Succs in Pots Title Image with succulent drawings in the background. Title text reads "The 8 Types of Succulents I've Drawn (and Owned)"

In building the foundation for an art business, I’ve been doing a lot more art. Naturally. What might not be natural is how much of that art has been of succulents. But the identity of plant addict is one I’m coming to terms with.

I saw an article a while back about how millennials are filling the child-shaped holes in their hearts with houseplants. Sure, I can go along with that.

Some of the most recent artwork I’ve done have been pages of succulents. Although I intended to use these pages as a way to draw a wide array of succulents, I filled a whole page with succulents I own or have owned…and didn’t even cover them all. This addiction might be worse than I thought.

But since each of these succulents has a story, I’ll share those baby pictures with you now, in one easily accessible blog post. Stick around (or scroll down) to the end to see a sneak peek at the second succulent page I haven’t yet posted anywhere.

Mini Succulent Pots

Here’s the full page. 16 plants. 9 still alive and well, 3 in a questionable state, and 4 no longer with us.

Succs in pots - Page of 16 colored pencil succulent drawings, 4 across and 4 down. Each plant is a different species and is in a terra cotta pot which is one of three colors: red, orange or yellow.

Now for close-ups and proud parent captions.

 

The Ones that Started It All

Succs in pots - 3 succulents drawn in colored pencil arranged in a horizontal line. The first is light green with an orange pot, second is dark green with a red pot and the third is light green with hints of red in a yellow-tinted pot
From left to right: Sedum adolphii/Golden Sedum, Sedum hernandezii, Crassula perforata variegata/”String of Pearls”

These are the first three succulents I ever purchased. I picked them out from Home Depot (probably) and they’ve thrived on beginner luck ever since.

 

The Elusive Ones

Succs in pots zebra plant drawn in colored pencil in a red-tinted clay pot
Haworthia fasciata

Writing an article about zebra plant succulents is one of the things that got me interested in succulents. So you can bet that I was looking for one of these. But none of my local stores ever seemed to have a zebra plant. Or if they did, it was part of a larger arrangement, which was just cruel.

Finally, on one bright day, I obtained my first zebra plant, from a Home Depot on the other end of town. They must have sold like hot cakes because I’d never find them in the same location twice.

Sadly, my favorite succulent wasn’t meant to be. Three have them have died on me. But love the way most haworthia succulents look, so I jumped at the opportunity to get this cool-looking plant:

Succs in pots cool haworthia drawn in colored pencil with light green at the top and a violet-red gradient near the bottom of the plant. It's in a red-tinted terra cotta pot.
Haworthia reinwardtii/”African pearls”

It died on me too.

 

The Patriotic Ones

Succs in pots - 4th of July colored succulents with blue, white and red succulents in a horizontal row from left to right
Senecio mandraliscae/”Blue chalk sticks”, Senecio haworthii/Cocoon plant, Sedum adolphii/”Firestorm”

For the 4th of July, I bought red, white, and blue succulents. They looked amazing. Until the “blue chalk sticks” died off and the fuzzy white ones shriveled up. The red ones are another variation of Sedum adolphii. They’ve turned mostly green with less light indoors, but are survivors.

 

The Pale Ones

Succs in pots - Colored pencil drawings of two succulents in orange-tinted terra cotta pots. Both plants have a pale blue-green tint with pastel pink or purple on the tips of their leaves.
Graptoveria/”Opalina”, Pachyphytum bracteosum

These two have similar coloring and are both sensitive. Apparently, they don’t like to be touched because the oils on your skin wear away their protective pastel coating. So any spot you poke has a permanently green mark that’s darker than the surrounding area.

I’m on my second pachyphytum. It was a scraggly plant with most of its leaves missing in the clearance section. Although my first pachyphytum died of sudden unknown causes, I like to think I’m making up for it with this “rescue plant.”

 

The Fuzzy Ones

Succs in pots - 3 colored pencil drawings of succulents in a horizontal row. All three plants are fuzzy with various shades of green leaves with brown tips.
Kalanchoe tomentosa/”Teddy Bear”, Cotyledon ladismithiensis/”Bear Paws”, Kalanchoe tomentosa/”Panda plant”

I love that there are fuzzy succulents. And that they’re all named after bears. But once again, I seem to have bad luck with these varieties. I got these three around the same time and arranged them neatly in a communal pot. The Bear Paws didn’t seem to like having roommates and didn’t last long. The Teddy Bear was doing fine but has been strangely stiff since the first freeze…

Meanwhile, my Panda plants seem to be surviving winter just fine and loving their space.

 

The “Hardy” Ones

Succs in pots - a colored pencil drawing of a single succulent in a yellow-tinted pot. It's a sempervivum with leaves that are light green with purple tips.
Sempervivum/”Isella” Not pictured: Sempervivum/”Ruby Heart” and Stonecrop sedum

Near the end of last summer, I finally crossed a line. I order succulents online.

They arrived quickly, well-packaged and not at all harmed. Since these were hardy outdoor plants, I stuck them into a planter outside. For a few months, I enjoyed seeing them grow rapidly, produce chicks, and change color according to lights and temperature.

Then one not-so-cold winter day, I decided to eat my lunch outside. I glanced over to the planter where my outdoor succulents were and did a double take. There was NOTHING THERE. The planter was empty except for torn up leaves and trampled dirt.

I don’t know what animal did this, but I hope they got indigestion. If that’s a thing animals can get.

 

The One That Grew on Me

Succs in pots - A colored pencil drawing of a Kalanchoe succulent in a red-tinted terra cotta pot. The plant has green leaves that fade into a purple gradient at the tips.
Kalanchoe longiflora coccinea

I bought this succulent because it looked different and then sort of regretted it. It looked like a regular plant. There was nothing cutesy or succulent-like about it. But I planted it in a wine glass with a cactus-shaped neck and let it grow.

This plant is surprisingly hardy. And the tiny baby leaves that pop up at the top are bright red at first and then morph into a violet-red/green gradient. It’s quite nice and is actually low-maintenance, unlike most of these other ungrateful succulents.

 

The Mystery Plant

Succs in pots - Colored pencil drawing of a tall thin plant that's leaning over to the right. Two new shoots come out of the base of the plant, which is in a red terra cotta pot.
???

One of my plants came with a little sprout in the same pot. I assumed it was from another succulent and planted it in its own little pot. And that plant has grown nonstop. It graduated from a toothpick support to a chopstick and is still getting taller. The lower leaves have started to produce their own sprout. Any leaves that fall off seem to develop roots instantly.

Is this even a succulent?

 

I had a lot of fun drawing these – even though colored pencil blending takes forever. So much fun that I started a second page of succulents drawn from a top view.

Here’s a sneak peek before these hit my Instagram:

 Succs in pots - a cropped image of a page of colored pencil succulent drawings. There are 9 plants visible, all from the top view, in various stages of color.

Which do you like better?

 

How I Became Obsessed with Succulents (And Why It’s Good for My Art)

If you follow me on social media, mostly Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve recently gotten into succulents. Some might even say I’m obsessed with succulents.

obsessed with succulents instagram

Maybe just a little.

So I’ve ended up doing succulent art. Go figure.

But seeing as I’m obsessed with them, and this is basically a post about succulents anyway, I’m going to give you my full succulent journey. With pictures, of course.

Let’s begin our journey.

 

Rewind to 2015

The succulent trend was out in full force. But I was living in South Korea, far away from hipster trends.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t know about the succulent trend. I mean, I had the Internet. The fastest Internet in the world, actually.

I’d heard about succulents and seen them around. But it wasn’t until one appeared in my friend Arria’s apartment that I really thought about getting one. It was just SO CUTE.

But I had one barrier. Being in Korea, everything felt temporary to me. I had less than a year left there. I was traveling around the country a lot. I didn’t want to commit to getting something I couldn’t take back to the US, like a plant.

 

Return in 2016

Fast-forward to my return to Colorado a year later. After just a month of being back, I decided to start a freelance writing business. One of the first gigs I landed was ghostwriting for a content creation agency. This meant I wrote about virtually anything.

Occasionally, I wrote for a gardening website that was one of the company’s consistent clients.

The client had asked for several specific plant care articles. One of my assignments was on Haworthia Attenuata or the Zebra plant. It turns out Zebra plants are a popular indoor succulent. (And being a zone 10 plant, they couldn’t survive outdoors in most of the US).

 

The more research I did on this plant, the more attractive it seemed. Just look at those dark mysterious stripes:

obsessed with succulents haworthia attenuata closeup

Photo by Stephen Boisvert licensed under CC by 2.0

After writing (and doing research for) my article, I had the knowledge to care for one, so why not finally get a succulent?

Feeling like a potentially capable plant parent, I did some browsing at Home Depot. With some advice from my sister, I picked out three succulent varieties:

  • Sedum adolphii or “Golden Sedum”
  • Sedum hernandezii
  • Crassula Species Asstd.
obsessed with succulents first trio sedum crassula
From left to right: adolphii, hernandezii, crassula

obsessed with succulents art bucket arrangement

Sedum adolphii / Golden Sedum

The Golden sedum was actually my favorite at the time, but don’t tell. It looked the most like the typical succulents you see on Pinterest and Instagram. I had to have one of those, right?

 

Sedum hernandezii

This sedum doesn’t seem to have a common name, but it’s easy to remember since it appears to be named after someone named Hernandez. Why do so many plant names have that double “i” at the end?

 

Crassula Species Asstd.

So I didn’t actually look closely at the name of this one before I bought it. I got home only to realize this was some sort of mystery Crassula.

Being a research-fueled plant parent, I was upset. How was I supposed to provide proper care when I didn’t even know the exact species?!

I made do. And later I deduced that this plant was Crassula perforata or “String of Buttons.” Bam.

 

Hunt for the Perfect Succulent Container

The biggest appeal of succulents, besides their cute planty selves, is growing them in cute containers. So the next logical step was to find a picture-worthy container.

Okay, well I wasn’t that set on a fancy container.

I spent a few minutes digging around in my room and found a random bucket I’d been using as a pencil holder. Voila! Cute succulent container.

obsessed with succulents art bucket container

obsessed with succulents art bucket container top view

 

I didn’t put much effort into this one.

But now I go to a store like Target and can only see containers for what they’re really worth – their succulent cuteness potential.

obsessed with succulents cute container

The Sketching Begins

Making yourself do art, when you should actually be writing, blogging, marketing yourself, and pitching to new clients, to name a few, is a task.

I could always be doing something more to further my business. Since writing is also a hobby, and I identify as a writer, it also feels like there’s more at stake to my work.

Art is an equally valuable hobby, but I’m not trying to use it to pay my bills. So art gets thrown to the curb quite a bit.

Fortunately, art can apply to just about everything. I can take my excitement or interest in one thing, like social justice, and do art about it. Orrrr, I can take my new obsession with succulents, and all the excitement that comes with it and transfer that to art.

And that’s what I did.

I’ve been sketching my new plant babies when I feel uninspired or just want to do some relaxing art. It’s been fun because I’m still in that honeymoon stage with my plants and I like just looking at them.

It’s also relaxing. I can focus on putting marks on the page instead of trying to think up some grand art concept. I really need to shake off that art school (and IB HL Art) mindset.

obsessed with succulents colored pencil art sketch

Perhaps this post is premature, since these are only quick colored pencil sketches. Or maybe this is just to say, expect more succulent art in the future. Much, much more.

 

Propagating Succulents

My other favorite part about growing succulents is how easy they are to propagate. I already knew all about this, since I had to write articles on various plants and how to propagate them. So boy was I ready.

I started propagation from day one, using leaves that had fallen off of my succulents during transport or repotting. One leaf from the hernandezii was already growing its own plant! Currently, it seems to have stagnated a bit, but maybe I’m just too excited.

Propagation success! Woot woot~ #succulents #succulentpups #mysterysucculent

A post shared by Monica (@writingmonicker) on

obsessed with succulents propagate in water

obsessed with succulents pup progation

I rooted my first leaves in water because it seemed cool and I could watch them grow each day.

Out of the three plants I tried, only the hernandezii leaves rooted, and they’re still doing well. But I envy those photos with fifty gazillion succulent leaves all sprouting teeny tiny plants.

Maybe someday.

obsessed with succulents art hernandezii pup

The Obsession Advances: More Succulents!

I didn’t stop at three, oh no. I frequented the garden sections of Home Depot and Lowe’s and eventually got my sister to split a plant with me.

  • Pachyphytum bracteosum
  • Sedum rubrotinctum

obsessed with succulents pachyphytum and sedum

For myself, I chose a Pachyphytum bracteosum, with puffy pale green leaves. Together, we got a pot with four Sedum rubrotinctum and split them.

obsessed with succulents aurora and pachyphytum

 

The Succulent Outdoors

Eventually, my mom noted, “don’t we have those kinds of plants in the front yard?” AND WE DID.

obsessed with succulents cobweb sempervivum

In my parents’ front yard, nearly buried under the mulch were three Sempervivum plants. These are also known as “Hen and Chicks” because they propagate easily on their own by producing “chicks.”

obsessed with succulents hardy succulent sempervivum

After some deliberation, I cleaned out a pot, took some chick cuttings, and potted them.

obsessed with succulents outdoor sempervivum

Don’t worry. I have plans for that empty space in the middle.

 

Foray into Online Succulents: No Hope Left for Me

I should mention that this whole time, I began following more and more succulent blogs. Pinterest and Tumblr became notorious time wasters. But also sources of endless entertainment.

Many people buy succulents online, especially if the plants don’t grow well in their region or they want a particular plant.

obsessed with succulents pups propagation

You’ll remember that the Zebra plant was what had gotten me into this whole mess.

Tragically, I still haven’t been able to find one. On my very first succulent shopping trip, I spotted a Zebra plant at Home Depot. Just one. It looked a little worn, so I opted for Golden Sedum and Co instead. I now regret that decision.

I haven’t seen a single Zebra plant in stores since. Except for a couple that were included in a larger succulent arrangement. No thanks. I can arrange them myself, thank you. Why take the fun out of it?

obsessed with succulents sedum water root

So my online browsing turned into seriously searching. I wondered whether Etsy was really a valid place to buy a succulent. Many online places didn’t have Zebra plants in stock yet. Was the world conspiring against me?

obsessed with succulents sedum hernandezii water root

Instead, I ended up purchasing a few Sempervivums to pot with my existing ones outdoors. No, I didn’t buy a Zebra plant. Since it started me on this journey, it only seems right to finish this journey properly – to someday handpick a  Zebra plant in person.

 

I still search for a Zebra plant sometimes often, drawn into home gardening stores as if to a siren’s song.

obsessed with succulents haworthia attenuata zebra plant potted

Photo by Stephen Boisvert licensed under CC by 2.0