flowers / care-guides / colorful succulents

September 7, 2018

11 Colorful Succulents To Make Your Garden Pop

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Succulents are normally known for their rich green color, but did you know that there are a wide variety of colorful succulents? You can find vibrant red succulents, muted blue succulents and many colors in between. Some also have beautiful accent colors like yellow, white and black. Mixing up your terrarium or planter with unique succulents is an easy way to incorporate pops of color into your home and garden.

We selected some of the best colorful succulents to brighten up your space. Before you jump in, take some time to learn about why succulents change color and how you should take care of your plants.

Why does my succulent change colors?

Succulents change color based on a few factors: sun, water and temperature. The right amount of each can drastically change the appearance of your plant. Take a look at these three factors to learn why your succulents are changing color and what you can do to help their colors show.

echeveria purple succulent


Succulents are more vibrantly colored if they are exposed to sun. This is because plants react to the sun similar to the way our skin does. Our body produces more melanin when we’re in the sun to give us a tan and prevent our skin from burning. Plants have similar pigments that prevent them from burning.

When under environmental stress, like an extended period of direct sunlight without water, plants produce anthocyanins and carotenoid to protect themselves. Anthocyanins gives plants their red, blue or purple color. Carotenoids give plants a yellow or orange color. Keep your succulents in bright, direct sunlight to help bring out their color.

small succulent in terra cotta pot in dirt


You can also bring out a plant’s color with water. You may notice that your colored succulent reverts back to a deep green color after giving it proper care. Succulents actually need to have a little “stress” to bring out the colors.

This means that you may need to water your plant less frequently to help its color shine. The key is to make sure you deprive your plant just enough to let its color show, but not to the point that it dies! Let your succulent’s soil dry completely between waterings to safely do this.

blue echeveria colorful succulent on wood table


Colder temperatures can also bring out colors in succulents. Most plants typically have slow growth in the colder seasons and change color and shape to adapt to the drop in temperature. Darker colors attract heat, which helps plants survive in cooler temperatures. This is why leaves change color in the fall and why some succulents change color in cold temperatures.

If you feel like your succulent is under too much stress, you can check out our guide to reviving a plant to see what you can do to help. For example, you can water your succulent and place it in a humid area if you feel like it is dying of thirst.

Above all else, make sure you double-check your succulents specific care needs before making any changes. It’s important to do this since succulents can show their colors for any (or all) of these reasons.

What colors do most succulents come in?

Succulents come in many shades of purple, blue and red. Read on to learn more about what kinds of succulents come in each color.

Purple Succulents

purple colorful succulents sempervivum tectorum

1. Purple Beauty (Sempervivum tectorum var. purple beauty)

Sempervivums are also called the hens-and-chicks succulent since they produce offspring called “chicks.” The purple hens-and-chicks features a star-shaped rosette with purple shading. These colorful succulents are normally placed outdoors in large planters. They’re more cold-tolerant than most other succulents and appear more purple during cooler months.

  • Height: .25 to .5 feet

  • Spread: .5 to 1 feet

  • Flowers: Pink

colorful succulents trandescantia pallida

2. Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida)

The T. Pallidat is also known as the purpurea and the purple heart wandering Jew. Purple hearts are commonly used to as groundcover or edging plants. Their lush foliage is also ideal for hanging baskets. However, these plants have brittle stems so it’s best to keep them in an area where you won’t brush into them.

  • Height: .5 to 2 feet

  • Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

  • Flowers: Pale pink

purple colorful succulents perle von nurnberg

3. Perle von Nürnberg (Echeveria gibbiflora x Echeveria elegans)

The Perle von Nurnberg is a popular plant for weddings and bridal bouquets. Its light color and beautiful rosette help it blend right in with floral arrangements. The echeveria purple pearl and echeveria afterglow are two purple succulents you may want to consider for your garden or bouquet.

  • Height: .5 to 1 feet

  • Spread: .5 to .75 feet

  • Flowers: Coral pink

purple colorful succulents santa rita prickly pear

4. Santa Rita Prickly Pear (Opuntia santa rita)

The O. Santa rita blooms beautiful yellow flowers that make an intriguing point of interest for any garden. Santa rita prickly pears are ideal for rock gardens and cactus gardens. Allow its soil to dry between waterings or else its purple color will begin to fade.

  • Height: 4 to 8 feet

  • Spread: 6 to 10 feet

  • Flowers: Yellow

Blue Succulents

colorful succulents blue senecio serpens

5. Blue Chalksticks (Senecio serpens)

These fleshy plants are perfect for small edging or groundcover. S. serpens are your go-to plant if you want to balance out bold, colorful succulents with a more relaxing color. Blue chalksticks can show a slight purple tint if they are exposed to enough direct sunlight. The increased sunlight in the summer helps them bloom small white flowers.

  • Height: .75 to 2 feet

  • Spread: 1 to 3 feet

  • Flowers: White

colorful succulents blue agave attenuata ocahui

6. Blue Glow (Agave attenuata x Agave ocahui)

Agave plants are another type of succulent that come in a variety of blue colors. The agave blue glow has blue-green leaves with yellow and red edges. These elegant succulents are commonly found along walkways and decorative planters. It’s quite a sight to see them “glow” when they are backlit by the sun.

  • Height: 1 to 2 feet

  • Spread: 2 to 3 feet

  • Flowers: Yellow

blue colorful succulents sedum reflexum

7. Blue Spruce (Sedum reflexum)

The S. reflexum is another blue-green succulent that loosely resembles spruce trees. The blue spruce sprouts yellow flowers in the early summer. This combination of colors make it an eye-catching choice for walkways and containers. Its fast growth makes it an excellent choice to cover empty spots in your garden.

  • Height: .25 to .75 feet

  • Spread: 1 to 2 feet

  • Flowers: Yellow

Red Succulents

red colorful succulents crassula capitella

8. Campfire Plant (Crassula capitella)

These bold succulents have fleshy, bright red leaves when they are fully matured. They grow dainty white flowers in the summer that make them a delicate addition to any container garden. The C. capitella is also ideal for small planters if you want to add a pop of color to your home with a low-maintenance plant. It is also known as the “Red Pagoda.”

  • Height: .25 to .75 feet

  • Spread: 2 to 3 feet

  • Flowers: White

red colorful succulents kalanchoe luciae

9. Desert Cabbage (Kalanchoe luciae)

K. luciae is known as the flapjack or paddle plant because of its fleshy, round leaves. Its prominent leaves are further accented with strong red hues along the plant’s exterior. It grows radiant yellow flowers in between the later winter and early spring. This makes it a cheery plant to have in your home or garden when you’re waiting out the cold winter months.

  • Height: .5 to 2 feet

  • Spread: .75 to 2 feet

  • Flowers: Yellow

red colorful succulents echeveria agavoides

10. Lipstick (Echeveria agavoides)

The E. agavoides dons bright red edges with lots of direct sunlight. These small garden plants closely resemble agave and makes a great alternative choice if you want a similar look without the large size. The flowers from a lipstick succulent are pink with hints of dark yellow along the petals’ edges

  • Height: .25 to .75 feet

  • Spread: .75 to 2 feet

  • Flowers: Red

red colorful succulents euphorbia tirucalli

11. Sticks on Fire (Euphorbia tirucalli)

The vivid sticks on fire succulent stands out in gardens thanks to its color, density and height. These colorful succulents loosely resemble bright sea coral and add vibrant texture in contrast to plants with fuller leaves and foliage. Its red color is brightest in the winter and takes on a yellow tone in warmer weather.

  • Height: 4 to 8 feet

  • Spread: 3 to 10 feet

  • Flowers: Yellow


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