My Dream Houseplants – Rare Succulents

By Mary Ellen Ellis | March 30, 2022
by Mary Ellen Ellis
March 30, 2022

If I had endless money to spend on houseplants””and if I didn’t have cats who could like to munch on plants””I would grow some of these rare, expensive, and beautiful succulents and cactuses

Variegated Cotyeldon orbiculata

The C. orbiculata variegated cultivar is a rare and costly succulent. It has small, round, fleshy leaves, typical of succulents. What makes this plant special is the color. The variegated hues are a rainbow of pastels: green, blue, yellow, pink, and a touch of burgundy. 

A variegated C. orbiculata will set you back a decent amount of money. They root very slowly, so it takes time to produce them for sale. You can get a plant more easily as a cutting, but they are finicky. It takes time, effort, and a lot of care to get it to root. A quick search online will tell you heart-breaking stories of ruined, expensive cuttings that just didn’t work. It’s a risk to buy this beauty. 

Variegated Echeveria lola

Variegated E. lola is another pretty pastel succulent. It also has fleshy, round leaves. But, characteristic of Echeveria, the leaves have pointy tips and form a rosette shape around the center of the plant. 

The color is a less varied than C. orbiculata. The leaves are pale green and tipped with pale pink. You can easily spend a couple hundred dollars getting a good specimen of this gorgeous succulent. 

Carnegiea gigantea

A saguaro cactus isn’t all that expensive””you can get a small houseplant for $25 to $50. However, this is a slow growing plant. It’s like the tree of cactuses. It takes years to grow into the iconic armed cactus shape. 

This isn’t a rare cactus, but it’s a favorite of mine and it would require decades of patience to grow as a houseplant. The saguaro only grows in the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona and parts of California and Mexico. I love the Sonoran desert and have spent many vacations hiking there, enjoying the saguaros and other native plants. 

Saguaro cacti can live for as long as 200 years and grow up to 60 feet (18 m.) tall. They have shallow roots and grow slowly. One cactus can grow as many as 25 characteristic “arms.”

Whether or not I’ll ever grow any of these rare or difficult plants remains to be seen. For now, I’ll grow my easy philodendron and my terrarium orchids and dream about beautiful succulents.

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