Ten Top Trends for Succulent Plants, Gardens and Design

Apr. 24, 2018 ~ If it seems that succulents are moving at warp speed in the world of gardens, nurseries and designers, they are. And as a journalist, I’m ON it. My predictions for succulent plants, gardens and design will help you stay on top of trends and maybe even make money from the plants you love.

Btw, I wrote this before all those native dudleyas were taken from Northern CA by tourists from overseas. Shocking. Goes to show how a little-known genus is gaining attention (see #8 below).

This is Part Two of my earlier post: Ten Predictions for the Succulent Decor Marketplace.

1. As no-water cactus gardens command the design scene, all eyes will be on high-end, professionally orchestrated, Arizona residential landscapes.

2. In Western gardens, large tree aloes, beaucarneas, Dracaena draco and columnar cacti will be sought-after focal points, commanding five figures per specimen.

3. Also popular will be golden barrels, blue baseball bats (Pilosocereus pachycladus), Cereus peruvianus‘ Monstrosus’ and any long-spined or filamented cacti (such as Pachycereus pringlei and Cleistocactus strausii) that glow beautifully when backlit.(For examples see Designing with Succulents, 2nd ed., pp 192-200.)

4. Beginning with collectors, the grafting of one type of cactus onto another will become fashionable, leading to groups on social media and a new market segment.

5. In southern and coastal CA from the Bay Area south, retail and hospitality destinations— such as theme parks, resorts, botanical gardens, restaurants and shopping malls—will hire celebrity designers to create innovative themed succulent gardens that boost traffic, PR and social-media shares.

6. Opuntia (paddle cactus, prickly pear) cultivars will be acquired by homeowner-collectors for the color and variety of the flowers, especially those with prolific, multicolored, long-lasting blooms.

7. Nurseries, having to compete with homeowners who give succulent cuttings away via “Free” signs and neighborhood sites, will offer membership-based, trim-and-share services.

8. Dudleyas native to Mexico and CA will be THE sought-after rosette succulents, unfortunately leading to the poaching of rare species from the wild. Above: Watch my video of D. brittonii last week in Baja. 

9. The indoor, urban, and cold-climate markets for succulents will continue to increase. The money’s in haworthias, gasterias, dwarf aloes, sempervivums, and those genera’s tough-and-colorful hybrids; as well as windowsill mammillarias, parodias, rebutias, and anything monstrose or crested.

10. By 2020, spineless opuntia and other minimally spined cacti—the bigger, the better—will be the hottest plants for dry gardens in southern CA and beyond.


Related Info

On this site: 

Why Grow Paddle Cacti? My 16 Reasons

April 22, 2018— Of the dozen or so types of cacti in my garden, I have more opuntias than any other. Also known as paddle cactus or prickly pear… [Continue reading]

Ten Predictions for the Succulent Decor Marketplace

April 13, 2018— In fabrics, dishes and other decorative items, rosette succulents such as echeverias have… [Continue reading]


Dec. 27, 2017 — Whenever I’m asked how to find certain succulents or services that are in short supply, I wonder why so few offer them[Continue Reading]

Is Cactus the New Black?

Aug. 9, 2017 — Long a pariah plant, cactus is becoming cool. Spiny succulents are following smooth ones in popularity, notably in… [Continue reading]

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  1. Carol Haverty on May 7, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Hi Debra Lee,
    I have enjoyed your books, workshops and the many wonderful items you share in your online newsfeed. I planted a few Plumerias last year to replace rose trees (dying from the drought). One of them developed seed pods which are now quite large and plump. I was interested to know if it is worth the effort to try and propagate the seeds? I am doing some research and wanted your input on my project. Thanks for everything you do to advance succulents and succulent gardeners.


    • Debra on May 7, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      Hi Carol — Thank you for your very kind comments! I’ve never had much luck starting plants from seeds, so I’m not a good person to ask. I do know that there are hobby growers of plumerias, and I imagine they’d be happy to share their knowledge. Plus there’s a plumeria society. So to coin a phrase, “Your Google is as good as mine!”– Debra

  2. Jacqui Love on May 10, 2018 at 1:08 am

    Oh Debra! I just love your work and inspiration. So many great suggestions and ideas. My succulents struggle here in Blackheath (located in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales Australia: Elevation 1100m) But you have taught me how different every species can be and the vastly different environments they require. (I have also learnt to just give up on certain species here, like Lithops). Often a challenge, but worth it. Thanks again for your ongoing succulent visions!

    • Debra on May 10, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Hi Jacqui — What a lovely comment, thank you! This makes it all worthwhile. Knowing that my efforts have made a positive difference means the world to me. Big hug! — Debra

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