Succulents for Florida, Hawaii, Tropics

Looking for succulents that handle humidity? You’re in the right place!

Will succulents grow in tropical climates like Hawaii and Florida?

You might assume so, considering succulents like the same conditions you do when on vacation: Plenty of sunshine, not too hot, breezy and balmy.

However, what succulents don't like is high rainfall and humidity, especially in summer. One reason they do so well in Southern CA is the region's dry summers and year-round aridity. Makes sense: It's the same where many come from (South Africa, the Canary Islands and Madagascar).

Senecio, aloe, euphorbia (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Senecio, aloe and Euphorbia milii in a Hawaii garden with red lava rock. 

Certain highly desirable succulents like aeoniums, echeverias and cacti can rot in tropical climates. It's hard to give them the sun they need to thrive while also protecting them from downpours and dampness.

Yet other succulents say "Bring it on!" to moisture and rain any time of year, so long as temps stay above freezing. You'll find the best of these bathing beauties in the gallery below.

Checklist for success

This isn't to say that you can treat the moisture-tolerant succulents shown here as you would tropical plants. These succulents will still need:

  • to be kept as dry as possible
  • minimal watering or not at all when conditions are damp
  • to be on a covered patio or beneath eaves
  • half a day's sun
  • frost protection
  • gritty soil to enhance drainage
  • a sloping location if in the ground
  • no pot saucers.

Resources

Buy plants online

Mountain Crest Gardens specializes in quality succulents for pots and garden beds. They sell via mail-order at great prices. Many are available in assortments, as solo specimens, bare-root and as cuttings.

Hawaii (O'ahu)

Honolulu Hawaii succulent nurseries

Two succulent nurseries near Honolulu are Mari's Gardens and Once Again Hawaii

Videos

The Squish Test for Succulents (3:36) Even if soft and squishy means rot, it's not necessarily too late.

Why Succulents Rot and How to Prevent It (2:02) Roots that drown are consumed by bacteria and fungus...

Why Rain is Good for Potted Succulents (0:54) When rain is forecast, I move my potted succulents where...

Post-Rain Must-Do's for Succulent Gardens (3:51) I found a few things that needed taking care of and you likely will, too!

How to Plant a Tall Pot, Step-by-Step (3:45) Trailing cacti from South American rainforests are perfect for tall pots...

Gallery: Succulents for florida, hawaii, tropics 

Note: I'd greatly appreciate knowing if you agree these are good choices, based on your own experience growing them in Hawaii, Florida or other tropical climates. Also, if I've missed any important ones. Do let me know, thanks! -- Debra

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Rain on agave (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

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