight exposure. There are also different requirements for indoor versus outdoor succulents. Listing the lifespan of the thousands of known succulent plants would be nearly impossible. However, this article provides information about some of the most popular succulents as a point of reference.

So, Just How Long Do Succulents Live? 

Whether you are planting succulents or maintaining your existing garden, it’s important to research the needs of your specific plants. The lifespan and ideal growing conditions vary greatly among different plants in this category.

Here are the lifespans of some of the more popular succulents:

  • Barrel Cacti live for centuries!
  • The Jade Plant averages 70 to 100 long years
  • Living Stones survive up to 50 years
  • Christmas Cacti live 30+ years
  • Aloe Vera plants live between 5 and 25 years
  • Ubiquitous Hens and Chicks live more than three years

Here’s a closer look at some of these species.

Barrel Cactus

This cylindrical barrel cactus can live a long time—up to 50 years under the right growing conditions! The spines of these cacti come in a variety of colors, and these desert dwellers love bright sunlight. However, too much direct sunlight can burn them. To make them happy, plant them in well-drained soil.

barrel cactus
Golden barrel cactus with flower buds at the top at the sunset growing in rock.


Echeverias develop beautiful evergreen foliage, and they are popular in terrariums and floral arrangements. This colorful plant is a great choice for indoor succulents. Note that the lifespan of these plants varies greatly depending on their growing and living conditions. So, you can enjoy your plant for up to three years or as long as several decades.

Echeverias love lots of light and require four to five hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal health. Avoid overwatering these plants and place them in well-drained soil.

miniature echeveria plants
Miniature Echeveria succulent plants in pots.


Many plant lovers grow aloe for medicinal uses. This plant has serrated leaves that range in color from green to gray, and it grows up to 2 feet tall. A well-cared-for aloe plant can live for up to 25 years. These plants are relatively easy to grow and make great choices for first-time gardeners.

aloe vera plant
Aloe vera plant in modern design pot.

Living Stones

Lithops, better known as living stones, originated in South Africa. At first glance, they look like large pebbles, but they are long-lived succulents with a lifespan of up to 50 years. As a bonus, living stones are very low maintenance.

These plants grow best in low humidity and don’t require frequent watering. They thrive in areas with up to four to five hours of direct sunlight per day and do best in well-drained soil.

lithops cactus
Multicolor Lithops succulent cactus plants.

Christmas Cactus (Schlumergera)

This type of cactus develops pink, white, or red flowers, and it’s very popular in Brazil. Christmas cacti can live approximately 20 years when you give them proper care and attention. They are finicky when it comes to water usage. For best results, we recommend feeling the topsoil. If it feels dry, water the plants until the top layer of soil feels moist.

It’s also important to ensure that your pot has enough drainage to prevent root rot. If you plant them outside in the soil, ensure proper drainage to promote the cactus’ health and longevity. Additionally, like many other succulents, these colorful cacti love several hours of direct sunlight.

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) in a pot on the windowsill.

Crown of Thorns

Euphorbia, or a Crown of Thorns, gets its name from the plant’s thorny branches. These succulents live up to 20 years. This is a particularly easy plant to grow indoors. Just put them near the nearest sunny window where they’ll get about four hours of sunlight per day.

Euphorbia trigona, African milk tree, or cathedral cactus is a perennial succulent plant.

Prolonging the Life of Your Succulent

Often, the lifespan of your succulent comes down to proper care or lack thereof. So, to keep your succulent plants alive and healthy, provide the ideal conditions for each species.

If you want your succulents to thrive, give them plenty of space to expand and grow. It’s tempting to place several of these unique plants in a single container or clumped together in your outdoor garden. However, it’s important to space them apart enough to give each plant room to expand and receive the proper amount of sunlight.

With the right amount of space, each plant has the opportunity to develop a strong root system and resilient stems. This can help the succulents resist root rot and other diseases.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Feel the soil around the succulent. If it’s completely dry, the plant requires more water.
  • Plant your succulents in well-drained soil.
  • Not all succulents require fertilizer. Those that do often do well on low-nitrogen fertilizers.
  • Take precautions against pests such as aphids, scale insects and mealybugs that love succulents.
  • Keeping the stems and leaves dry to avoid root rot.
  • For best results, avoid temperatures higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Follow the tips of the commercial nursery where you buy your succulents. For example, many plants come with cards that provide information on caring for them.

Following these tips can keep your succulents alive to reach their full life span so that you’ll have them around to enjoy for many years to come.

how long do succulent live


How long does it take for succulents to grow in water?

It may take two to six weeks for succulents to sprout in water. check the jar or bowl frequently to ensure that the water doesn’t evaporate.

How long can succulents live without soil?

Succulents can live for a couple of days or up to a week without soil. In order to prolong the lifespan of succulents removed from the soil, provide plenty of moisture and place them in a cool, semi-dry environment.

What is the timeframe to water succulents?

Outdoor and indoor succulents have different needs when it comes to a watering schedule. Also, outdoor succulents may need more water in warm, dry weather. Generally, you’ll need to water your succulents every seven to 10 days.

How much sunlight do succulents need?

Succulents love lots of sunlight. However, oddly enough, most species don’t do well in continuous direct sunlight. Instead, bright, indirect sunlight can increase the longevity of your aloe, cacti, hens and chicks, and other succulents.

Research the type of succulents you’re raising to determine how much direct sunlight they need every day. Since many succulents come from desert regions, they can handle direct sunlight for several hours a day. However, these plants also require more moderate temperatures at least a portion of the day. So, you can position them in areas that receive shade in the morning and evening. For example, some growers place them close to walls that cast a shadow over the plants for much of the day.

Final Words

Now you know how to properly care for your succulents and have a good idea of how long different members of this cactus plant family can live. Hopefully, you will find this information useful in choosing your first succulent plant to raise indoors or outdoors. You can also use this guide to help you choose succulents with traditionally long life spans.