30 Unusual And Rare Succulents You Should Know

Succulents are among the easiest plants to care for, as long as you give them enough sunlight and the right watering routine.

Not only that, but among the succulent group you can find some of the most unusual plants around, and their easy care makes it ideal to go looking for some of the most unusual, beautiful varieties.

It is worth mentioning that you do have to be careful where you buy these beautiful plants from.

There’s been an uptick in illegal plant poaching to meet demand, so always make sure you get your plants from a reputable source, especially if you’re in the market for rare succulents.

Interested in growing your own collection of weird and wonderful succulents? Here’s 30 of the most unusual and rare varieties to get you started.

Aeonium haworthii ‘Kiwi’

A striking tricolor aeonium, this colorful plant forms rosettes boasting variegated leaves in deep green and rich yellow, the succulent leaves edged in pink.

As an aeonium, it prefers indirect light, but the higher the light levels, the brighter and more obvious the variegation will be.

This particular variety is capable of reaching 2 feet tall.

Adromischus cristatus ‘Crinkle Leaf Plant’

The crinkled leaf plant, or Adromischus cristata, is a slow-growing, easy-going succulent with thick leaves that ruffle at the edges. 

It’s a more prominent version of Adromischus cooperi, which features similar leaves, but the ‘crinkling’ is less pronounced.

Depending on the light levels, the crinkle leaf plant will produce either dark green leaves or they’ll be paler, with a hint of silver and purple.

Adromischus maculatus ‘Calico Hearts’

Adromischus means ‘thick stem’. This particular variety, Adromischus maculatus, or the calico hearts succulent, produces bright green leaves with purple speckles. 

This variety is in a league of its own thanks to its heart-shaped leaves, adding a romantic look to an already great plant. 

It’s a slow-growing plant, so don’t expect off-sets or lots of new growth straight away.

Adromischus marianiae ‘Herrei’

‘Herrei’ features highly crinkled foliage, which is sure to make a feature in any succulent collection. It’s a fairly compact succulent, reaching 15cm tall once it matures. 

The real star of the show in this plant is the leaves. They resemble miniature gourds, in shades of red, purple, green, gray, or a combination of these.

The plant is also capable of flowering in the first few weeks of fall, where it will produce a flower spike that towers above the plant, a fitting stage to show off its petite pink blooms.

Othonna capensis ‘Ruby Necklace’

If you want a fast-growing, trailing succulent that produces lots of off-sets, you can’t go wrong with Othonna capensis, or the ruby necklace succulent.

The leaves, which are fairly small, are a real show-stopper. They resemble tiny cucumbers, taking on a purplish red hue in bright light, featuring purple stems.

If you prefer your succulents in different shades of green, you can get other varieties which are a powdery green, further highlighting the beautiful foliage on this plant.

If you buy a young Othonna capensis, you may notice that it’s not trailing. That’s because these beauties don’t start to trail until they get to about 5cm tall. 

What helps this plant’s popularity is its ability to bloom throughout the year, producing red flower stems and cheery yellow flowers. 

While it’s a fairly unusual succulent, it has the easy-going care that succulents are famous for (for another unusual type of succulent, try Growing The Tortoise Plant). It prefers infrequent watering where the soil will get a good soak in between completely dry periods.

While some people like to water their succulents little and often, this doesn’t do much for the roots.

When watered this way, the roots stay closer to the surface, which means the plant doesn’t have as good an anchorage as it should.

When you water your succulents deeply, the roots grow further down into the soil to ‘chase’ the water, which not only helps to keep the plant stable, but it also aids healthy growth.

Pachyphytum compactum ‘Little Jewel’

Pachyphytum (see also Moonstone Care Guide) plants grow in rock crevices. Little jewel features cheery bright green leaves, with a compact, neat rosette. 

The leaves are silvery, featuring prominent veins, turning purple at the leaf tips. 

Pachyphytum plants need lots of water, and they love full sun. They also require good drainage, and this is a must as the roots are particularly prone to root rot.

While they require plenty of water, it’s important that you let the soil dry out in between watering, otherwise you run the risk of killing the plant by overwatering it.

Conophytum subglobosum

While you may be fooled into thinking that Conophytum subglobosum is a type of lithops, as the plant looks very similar with stemless, pea-shaped leaves, it’s not actually related.

In the wild, this fantastic plant grows during the winter in the Western Cape of South Africa, where they’re found in gravel or rock crevices. 

These clever little plants have adapted to grow where the competition for light and water is practically non-existent. During the summer months, they receive very little water, if at all, so they manage when the fog descends, instead.

Ariocarpus Trigonus ‘Living Rock’

Ariocarpus Trigonus, or the living rock, is a rare succulent that comes from Mexico, and it’s the only Ariocarpus found outside the Chihuahuan Desert.

Like many succulents, it forms compact rosettes from its leaves, which are especially pointed.

While it needs plenty of sunshine to stop the plant from growing leggy, there is a point where it can get too much sun, at which point the plant’s leaves will scorch, and its health will suffer.

Keep it somewhere that gets plenty of light, but provides some shade and relief during the hottest part of the day. 

Your Ariocarpus will be fine in low humidity and cool temperatures. You should water your plant once it is completely dry. Don’t water it during winter, when the plant goes dormant.

Tephrocactus articulatus ‘Paper Spine Cactus’

You’ll have to be patient with this one, as the paper spine cactus is a slow-growing plant. What it lacks in rapid growth, it makes up for in its lovely appearance.

It features what you’d probably call typical column-shaped leaves, and that’s all that’s common about it. Along each column, it produces flat spines which look as if they are made from paper, and these start to curl as they get longer.

The plant produces beautiful, bell-shaped flowers that range in color from white to yellow.

Cacti require well-draining soil, patience, and lots of sunlight in order to grow and thrive. 

If you’re lucky to live somewhere hot, you can keep the paper spine cactus outside as a potted plant all year round.

Haworthia Truncata v. Maughanii

This beautiful haworthia features thick, trunk-like leaves, which nearly become transparent at their tips.

These parts of the leaf are called ‘fenestrations’, one of the defining traits of a haworthia, which allows the leaves to survive fierce sunlight without being scorched.  

Like many cultivars, this variety grows slowly, but no matter the age of your Haworthia truncata v. maughanii, it will make a great addition to any succulent collection.

Haworthias are also great for indoor planting, where there aren’t strong enough light levels to sustain more demanding succulents.

Echeveria x Imbricata

Echeveria x Imbricata is one of the most sought after, beautiful, and versatile succulent hybrid types.

It’s a very stable and robust variety, which makes it easy to maintain. It features the typical rosette-form of an echeveria, though the leaves are very compact, making for a tidy growth habit.

Typically, it’s a slow-growing succulent, which will freely produce offset plants in time, allowing you to expand your succulent collection fairly easily.

Echeveria x imbricata ‘Compton Carousel’

One of the most popular echeverias around, Echeveria x imbricata ‘Compton Carousel’ is a beautiful and rare variety, and it’s not difficult to see why it’s so sought-after.

The leaves have a high level of variegation, featuring deep green centers and buttery yellow edges. In bright light, the plant will also take on a hint of pink at the leaf tips.

Haworthia cuspidata variegata

Haworthia plants are lovely in their own right, but what really brings out how special the leaves are is when they are variegated. 

Haworthia cuspidata variegata  features rich green leaves, some of which are speckled with a greenish yellow, others which are entirely saturated in it.

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii ‘Purple Moon Cactus’

One of the easiest cacti you can grow, Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, or the purple moon cactus, features lots of ribs and plenty of spines along the edges (see also How To Grow The Moon Cactus).

What sets this particular cactus apart is the several colors featured in its body, consisting of a silvery green, with red and white highlights.

It’s a very compact cactus, only reaching about 4cm tall by 6cm wide once the plant has matured.

When given the right conditions, the purple moon cactus will flower, usually in a buttery yellow or a greenish yellow. These flowers appear at the apex of the cactus, softening the appearance of the spined ribs. 

Albuca spiralis ‘Frizzle Sizzle’

Also known as the sticky corkscrew lily, the helicopter plant, or the spiral albuca, this plant is part of the asparagus family, featuring succulent leaves which look like corkscrews.

These unique bulbs will produce one or two flower spikes, featuring pendant, pale yellow flowers, cascading toward the leaves. 

One thing to mention: don’t try to propagate this plant from the leaves as you would with a typical succulent, as it simply won’t work. You’ll need to divide the bulbs, instead.

Aloinopsis luckhoffii

If you prefer your succulents low-growing and compact, Aloinopsis luckhoffii is a good option to consider.

It’s a mat-forming succulent, featuring clustered rosettes of green to purple leaves, speckled with gray dots, and featuring small white teeth on the upper edges of the leaves.

In the right conditions, it will bloom with daisy-like flowers, capable of reaching 3cm wide, in yellow, coppery orange or pink.

Cotyledon orbiculata var. flanaganii f. variegata

Native to South Africa, this is a very rare, variegated form of Cotyledon orbiculata var. flanaganii. It’s a branching succulent which boasts oblong, grayish leaves, speckled with yellow.

As the plant matures, it adopts a crimson tint on the edges of the leaves.   

Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Pig’s Ear Plant’

As you can imagine, the unusually rounded shape of the leaves on this Cotyledon resemble a Pig’s ear, in a lovely purplish, silvery green. 

As each leaf matures, it starts to curl in at the edges, making for a striking plant in any collection.

Crassula x rupestris f. marnieriana ‘Hottentot’

The Crassula plant family is known for its unusual succulents, and ‘Hottentot’ is one of the more unique varieties. 

This is a trailing form of the jade necklace vine, with tiny leaves that resemble beads tightly strung together, or strange worms, depending on how close you are to the plant!

In bright light, a silvery gray leaf can adopt a red or pink edge, highlighting the unique shape of each leaf.

As if that wasn’t enough, if you give this plant the right conditions, it will produce white flowers, too.

Crassula perforata variegata

Another trailing crassula plant, this one is much larger, and features wide leaves that end in points, where you’re actually able to see the stem.

It’s also more of an upright succulent, but that doesn’t make it any less suitable for hanging pots, where it will still hold its own.

The loveliness of this plant comes in with its variegation, featuring bright green leaves with pink edges and a hint of yellow.

It is worth pointing out that the lower leaves will lose their variegation as they get older.

Echeveria gibbiflora ‘Barbillion’

This is a very unusual echeveria, and exactly what makes it different can either make you love it, or absolutely hate it.

The leaves feature a unique texture. Instead of the usual, smooth and pointed leaves that we know and love in echeverias, this cultivar features uneven, knobbled tissue on the foliage.

Another interesting aspect of this echeveria is that it can change color depending on the season and growing conditions.

One thing to note: if you like your echeverias to produce offsets as it grows, don’t go for this variety, as it stays single-stemmed. 

Echeveria ‘Sea Dragon’

Another echeveria famed for its uneven leaves, ‘Sea Dragon’ features the same, volcanic-like texture in its bluish foliage, but what really sets it apart is its ruffled leaf tips. 

These soft edges take on a pink hue in bright light.

Each leaf is capable of reaching 20cm long with the right amount of light, and the rosette will grow to a maximum of 30cm tall.

Echeveria ‘Vincent Catto’

A vigorous grower which will produce plenty of offsets during its lifetime, ‘Vincent Catto’ looks more like a houseleek or a sempervivum than an echeveria, with very compact, circular rosettes with small, tightly stacked leaves.

Euphorbia flanaganii f. cristata ‘Green Coral’

Also known as the crested Medusa’s head succulent, this euphorbia (see also Euphorbia Resinifera Care for another unusual euphorbia) develops a very wide and compact central shoot, from which clusters of elongated, spiked leaves form, looking like snakes on Medusa’s head.

Faucaria felina ‘Pebbled Tiger Jaws’

The leaves of this stunning, compact succulent are edged in soft, mean-looking teeth, and the way they cluster looks like a prehistoric animal has taken over the plant’s container.

While being a gorgeous plant in its own right, it also produces bright yellow flowers if you give it the right conditions, only adding to the plant’s unique looks.

Fenestraria rhopalophylla ‘Baby Toes’

One of the strangest-looking plants on this list, its appearance will either make you love it or hate it. ‘Baby Toes’ is a compact plant, featuring club-shaped foliage, which features fenestration on the tops, similar to a haworthia.

This plant will also produce blooms with pointed petals, and yellow central eyes.

Kalanchoe rhombopilosa ‘Pies From Heaven’

While you might be familiar with the kalanchoe as the ‘Flaming Katy’, producing deep green leaves with a plethora of flowers, there are other note-worthy plants in the same genus (see also our Calandiva Grow Guide).

‘Pies From Heaven’ couldn’t look more different, with silver leaves speckled with burgundy. Each leaf is frilled at the edges, not dissimilar to the edges of a dessert pie, hence the common name!

Lenophyllum guttatum

Hailing from Mexico, Lenophyllum guttatum is an interesting plant which comes under the Crassula family of succulents.

It features silvery, light pink or bronze leaves, featuring tiny specks of deep red at the edges of the leaves.

Monilaria moniliformis ‘Bunny Succulent’

This is a unique, branching succulent that can stop anyone in their tracks. The stems of the plant are woody, almost looking like old, weathered wooden beads.

The star of the plant is its leaves. While the foliage doesn’t live long, it adds some much-needed color at the very tops of the branches, with bright green spheres, where two tiny leaves emerge, looking like fuzzy bunny ears.

Senecio barbertonicus ‘Himalaya’

For a densely packed, branching shrub, you could do worse than Senecio barbertonicus, which features lime green pointed leaves, looking like an explosion of green tendrils emerging from the plant pot.

It will reach about 20cm tall, spreading to about the same width.

It’s also capable of flowering, producing sweetly fragranced, sunshine-yellow flowers in summer.

Xerosicyos danguyi ‘Silver Dollar Plant’

Hailing from the drier regions of Madagascar, this succulent loves long, dry spells, and balmy temperatures.

It’s a climbing vine which features thick stems and leaves which look like coins, hence the common name.

Final Thoughts

Succulents are captivating plants that can amaze with their sheer variety and different types available.

It’s very easy to expand your succulent collection without piling on more to your to-do list, as they need very little care in order to thrive.

Just make sure that you get your succulents from a reputable source, especially if you go for the rarer plants. This ensures that you get them from a sustainable source, otherwise you risk buying plants that have been illegally poached from the wild.

With many cultivars being developed every year by enthusiasts around the world, it isn’t difficult to build up your own indoor succulent garden, which can transform and expand with the years. 

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