Most people don’t think that succulents can grow tall. But, you would be surprised to learn that there are many varieties that can grow up to enormous heights. The majority of these are cacti but there are others too.
Bear in mind that these succulents have a natural tendency to grow tall. This is different to succulents that stretch out to find more sunlight. These can become quite leggy and elongated.
So, let’s look at the succulents that are natural tall growers. I’ve compiled a list of 16 for you.
Succulents That Grow Tall: Our Favorite 16
1. Fishhook Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus wislizeni)
Origin: Northern Mexico
This cactus has a barrel shaped body and spines that are long and hooked. Like a lot of other species of cacti, the flowers and fruit grow at the top of the plant.
It’s natural life-span is around 50 – 100 years. Plus, it can reach a diameter of up to 30 inches.
The Fishhook Barrel cactus is easy to grow and doesn’t require a lot of care. As long as you have the correct soil, it will thrive in most arid garden settings. Plus, it’s actually quite easy to propagate from seed.
2. Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)
The Golden Barrel cactus is so named because of it’s barrel-like shape. It’s an attractive cactus with long, sharp spines. It requires very little care once it’s planted in the right spot. Like all cacti, it thrives in an arid garden with adequate sunlight.
You can propagate this cactus from seed or purchase it as a small plant. It’s quite a slow growing cactus once it gets established. You may also find that it multiplies by growing “pups” from the base.
3. Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)
Origin: Northern Mexico and Southwestern United States
Sometimes known as the Vine Cactus, the Ocotillo plant is not actually a true cactus. It branches heavily from the base. Then, further branches develop along these until there are just a network of branches all over the plant.
In dry conditions, these branches often look like dead twigs. However, when it rains, they quickly green up and produce bright red flowers in spring and summer. Both hummingbirds and carpenter bees are attracted to these flowers.
This succulent is drought-tolerant and easy to grow.
4. Palmer’s Agave (Agave palmeri)
Origin: Mexico and Arizona
Although the Palmer’s Agave plant may only grow to about 5 feet in height, the flower stalks can reach a height of 16 feet. Unfortunately, this succulent only flowers once at the end of its life which is anywhere from 5 to 15 years.
It’s mainly grown for its attractive appearance as a blue-green landscaping plant. It’s quite hardy and requires very little water except in very hot, dry conditions.
5. Giant Agave (Agave salmiana)
Origin: North America and Mexico
The leaves of this agave are quite fleshy and flat. They are broader than the leaves of the Palmer’s Agave. As with other agave species, it only flowers once after about 15 – 25 years. The flower stalk can reach a height of around 13 feet.
This agave prefers a slightly more protected environment and will do best in a semi-shaded position. This makes it a great landscaping plant for areas that don’t receive full sun.
It only requires watering every 2 to 3 weeks in summer and minimal fertilizer.
6. Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)
Origin: Mexico, Arizona and parts of California
This is probably one of the most well-known species of cacti with its tree-like structure and long upright arms. It can live as long as 200 years and is very slow-growing.
Saguaro produces white flowers that open at night and fleshy red fruit that is edible.
7. Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)
Origin: Mexico, Central and South America
This succulent is called Queen of the Night because its white, fragrant flowers only bloom at night. It prefers indirect sunlight rather than growing in full sun. However, to get it to flower, it does need just the right amount of light.
It’s very easy to propagate from seed or stem cuttings. Bear in mind though, that you will need to provide some support for the long stems that are naturally designed to grab onto trees.
8. Senita Cactus (Pachycereus schottii)
Origin: Mexico and Arizona
The Senita is quite a striking cactus with its long, columnar stems. These stems are generally gray-green with a waxy surface. This is another cactus that blooms at night with flowers that are greenish-white underneath and pink inside. The cactus also produces red edible fruits.
Being a heat-tolerant cactus, the Senita does not tolerate cold conditions or frosts. Other than that, this succulent is easy-to-grow and requires minimal care.
9. Burbank’s Spineless Cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica)
An almost spineless cactus, Burbank has fleshy pads with orange flowers. It also produces fleshy, red fruit that are edible. The pads are edible as well and are commonly called “nopales” in Mexican cuisine.
This cactus is drought-tolerant and easy to grow. It can be easily propagated from cuttings and tolerates full sun as well as partial shade.
10. Firesticks (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Rosea’)
Origin: North Africa
Firesticks makes a very striking landscaping plant with its pencil-thin stems that are green at the base and redish-brown on the tips. Hence, its common name of “Sticks of Fire”.
This succulent prefers to grow in full sun and loves a well-drained soil. It’s also drought-tolerant. Plus, it’s very easy to propagate from stem cuttings.
11. Snake Plant (Sanseveiria sp.)
Origin: Western Africa
Commonly referred to as mother-in-law’s tongue, the Sanseveiria is a common houseplant grown by many gardeners around the world. It’s one of the hardiest plants to grow. It will thrive outdoors in full sun or indoors in areas with low light.
It requires minimal care but does not take well to being over-watered.
12. Aloe Vera
Origin: Arabian Peninsula
Aloe Vera has been grown for centuries, both as a garden plant and for its medicinal properties. It can grow quite tall if given the right conditions. The trick is to get the soil and the watering just right.
Surprisingly, there’s also a species of aloe, Aloe vaombe, that can grow up to 20 feet tall. It’s endemic to Madagascar and is more commonly know as the Malagasy Tree Aloe.
Origin: Southwestern United States
Did you know that some species of Yucca can grow up to 10 feet tall? Although the Yucca is commonly considered a houseplant, it does thrive quite happily outdoors and will continue to grow taller.
Yuccas are very easy to grow as long as you grow them in well-draining soil. Remember though, that Yuccas have an extensive root system and will produce new shoots some distance from the original plant.
14. Prickly Pear (Opuntia sp.)
Origin: Mexico, South and Central America
There are many species of Prickly Pear and some can grow up to 100 feet tall. Prickly pears are generally grown for their striking appearance and their edible fruit and pads.
15. Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)
Origin: South Africa
The Jade Plant is commonly grown indoors and resembles a miniature tree, a very popular succulent. Some cultures believe that growing a Jade plant will increase your wealth.
Jade plants are super easy to grow as long as you ensure they get plenty of sunlight and not too much water. Like all succulents, you should allow the soil to dry out before watering.
16. African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona)
Height: Up to 8 feet
Origin: Central Africa
Origin: Central Africa
The African Milk tree is an easy-to-grow succulent with lush, green foliage. It’s extremely fast-growing and is often grown as a hedge in Central Africa where it originates.
It’s very easy to grow and prefers arid climates. It can also be grown indoors in indirect sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are succulents supposed to grow tall?
Some succulents are naturally tall growers while others will grow taller in search of sunlight.
What to do with succulents that grow too tall?
You can either move them to a sunnier position or trim off the top part to reduce their legginess.
Why is my succulent getting leggy?
Your succulents will become leggy if they don’t receive enough sunlight. Try moving them to a brighter spot so they get at least 4-6 hours of sun per day.
We hope that you’ve found our list of tall-growing succulents interesting. If you’re a succulent enthusiast, it’s useful to know some plants that will grow taller so you can landscape your garden better.
Do you know of any other succulents that grow tall? Please share them with us in the comments below.