Succulent hanging basket plants

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Trailing Succulents for Pots: Some ideas

As my garden gets crammed with more and more plants I can’t seem to stop collecting, I have had to resort to putting plants in places other than planter boxes and in perched pottery. Now I am making use of the airspace below overhangs or against walls by hanging pots wherever I can. Many plants seem made for these hanging pots. I discovered some of these while making community pots, looking for some things that draped over the edges to contrast with other succulents that tend to grow more erect.

Some of the best potted plants are the trailing succulents. In nature, these plants are sprawlers, growing over rocks and other plants, monopolizing the light by growing in every direction and trying to out-compete everything. But in a pot these plants can be controlled, and their natural draping nature can be taken advantage of. The following are just a few of some of the best of these species for growing in pots, either by themselves, or in with a variety of other plants. This list is anything but complete–only a suggestion of the possibilities, of which there are literally hundreds in the succulent world.

three community ‘pots’ of ours with draping/trailing succulents in them

Aloes. Though most suckering aloes don’t actually ‘trail’ out of pots, most species of Aloes are good potted plant candidates. A few actually do trail. Aloe perfoliata, once called Aloe distans, is a good trailing species for the landscape, but not the world’s best potted plant. The stems usually grow up. The drooping ones tend to get too heavy and break off. But some of the climbing aloes make decent potted trailers, such as Aloe ciliaris. This is a very easy plant to start and grow.

Aloe ciliaris in two different ‘pots’ in first two photos; Aloe congolensis trailing as it outgrows its pot

Aloe confusa- just about any of the cliff-hanging species would make good trailing potted plants

Cacti. A good number of cacti make excellent potted plants and some the very best succulent trailers one can grow. Aporophyllum, Disocactus, Hatiora, Lepismium and Rhipsalis are just a few examples of excellent trailing succulents. There are others including Schlumbergeras and Epiphyllums, but these plants are grown more for their spectacular flowers rather than their vegetative trailing looks. Most of these are quite easy to grow, though most don’t seem to appreciate a lot of hot, direct sun (only Aporophyllum in my garden doesn’t seem to mind).

my Aporophyllum blooming in spring; Disocactus flagelliformis blooming in late spring; Disocacti flagelliformis in nursery

Disocactus phyllanthoides (photo Boojum); Hatiora gaertneri (Easter Cactus) Hatiora salicornioides (Drunkard’s Dream)

Epiphyllum ‘Giant Falls’

Hatiora salicornioides (a really old one); Schlumberbera sp. (Christmas Cactus); Lepismium houlletianum in my garden

Rhipsalis mesembryathemoides Rhipsalis grandiflora Rhipsalis sp.

Rhipsalis paradoxa Rhipsalis capilliformis Rhipsalis clavata

three unknown species of Rhipsalis

Selenicereus (Ric Rac Cactus) Epiphyllum guatamalensis in my garden

Crassulas. A few of the Crassulas are hard to beat for use in community pots where one wants attractive, interesting plants that hang below the pot’s rim. Crassula rupestris and C. perforata are two similar species that are excellent choices for this sort of container situation. Crassula sarmentosa is a bit gangly, but an incredibly attractive species and a very easy plant to grow from pots. Other Crassulas include ‘Calico Kitten’, C. capitella, C. pellucida and C. volkensii. Most of these are happy in full sun, but also in conditions where there is quite a bit of shade. I have had trouble with the last four species surviving year after year; they get leggy or rot themselves to death (I don’t want to blame myself, you understand.)

Crassula perforatas in first two photos Crassula rupestris

Crassula sarmentosa

Crassula pelucida and Crassula ‘Calico Kitten’

Crassula volkensii in first two photos Crassula mucosa can make a decent trailing plant, but needs cutting back frequently (gets too leggy)

Euphorbias. Not too many Euphorbias truly trail from a pot, but there are a few fantastic choices for this sort of container culture. There are a variety of pencil-like species, some which can sometimes drape over pot edges. And a number of the caudiciform species hang over the edges of pots. Euphorbia peltigera and Euphorbia hamata (some consider them the same species) are ones I found to be very easy and make fascinating potted plants (though they do require some controlling eventually).

Euphorbia hamata and peltigera in my garden

Euphorbia caput-medusae trailing

Hoyas. One of the premiere trailing succulents species are the Hoyas and their cultivars. There are hundreds of these, of which I only have experience growing a few. Perhaps someone will write an article about them in the near future and do this genus justice. I have a few species that are doing well in my climate in southern California, but many others I have tried fail to survive our cool winters or our blistering hot summers, even if in shade. Dischidias are related plants are similarly excellently adapted for hanging, draping pots. I don’t have much luck with these and they are probably a bit more tropical than I can manage.

Hoya carnosa (photo Giancarlo) Hoya compacta ‘Hindu Rope’ Hoya compacta flowers in my garden

Hoya curtisii (photo plantlady) Hoya kerrii Hoya imperialis (photo AlohaHoya)

Hoya obovata and Hoya obscura (second photo MyHoyas)

Dischidia is a genus of plants similar to Hoyas that also make good trailing succulents for pots- above are Dischidia milnei and ruscifolia (second photo plantladylin)

“Ice Plants” include a variety of genera in the family Aizoaceae and are among the most prolific of the trailing succulents for landscape use. I find most of these difficult or somewhat unattractive potted plants, though a few stand out as acceptable–if not good–choices. Delosperma is a large genus of ice plants, but also includes an odd plant called the Pickle Plant (Delopsperma echinatum) that makes a decent plant for hanging pots. Other genera of ice plants include Lampranthus, Dorotheanthus, Carpobrotus, Aptenia, Drosanthemum, Malephora, Stomatium and Ruschia.

Delosperma echinatum (Pickle Plant)

first photo: Delosperma lineare; second photo Delosperma in my garden; third photo Malephora crocea- all will drape from pots but make better groundcovers

Lampranthus, another excellent groundcover succulent, will drape from pots. Above, from left to right: Lampranthus spectabilis, aurantiacus and saturatus

Aptenia cordifolia (Red Apple) (photo Xenomorf) is one of the most popular landscape plants in the southwest, and it is frequently utilized in public plantings in large pots (first photo); Carpobrotus chilensis (photo monterey) in second photo above; Dorotheanthus bellidiformis (photo Wheezingreens) in third photo

Rushia maxima and pulchella

Crassulaceae large rosette forms: Graptopetalum paraguayense is about the best plant its category, though a few Graptoverias, Dudleyas, Echeverias and Pachyphytums trail a bit as well.

Echeveria coccinea

Graptopetalum paraguayense in first two photos, and an unknown Graptopetalum hanging from pot in last photo

Graptopetalum pentadrum superbum

Pachyphytum oviferum Echeveria harmsii Graptopetalum ‘Fred Ives’

There are far too many Sedum species to cover in this article. One could write several articles just on these trailing plants. From my point of view here in southern California, my choice of Sedum is a bit more limited as many of the stonecrops and other varieties of Sedum are not very tolerant of baking hot, dry summer weather, so I can’t grow them here. Ones I have success with include the following: Sedum morganianum (I think this plant is probably the same as Sedum burrito, or if it’s not, it’s too close for me to distinguish the differences), S. nussbaumerianum, S. x rubrotinctum, and S. clavatum. All of these are fairly easy plants (or I wouldn’t be able to grow them), though S. morganianum needs a bit of summer shade protection and rubrotinctum seems to need regular watering or also shade protection in summers.

Sedum clavatum (first two photos) and Sedum nussbaumerianum in my garden

Sedum makinoi ‘Ogun’ in flat, and in pot in garden Sedum angelinas in pot in nursery display

Sedum morganium (may be same as Sedum burrito) is one of the premeire of all the hanging succulent plants for pots

Sedum morganiums at local nursery- excellent trailing species

Sedum ‘Harry Butterfield’ (a S morganianum hybrid) is another excellent choice

Sedum x rubrotinctum varieties do well in hanging pots, but get leggy quickly

Sedum pachyphyllum Pachysedum x ‘Green Beans’ (a intergeneric hybrid) Sedum lucidum

one the Sedums I love, but struggle with (Sedum dasyphyllum) Sedum furfuracea

There are also a lot of Senecios that make good draping plants, but most that I have growing in my garden are as yet still unidentified. A few of these, though, are amongst the very best succulents to grow in hanging pots or in mixed containers. The most notable to me are Senecio rowleyanus and S. radicans, curious plants that look like green strings of pearls or bananas (respectively). Senecio rowleyanus can be a touchy one at times for me, and find I either dehydrate it or overwater it. Senecio radicans however is nearly impossible for me to kill. There are several blue species of Senecios, sometimes referred to as ‘Chalksticks’ that trail aggressively, but I find these too large and leggy for use in all but very large pots of planters.

Senecio rowleyanus (first photo chgrpt) variegated form second photo growing on ground in last photo

Senicio rowleyanus-like plant in my garden; Senecio radicans (photo by Happenstance) and blue-green form in my garden

Senecio ficoides Senicio Chalk Sticks in my garden (not sure which one) Senecio jacobsenii

Senecios mandraliscae and serpens

Tradescantias can make good trailing plants, but in my experience in my climate they are a bit unreliable in winters, and too leggy in summers, and are always breaking off. They do better in pots on the ground so they can have some support as they trail down to ground level.

Tradescantia pallida ‘Purple Heart’ giant form of Tradescantia pallida related genus, Cyanotis somaliensis (photo by Happenstance)

Miscellaneous Trailers

Portulacaria afra variegated Faucaria sp. Kalanchoe manginii

unknown Plectranthus sp. in my garden

If you are someone who has always been partial to hanging baskets, yet you like succulents, you might be wondering “What are my choices?”. There are plenty of succulent plants that hang down that are perfect for hanging baskets.

Some succulents are best being allowed to grow tall or straight out of a pot. However, there are many types of unusual succulents that enjoy growing in a hanging pot so they can stream down as each new piece starts.

Here are some popular hanging succulent plants.

1. Donkey’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)

One of the prettiest Sedums, this is one of those unusual succulents that grows in the pot and has pendant stems that tend to cascade down over the edges of the basket. The foliage is short and very light green. Hanging succulent plants are usually easy to propagate, and the Donkey’s Tail is no exception.

Photo via plantmaster.com

2. Kenya Hyacinth (Sansevieria parva)

This particular hanging succulent starts out as an upright plant that ends up becoming one of those hanging succulent plants with bright green foliage. The foliage is shaped like a lance and can be up to 1.5 feet (45 cm) in length. It also flowers with little pinkish-white blooms.

Photo via pinterest.com

3. Burro’s Tail (Sedum burrito)

It seems similar to S. morganianum, which is native to Mexico and forms long cascading stems of glaucous, blue-green leaves, there has been conjecture that perhaps ‘burrito’ is a natural S. morganianum hybrid. Gorgeous succulent which forms tails and trails down the pot as it grows. Excellent for hanging basket culture, or in brightly lit atriums or patios with filtered light.

Photo via gardenersworld.com

4. Little Pickles (Othonna capensis)

This is one of the creeping hanging succulent plants. It is actually a member of the Daisy family. It has trailing stems that reach many feet in length. This is an excellent example of plants that hang down because it trails nicely. It has yellow blooms that require sunshine in order to open up.

Photo via succulents-australia-sales.com

5. String of Hearts (Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii)

Sometimes called the Rosary Vine, the stems are long and pendulous and this is a great choice of hanging succulents if you are looking for plants that hang down beautifully. It has leaves shaped like hearts and while the upper surface of the leave is a pretty blue green with some silver, underneath the leaves you will find a beautiful purplish gray. Easily propagated, these types of hanging succulent are truly a great addition to any of your hanging plants.

Photo via plantfileonline.net

6. String of Pearls (Curio rowleyanus)

This easy-care, succulent plant resembles a beaded necklace with its fleshy green, pea-like foliage and looks great in hanging baskets.

Photo via best4garden.co.uk

7. String of Nickels (Dischidia nummularia)

This trailing succulent plant has interesting foliage that screams for attention. It consists of round, gray-green leaves which are flat and reminiscent of little coins (about nickel size) hanging from a string.

Photo via plantica.cz

There are many different types of hanging succulents, and they are pretty easy to care for, because hanging succulent plants do not require watering as often as other hanging plants. In answer to “What are my choices”, you can see there are plenty of choices to be had if you want to grow hanging succulents around your home and garden.

Source: gardeningknowhow.com

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Succulent plants are more or less alike when you think of the maintanence. However, they differ extremely when you consider their appearences; stem and foliage development, overall form, color, texture, flowers and size…

While some of the succulent species form an upright body, some of them have pendant stems. Stems are either formed by the multiplying row of leaves or sometimes they are in the form of a vine. They are amazing houseplants because these hanging plants look really attractive without requiring a lot of effort.

Hanging succulents can grow very long stem expanding on the flooring or down to the window sill or balcony rail. In my opinion, they look the best when they are planted in the hanging pots and swing from the ceiling.

If you are also into these kind of plants that stream down from the hanging pots, I wanted to collect the most popular choices. Here are 14 hanging succulents for you to choose one, or more!

1. Burro’s Tail

Sedum genus contains many species form a pendant stem type. Sedum Burrito is one of these species that makes great hanging pot succulent. They look amazing when they grow a lot of long stems with a dense foliage.

Sedum Burrito, also called Burro’s Tail, has leaves that are regularly aligned along its stems. The leaves are in blue-green color, fat and fleshy, shaped like peanuts. Stems can reach to 30 centimeters long. If the plant is cared properly, they grow longer and longer.

These Sedums need a grainy and well-draining soil. They like an occasional watering and a bright lightning. Be careful that they are not tolerant of freezing cold weather.

2. Donkey’s Tail

Sedum Morganinums, commonly called “Donkey’s Tail” or “Lamb’s Tail” are evergreen succulent plants that originate from Southern Mexico. This species is related to Sedum Burrito, but the foliage differs in the shape.

Donkey’s Tail grows longer and more flat leaves when compared to Burro’s Tail. The leaves are pointy and often curled slightly. Like Burro’s Tail, Donkey’s Tail usually has long and trailing stems. Both are favorite hanging succulents for many plant addicts.

3. String of Pearls

Like many species of Senecios, Senecio Rowleyanus forms very long trailing stems, developing numbers of little round leaves in the size of a pearl. This South African succulent can grow up to 1 meter if given a proper care.

These species thrive with a lot of bright sunlight. But avoid exposing them to the direct afternoon sun since the leaves might get burnt. Younger plants would like more watering when compared to a mature String of Pearls. Anyways, water them when the soil is totally dry from top to bottom.

Senecio Rowleyanus produce very pretty white, brush-like flowers, with red stamens. Senecio succulents bloom once in a year every summer.

4. Kenya Hyacinth

Sansevieria Parva is often referred “Flowering Sansevieria” because of its very beautiful pastel pink flowers.

These African succulents have sword-like upright leaves, developing from one point. These leaves can grow long up to one and a half meter. When the leaves get too long, they can not carry their weight and start to point out downwards. A fully grown Sansevieria Parva will look great in a hanging pot.

5. Little Pickles

Othonna succulents are members of the Daisy family. If you expose Orthonna Capensis to a bright sun, the plant will give little yellow flowers looking like daisies, and also develop a vibrant plum hue.

This species is commonly called “Ragwort Vine” because it trails like a vine from the planter and it is one of the most popular types for the hanging pots. The pendant stems can reach quite long sizes.

6. String of Hearts

This subspecies of Ceropegia Linearis is commonly known with many names “String of Hearts”, “Chain of Hearts”, “Rosary Vine”, “Hart Vine” etc.

The heart-shaped leaves of this succulent are growing along the stems that are looking like a vine. While the leaves are small, diameters around 2 centimeters wide and long, strings can reach 2 meters to 4 meters.

Flowers of Ceropegia Linearis subsp. Woodii

The evergreen plant is normally dark and smoked green with lighter marble pattern, but the color of it fades when it does not get a sufficient light. Also even if it is a tolerant succulent plant, it does not like very long drought periods.

7. String of Nickels

String of Nickels is a succulent plant that is one of the types with trailing stems falling out of the pot elegantly. When the long pendants and interesting foliage come together, this plant attracts all the attention in a space.

The unique feature of this succulent is definitely the light green leaves that are round and flat, feeling like nickels pouring from a pouch. General requirements for these species is the same of optimum succulent care.

8. String of Beads

Senecio Herreianus is a similar type of succulent to Senecio Rowleyanus, because of the shape of its leaves. Also, it is sometimes called “String of Pearls” like Senecio Rowleyanus.

It is extremely hardy for drought since it has the water storage inside the leaves that are resembling beads. They need a rare irrigation, and you should let the soil dry between two waterings.

This type of Senecio is a winter dormant succulent. They can survive the winter outdoors unless it is moderate. You can trim the extra long stems of i in early spring when the growing season starts.

9. String of Bananas

String of Bananas is another popular Senecio succulent that makes a perfect hanging pot plant. Just like the other Senecios, it is a very easy plant to care at home. It is easy to grow and hard to kill.

Since these species are related with String of Pearls, they form a similar type of body. Instead of pearls, Senecio Radicans has unusual leaves shaped like miniature bananas. These tendrils are vibrant green when they get a bright sunlight.

Flowers of these succulents are small sized, white or off-white, smelling very delicious. But the best part is they can blossom more than one time in a year, when they are encouraged to bloom.

10. Calico Kitten

Although these species grow rather short, Calico Kitten succulents are very popular because of its attractive colors. Small heart-shaped leaves develop a mix of colors; red, green, yellow and cream.

Stems are usually 15 centimeters long and the leaves are small, around 2 centimeters in diameter. White flowers show up about the late winter or early spring. Flowers are shaped as little stars in clusters.

11. The Hindu Rope

Hoya genus is one of the most unusual types of succulents because of the unique foliage. This plant is commonly known as “Hindu Rope” or “Wax Plant”.

Curling leaves develop around the vine stem and the stems grow long falling from the pot. Every year balls of little pink or white flowers are produced from the stem.

While not all Hoyas are succulent plants, Hoya succulents need a bit more moisture when growing. They do their best in warm and humid environments, because they are native to India.

12. Rat Tail Cactus

Aporocactus Flagelliformis is a cactus plant which is originating from Mexico. Long stems of Rat Tail Cactus prolong for nearly 1 meter. Inside those trailing body, a lot of moisture is stored to survive through the drought periods of Mexican deserts.

The body of this cactus is covered entirely with thin and tiny spines, which are causing the surfaces to look fuzzy. However, be careful that they stick really deep in the skin.

Most of the popularity of these species come from their amazing flowers. They develop many numbers of large and bright magenta colored flowers, from top to bottom of their stem.

13. Peanut Cactus

Peanut Cactus cover the surface of the soil in the pot very quickly. The water-storing body of this cactus has a lot of stems with rounded tips. They elongate by the time and grow about 15 centimeters. They will trail from the pot or basket as the time passes.

Flowers of these cacti are shaped rounded like large daisies that show up from a tubular stem, but in a flashing orange color.

14. Monkey’s Tail

Monkey’s Tail is a type of cacti which is impossible not to notice in a room. It looks super strange because of long hairy spine covering the plant like a fur coat. As they reach maturity, the elongated stems hang from the pot and may reach a length of two and a half meters.

These cacti will like a good draining type of soil, an occasional watering and a lot of bright sun.

Hanging succulents grow large and gorgeous even if you do not have much time and energy to keep them pretty. For this reason, they are gaining a popularity lately. I think you will also love them because they make a great decor for the indoor spaces as they are exhibited in the hanging pots or hanging baskets.

There is something special about hanging succulent plants. I’ve never been able to pinpoint exactly what it is.

It could be the fact that in our mind we expect small succulent plants to grace the landscape of a fairy garden or succulent pots with interesting foliage being a small but great addition to our home decor making the space more inviting.

However, looking at trailing succulents like Sedum morganianum (donkey tail plant) or Ceropegia woodii (rosary vine) in a hanging planter at eye level puts you in prime position to examine and enjoy its beauty.

The list of unusual succulents is large with a multitude of uses beyond sitting as a small potted plant in a windowsill soaking up full sun.

Many make excellent additions to the home and landscape and own the well deserved “easy-care” label.

Types Of Hanging Succulents A Select Group

A select group we like to call “Hanging Succulents” come with a variety of characteristics including:

  • Pendant stems
  • Fleshy green leaves
  • Pea-like foliage
  • … and much more

These fine succulent plants make wonderful displays indoors and out as hanging baskets.

They also find their place in a vertical garden, planted in a wall planter or as trailing cactus plants in a decorative pot.

Learn more about:

  • Indoor Succulent Plants
  • Succulent Groundcovers

Types Of Succulent Hanging Plants

Selenicereus and Hylocereus species are natural pendant growers. The plants are too large for basket culture.

The Epiphyllums (orchid cactus) though they grow as “basket plants” and produce beautiful blossoms their appearance is not as attractive as basket succulent plant listed below.

Christmas cactus makes an attractive basket with a beautiful display of colorful flowers. However, other hanging or trailing succulents are worthy of considering for succulent basket culture.

Below is a collection of simply “Plants That Hang Down“:

Aporocactus flagelliformis

Known as the rat-tail cactus Aporocactus flagelliformis is Mexican born.

A creeping plant featuring long, slender, green pendant stems with reddish brown spines. The rattail cactus branches at the base cascading over the edges of the basket or pot like a waterfall.

In the spring, a spectacular display of crimson-pink flowers appear on the long stems which can reach 6′ feet in length. The rattail cactus makes magnificent hanging succulent basket plant!

Ceropegia woodii

Ceropegia woodii (Rosary Vine, String of Hearts, Sweetheart vine) – Unusual, plump, heart-shaped gray-green leaves marbled with silver.

The wire-like stems holding the heart-shaped leaves can reach 2′-3′ feet in length. Easy to grow in most indoor household settings.

Makes a nice hanging basket or sitting on a pedestal with the “rosary vines” spilling over.

Dischidia nummularia

Dischidia nummularia (String of Nickels) – a creeping epiphyte with round, opposite dull thick pea-green leaves about nickel size often forming dense masses.

An easy grower Dischidia nummularia makes an attractive hanging basket with the mass of trailing leaves appearing like “hanging coins.”

Use also as a trailing cascading succulents growing in a tall pot and cascading over the sides. A variegated variety – Dischidia nummularia varigata – is also available.

Hoya carnosa

Hoya carnosa (wax plant) – Elliptical fresh green leaves, whorls of waxy very fragrant pinkish-white flowers, each set in the center with a red, star-shaped crown.

The variegated Hoya carnosa variegata has leaves broadly bordered in white, and pink-tinged. ‘Silver Leaf’ has silver and pink markings on long green leaves; maroon flowers.

Well known as a house plant and basket plant with easy care.

Water heavily, then not again until top inch or more has dried out. This partial drying-out is necessary for the development of healthy roots on these plants.

Hoya Compacta “Krinkle Kurl”

The “Hindu Rope Hoya Plant” also known as Hoya compacta “Krinkle Kurl.”

Perfect as a succulent basket plant with its interesting distinct features of curling foliage sets “Krinkle Kurl” apart from Hoya carnosa the plant from which it came.

The “rope wax plant” is really a mutation, of the popular Hoya houseplant grown for decades.

There is also a variegated Hindu Rope Hoya.

Othonna capensis

Othonna capensis – a funny little plant and member of the daisy family. The common name “little pickles” is named for the leaves.

A low-growing, spreading succulent ground cover with finger-like, blue-grey leaves tipped with maroon in dry conditions. Will produce daisy-like yellow blooms all year long when the plant gets enough sun.

Once established drought-tolerant. Tolerates dry air and high temperatures. As a basket plant, it cascades over the pot edges bringing a charm and color to sunny locations.

Sedum morganianum

Sedum morganianum (Burro’s tail, donkey tail) – A longtime popular basket plant with spindle-shaped pale green leaves, dusted with a waxy, pale blue powder on long, pendulous stems.

The cascading stems covered with unusual leaves resemble a “donkey’s tail.

This easy-care succulent, one of the prettiest Sedums is somewhat fragile. Does well in a hanging basket where the hanging stems can grow long without being disturbed or bumped into.

Also makes an attractive potted plant with the pendulous stems trailing over the edge of the pot.

Senecio rowleyanus

Senecio rowleyanus (String of Pearls) an unusual trailing succulent plant with round 1/2″ inch, bead-like grayish leaves.

Easy growing and care, this drought-tolerant plant looks like “hanging pearls” or marbles on a string in a cascading manner when planted in a hanging basket.

Trailing “string of pearls” reach lengths of up to three feet. A natural for a hanging basket and a true conversation piece plant.

You may also like: String of Bananas – Senecio radicans

Sedum Sieboldii

Sedum sieboldii is a “Favorite Basket Plant” because of showy pink flower clusters and blue-gray leaves.

Easily grown houseplant also great for balconies. Know as the “October Plant” or pink Sedum. This perennial succulent lives for only one growing season.

New growth in spring Sedum sieboldii rests in winter. During the resting period keep the plant out of the sun or bright light.

Around March, begin watering as the tiny gray rosettes start growing at the base of old stems. These shoots eventually grow into the hanging shoots making for beautiful hanging cactus plant baskets.

Care Tips For Trailing Succulents In Planters

Soil: These container grown hanging plants need moist soil.

Planting: For great looking succulent baskets remember this.

When planting “hanging pots” place several of the same kind of plants to make a full basket. Plants should be brimming over the edges of the basket or almost.

Watering: When growing outdoors during warm and windy weather, plants may require water multiple times per day. However, in general, plants will need watering once or twice per week.

Hanging Succulent Plants – Different Types Of Hanging Cactus And Succulents

If you are someone who has always been partial to hanging baskets, yet you like cacti and succulent plants, you might be wondering, “What are my choices?” There are plenty of succulent plants that hang down that are perfect for hanging baskets.

Types of Hanging Cactus and Succulents

Some cacti and succulents are best being allowed to grow tall or straight out of a pot. However, there are many types of hanging cactus and unusual succulents that enjoy growing in a hanging pot so they can stream down as each new piece starts.

If you’re not sure which plants to choose, that’s okay. Below you will find some popular hanging succulent plants that are must haves for your home to help get you started. Best of all, many of these require very little maintenance.

Here are some great selections:

  • Burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum) – One of the prettiest sedums, this is one of those unusual succulents that grows in the pot and has pendant stems that tend to cascade down over the edges of the basket. The foliage is short and very light green. The entire plant is covered by bluish-silver blooms. Hanging succulent plants are usually easy to propagate, and the Burro’s tail is no exception.
  • Flowering sansevieria (Sansevieria parva) – This particular hanging plant starts out as an upright plant and ends up becoming one of those hanging succulent plants with bright green foliage. Flowering sansevieria foliage is shaped like a lance and can be one and a half feet in length. It also flowers with little pinkish-white blooms.
  • Ragwort vine (Othonna capensis) – This is actually a member of the Daisy family. It has trailing stems that reach many feet in length. This is an excellent example of plants that hang down because it trails nicely. It has yellow blooms that require sunshine in order to open up.
  • String of hearts (Ceropegia woodii) – Sometimes called the rosary vine, the stems on String of hearts are long and pendulous and a great choice if you are looking for plants that hang down beautifully. It has leaves shaped like hearts, and while the upper surface of the leave is a pretty blue-green with some silver, underneath the leaves you will find a beautiful purplish gray.
  • String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) – This easy-care succulent plant resembles a beaded necklace with its fleshy green, pea-like foliage and String of pearls looks great in hanging baskets.
  • String of nickels (Dischidia nummularia) – This trailing succulent plant has interesting foliage that screams for attention. String of nickels consists of round gray-green leaves which are flat and reminiscent of little coins (about nickel size) hanging from a string.
  • Dragon fruit (Hylocereus undatus) – This beautiful branching cactus vine not only looks great when grown in a hanging basket on its own, but the dragon fruit plant also produces lovely nighttime blooms and, eventually, edible fruit.

There are many different types of hanging cactus and succulents, and they are pretty easy to care for because hanging succulent plants do not require watering as often as other hanging plants.

20 Cacti and Succulents that Hang or Trail (With Pictures)

Cacti and succulents that hang or trail are popular because they can be incorporated both indoor and outdoor. Succulents, in general, are easy to take care of and even people with busy schedules can still keep them alive for many years. Hanging succulents bring interest in every location they are added.

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The trailing succulents can be planted in hanging baskets, garden pots, raised planters, wall art as well as wreaths and other arrangements.

Cacti and succulents that hang or trail include Othonna capensis ‘Ruby Necklace’, Echinopsis Chamaecereus ‘Peanut Cactus’, Hildewintera Colademononis ‘Monkey’s Tail’, Hoya Plant ‘Wax Plant’, Aporocactus Flagelliformis ‘Rat Tail Cactus’, Sedum burrito ‘Baby Donkey Tail’, Sedum Morganianum ‘Donkey’s Tail’, Dischidia nummularia ‘Strings of Nickels’, Crassula Pellucida Variegata ‘Calico Kitten’, Ceropegia linearis woodii ‘String of Hearts’ Euphorbia caput-medusae ‘Medusa Head’, Senecio Fish Hooks “Grey Fishhooks Senecio’, Senecio rowleyanus ‘String of Pearls’, Senecio herreianus ‘String of Beads’, Senecio radicans ‘String of Bananas’, Sedum Little Missy ‘Sedum Petite Bicolor’, Epiphyllum anguliger ‘Fishbone Cactus’.

Epiphyllum anguliger ‘Fishbone Cactus’

Epiphyllum anguliger ‘Fishbone Cactus’ is also known as the ‘Zigzag Cactus’, or the Ricrac Orchid cactus. It’s native to Mexico and it’s grown as an ornamental. It is also an epiphytic cactus that produces smooth green stems. In young plants, the stems grow upwards and begin to trail as the plant matures and the stems become long.

The plant also produces nocturnal flowers which are fragrant and produce a strong sweet scent. The fruit from the succulent is oval in shape and can be greenish, brown- yellowish in color.

Epiphyllum anguliger ‘Fishbone Cactus’ Care

‘Fishbone Cactus’ thrive with moderate to high humidity, especially during the growing season. Best results are achieved indoors, in a greenhouse or conservatory. The containers should be under bright but filtered light.

The succulent also requires extremely well-draining soil because it is epiphytic. Overwatering should be avoided because it can easily result in root rot.

Any overlong stems should be pruned all the way at the base or just cut off and new shoots appear behind the cut.

Senecio radicans ‘String of Bananas’

Senecio radicans ‘String of Bananas’ is native to South Africa. The succulent can be grown in tall planters or hanging planters which give their beautiful stems room for trailing and hanging.

‘String of Bananas’ produces long stems that can reach up to 90 cm in length. The stems have green leaves shaped like mini-bananas hence the name. ‘String of Bananas’ produce cinnamon scented blooms that can either be yellow, white, or lavender in color.

The succulent is poisonous for cats read more about toxic succulents.

Senecio radicans ‘String of Bananas’ Care

Senecio radicans ‘String of Bananas’ is propagated using cuttings. The cut stem pieces are planted directly into the soil and they easily begin to grow.

To get best results, water the succulent when the soil is dry and give it a deep soak followed by a period of no watering until the soil is dry again. The soil should also be well-draining.

The ‘String of Bananas’ should be protected from extreme frost as well as the scorching afternoon sun.

Buy the ‘String of Bananas’

Senecio rowleyanus ‘String of Pearls’

Senecio rowleyanus ‘String of Pearls’ is also commonly referred to as ‘String of Peas’. The hanging succulent is native to South Africa. The ‘String of Pearls’ produces stems that are lined with green leaves that are shaped like peas. The leaves can be as long as 90cm which trail or hanging all directions from the plants growing point.

‘String of Pearls’ is a beauty and adds great interest. Although the succulent is versatile, it isn’t very frost tolerant.

Propagation of the plant is easily done using cuttings. When the stems are cut, they can be split into pieces and planted where they sprout roots and keep growing.

Senecio rowleyanus ‘String of Pearls’ Care

‘Strings of Pearls’ require well-draining soil because they don’t like sitting in waterlogged soil.

The succulent has similar watering needs compared to other succulent plants. To get the best results to water the ‘Strings of Pearls’ when the soil is dry. Allow the soil to dry and give the plant a deep watering and wait then repeat the cycle again. The younger strings of pearls require more frequent watering compared to the mature plants.

‘String of Peas’ thrive when established in locations where they receive bright but indirect sunlight. The succulents don’t need the intense afternoon sun. If you’re growing them outside in the ground or in containers make sure that they have adequate shade.

When mature the ‘Strings of Pearl’ produce sweet, vanilla-scented, white flowers.

Buy the ‘String of Pearls’

Senecio herreianus ‘String of Beads’

Senecio herreianus ‘String of Beads’ is also another one of the cacti and succulents that hang or trails. The succulent is also thought to be native to South Africa.

‘String of Beads’ looks very similar to ‘String of Pearls’ but are less common. The only major difference between the two succulents is the shape of the leaves. The ‘String of Beads’ has a more prominent oval shape and are also pointier while the leaves of the ‘Strings of Pearls’ are rounder.

The succulent’s stems grow up to 90cm long just like they do in the ‘Strings of Pearls’.

Senecio herreianus ‘String of Beads’ Care

‘String of Beads’ care includes propagation which is done using stem cuttings. Propagation is easy and the cut stems are planted in soil where they root easily.

The plant doesn’t do well in extreme frost and should be protected. The watering needs of the ‘String of Beads’ are similar to those of many succulent plants.

When planted directly in the soil, the ‘String of Beads’ provides ground cover. They also do well when planted in hanging baskets and pots as a hanging succulent.

Senecio Fish Hooks “Grey Fishhooks Senecio’

Fish Hook Senecio “Grey Fishhooks Senecio’ is also known as the ‘Fishhooks Plant’ It’s native to South Africa. They get their name from the shape of their leaves which look like fish hooks. The bluish green leaves grow on long stems that can reach up to 4 inches long.

Senecio Fish Hooks ‘Grey Fishhooks Senecio’ Care

‘Grey Fishhooks Senecio’ is a trailing succulent and is easy to grow and care for and does well both indoor and outdoor.

Position the succulent in a location that they get bright light but away from the direct hot Summer sun because they get burnt.

When watering the succulent, let it almost thoroughly dry out in between watering. Thoroughly water the succulent and let the water drain out. Use well-draining soil to avoid rotting in the roots.

Propagation is easy using the stems or leaf cuttings which can be easily established in the soil where they root fast. The trailing succulents can be used in hanging baskets or in wall pots. They can also be used in mixed container plantings just be careful because their fast growth means that they can wander easily.

Euphorbia caput-medusae ‘Medusa Head’

Euphorbia caput-medusae ‘Medusa Head’ is native to South Africa. The succulent has many snake-like stems which resemble the head of Medusa hence the name. The stems arise from a short cylindrical central caudex. The deep-green stems can grow up to 30 cm in length and have small leaves.

In young ‘Medusa’s Head’ succulents, the arms grow upwards and only begin to trail as the plant matures. The mature succulent produces yellowish-green blooms that form clusters at the center of the plant.

When working with cacti and succulents that hang or trail you can plant them in funny planters or containers and express your creativity.

Euphorbia caput-medusae ‘Medusa Head’ Care

The ‘Medusa head’ is not drought tolerant and may require weekly watering during hot Summer months. Deep watering when the soil is a few inches dry is recommended. When the succulent curls its arms towards the center it’s usually an indication that it is water deprived.

‘Medusa’s Head’ thrives under direct sunlight but doesn’t tolerate frost well.

Propagation can be done easily through pups that form at the ends of the mature arms. The pups root easily when provided with soil and water.

Ceropegia linearis woodii ‘String of Hearts’

Ceropegia linearis woodii ‘String of Hearts’ is also referred to as the ‘Rosary Vine’. This trailing plant is also native to South Africa and is one of the succulents that hang for over 183cm.

‘Strings of Hearts’ produce stems with a pale green to dark green colored leaves. The layered leaves make the plant a sight to behold.

Ceropegia linearis woodii ‘String of Hearts’ Care

Establish the ‘String of Hearts’ in a location with bright light but away from direct sunlight.

The watering needs are higher during the warmer Summer months also the growing months and decline during Winter. When watering, allow the top inch or so of the soil to dry in between watering cycles. Misting is not advisable and any watering should be done deeply.

It’s also recommended to use well-draining soil to avoid root rot.

‘Strings of Hearts’ look great in hanging baskets that hang a few feet high to provide them with enough room for the vines to hang.

Crassula Pellucida Variegata ‘Calico Kitten’

Crassula Pellucida Variegata ‘Calico Kitten’ produce heart-shaped variegated leaves. The leaves have different colors that include pink, cream, green, and purple. Many plant lovers are attracted to the beauty in this succulent’s leaves.

When exposed to full sunlight the leaves turn to a dark purple color. The ‘Calico Kitten’ also produces white blooms.

Crassula Pellucida Variegata ‘Calico Kitten’ Care

The care of the ‘Calico Kitten’ is minimal and they don’t need to be babied. Plant the succulents in well-draining soil to get the best results. Water the soil when it’s dry and give a deep soak.

They do well when established in hanging baskets or directly planted in soil where they provide ground cover.

Mature plants produce white blooms.

Buy the ‘Calico Kitten’

Dischidia nummularia ‘Strings of Nickels’

Dischidia nummularia ‘Strings of Nickels’ are originally from the tropical rainforests. When growing in nature, the plant is an epiphyte meaning it grows on other plants, rocks, and tree trunks.

The hanging plant produces long trailing stems with round and flat leaves which resemble coins hence the name. The leaves are green in color with a blue-grayish tone.

When mature the trailing succulent produces creamy white blooms.

Dischidia nummularia ‘Strings of Nickels’ Care

The important aspect when caring for ‘Strings of Nickels’ is providing the right type of soil mix. Because the plant is epiphytic, it does not do well in just any type of soil.

They require extremely well-draining soil. Epiphytic soil mix contains coconut husks and shredded bark to facilitate proper growth. Adding gravel, pebbles, and pumice to the typical cactus soil mix helps improve drainage.

Position the ‘Strings of Nickels’ in a location with a high level of humidity compared to other succulents. The plant also does well when it gets bright light but not in direct sunlight.

Establish them in hanging baskets and allow the trails/vines to cascade displaying the plant’s beauty. It can also be incorporated in raised planters or in living wreaths.

Sedum morganianum ‘Donkey’s Tail’

Sedum Morganianum ‘Donkey’s Tail’ is also known as the ‘Burro’s Tail’ as well as the ‘Lamb’s Tail’.

Sedum burrito ‘Burro’s Tail’ is native to Mexico. These succulents that hang produce blue-green to lime-green pointy leaves that are long. The stems grow on long stems that trail downwards and appear tail like hence the name.

Sedum morganianum‘ Donkey’s Tail’ Care

Donkey’s Tail’ is rather drought resistant especially when mature. Provide the trailing succulent with well-drained soil. Just like the other succulents, water when the soil is dry to avoid overwatering. After giving the succulent a good drink, wait for the soil to dry before watering again.

Plant the trailing plant in a location it will get indirect sunlight for best results. It is a great addition to hanging baskets as well as in different arrangements with trailing plants.

Sedum burrito ‘Baby Donkey Tail’

Sedum burrito ‘Baby Donkey Tail’ is also commonly known as the ‘Burro’s Tail’ which causes it to be confused with the ‘Donkey’s Tail’.

This hanging succulent is native to Mexico. It has long stems which can be differentiated from the ‘Donkey tail’ because of the shape of the leaves. The leaves are plump and dense which are much shorter and smaller compared to those of the ‘Donkey Tail’. The leaves are also blue-green to lime-green in color.

Sedum burrito ‘Baby Donkey Tail’ Care

‘Baby Donkey Tail’ is easy to grow. Apart from providing the plant with well-draining soil, they also require bright but indirect sunlight.

The watering needs of the hanging succulent are higher during the warmer Summer months and less during the Winter months. Just like with the other succulent’s water deeply and allow the top inch of the soil to dry in between watering cycles.

These eye-catching succulents are popular and used in hanging baskets as well as in raised planters which allow them to spill over the edges. They can also be used creating a wall display.

When mature they produce fragrant blooms.

Buy the ‘Baby Donkey Tail’

Aporocactus Flagelliformis ‘Rat Tail Cactus’

Aporocactus Flagelliformis ‘Rat Tail Cactus’ is native to Mexico. This trailing cactus can be grown both indoor and outdoor. ‘Rat Tail cactus’ produce stems that grow up to 1 meter long.

The stems produce small, fine spines that are neatly packed together. When mature, the cactus produces gorgeous red and pink colored blooms.

Aporocactus Flagelliformis ‘Rat Tail Cactus’ Care

‘Rat Tail Cactus’ can do well in cactus soil mix which is well-draining. The succulent plant also does well in a bright area.

Watering should be done when the soil is dry and should be more frequent during the hotter Summer months.

‘Rat Tail Cactus’ propagation is done using stem cuttings. Propagated stems root easily and can easily be established in the soil.

The succulent also performs best when grown in hanging baskets which allows the long stems to grow and spread freely. Tall pots or raised planters are also suitable.

Hoya Plant ‘Wax Plant’

Hoya Plant ‘Wax Plant’ is also known as the ‘Hindu Rope’. It is native to East Asia, India, and Australia.

The plant has vine-like qualities and produces leaves that are thick and almost heart-shaped. The leaves have a deep green color. It is not one of the common types of cacti and succulents that hang or trail but it’s a great plant.

Hoya Plant ‘Wax Plant’ Care

‘Wax Plant’ should be grown in partial shade to thrive. Although they need light, they don’t do well in under direct and intense sunlight that is unfiltered.

They can be grown both indoor as house plants as well as outdoor. Grow them in hanging baskets and allow the stems to hang over the edges.

The Hoya plant also requires more moisture compared to other succulents. Water when the soil is dry and increase the frequency of watering during growing months in the Summer and reduce frequency during Winter.

Hildewintera Colademononis ‘Monkey’s Tail’

Hildewintera Colademononis ‘Monkey’s Tail’ is native to Bolivia. The cactus is epilithic and grows on rocks.

This interesting cactus produces light green stems which are covered with long, white, soft-hairy spines. When they are young, the stems are clumped together and grow upright. As they mature, they begin to trail and grow as long as 2,5 meters long.

Hildewintera Colademononis ‘Monkey’s Tail’ Care

‘Monkey’s Tail’ can tolerate full sunlight, the long hairs protect the plant from extreme heat and frost. They, however, need well-draining soil that will not cause root rot.

When watering, keep the soil relatively dry during Winter and water during warmer Summer months.

When mature, the hanging plants produce showy bring magenta or red blooms.

This is one of the most interesting succulents that hang and trail to have to grow in any space. It has so much character and creates so much interest.

Echinopsis Chamaecereus ‘Peanut Cactus’

Echinopsis Chamaecereus ‘Peanut Cactus’ is native to Argentina. This cactus that hangs produces finger-like stems that clump together and can reach up to 10cm long.

The stems have small, soft, and bristly white spines. On reaching maturity, the cactus produces showy orange-red blooms. An interesting addition to cacti and succulents that hang and trail.

Echinopsis Chamaecereus ‘Peanut Cactus’ Care

‘Peanut Cactus’ require more watering when the weather is hot compared to when the temperatures are cooler. Water deeply when the top inch of the soil is dry.

Grow them in pots filled with well-draining potting mix. The hanging baskets are ideal for the cactus because they allow the plant’s stems to grow and branch freely.

Othonna capensis ‘Ruby Necklace’

Othonna capensis ‘Ruby Necklace’ is also known as the ‘Little Pickles’. This vibrant hanging succulent is native to South Africa. ‘Ruby Necklace’ produce reddish-purple stems lined with bean-shaped, plump leaves that are green-bluish in color.

When mature, the ‘Ruby Necklace’ produces beautiful yellow blooms that look like daisies.

Othonna capensis ‘Ruby Necklace’ Care

The hanging plant thrives when established in a location where they get bright sunlight. It’s one of the succulents that will tolerate full sun without sustaining any damages.

They also require well-draining soil mix. Just like with most other succulent plants, watering should be done when the soil is dry. Higher frequency of watering during Summer and less during colder Winter months.

Sedum Little Missy ‘Sedum Petite Bicolor’

Sedum Little Missy ‘Sedum Petite Bicolor’ is an evergreen perennial succulent. The ‘Little Missy’ is mat-forming and produces many stems. It produces green-grey leaves with a pale green and pinkish touch on the margins.

‘Little Missy’ also produces clusters of pink and white flowers that bloom in the Summer.

Sedum Little Missy ‘Sedum Petite Bicolor’ Care

‘Sedum Petite Bicolor’ is a low maintenance succulent that shouldn’t be babied. The succulent is not fussy and will thrive in most conditions where other plants are struggling.

They grow well in hanging baskets, containers, planters, as well as directly in the ground. Plant them in the parts of your yard where you are struggling to grow anything else.

‘Little Missy’ propagation is as easy as it gets. In fact, stem cuttings dropped on the ground will just start to root especially with the shorter varieties. When propagating the long varieties, stick the cut stems into the soil and they will also grow easily.

Conclusion

Cacti and succulents that hang or trail are great additions to any outdoor or indoor space. Not only are they easy to take care of but they also bring great interest and character.

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Oh sweet little String Of Hearts, many people think you’re a succulent but you aren’t. This trailing houseplant is durable, easy as can be and the care is similar to a fleshy succulent but it shares the same family with another plant I love, the Hoya. They are both considered to be a succulent vine.

The botanic moniker is Ceropegia woodii but it also goes by Rosary Vine or Chain Of Hearts.

My Hoya, a cousin to the String Of Hearts, has grown like crazy so it’s time to repot that soon.

This unusual beauty with heart-shaped foliage, hence the name, came with me when I moved from Santa Barbara to Tucson. In the 4 months that I’ve lived here, this plant (which hangs in my pink grapefruit tree) has grown like the dickens. The trails were all about about 12″ long and now the longest are 43″. I’ve fast discovered that Rosary Vine loves the heat!

The Rosary Vine loves the heat but not direct sun.

Although a healthy String Of Hearts has a lot of foliage on many stems, it’s not a full and bushy vine. It stays on the wispy side but this, along with the flowers, are a big part of its appeal. Mine got hopelessly tangled on the 9 hour “car crammed full of plants drive” to my new home and that way it’ll stay. Tangles and all, it’s doing just fine.

Here are some things to know about the Rosary Vine:

Size:

The trails of a Rosary Vine can reach up to 12′ long in its natural habit. Usually when grown as a houseplant it doesn’t get much past 2′ long. Mine grows outdoors & is well on the way to 4′ long.

Exposure:

Indoors you want to give it very bight light with no direct sun. A west window is fine but just make sure it isn’t up against the hot glass. Outdoors I keep mine in bright shade with no direct sunlight – it grows under my pink grapefruit tree.

Water:

When grown as a houseplant, you want your String Of Hearts to dry out in between waterings. As I said, this plant isn’t technically a succulent but you want to treat it like 1. I was watering mine every other day here in the desert in those hot summer months but now it’s October (the highs are right around 90) & I’ve backed off to every 3-5 days. Give it too much water & kiss it goodbye!

Important to know: water even less in the winter because the Rosary Vine goes dormant.

My String Of Hearts is a trailing machine!

Hardiness:

Mine lived outdoors in Santa Barbara where the winter temps could dip into the high 30’s F, low 40’s. I read somewhere that it’s hardy to 25F so I plan on leaving outside here in Tucson & see what happens.

Soil:

A succulent & cactus mix is just fine. If you have some coco coir, your String Of Heats would love it added to the mix. Or, a combo of half cymbidium orchid & half succulent mixes would work fine too. Just make sure the mix drains really well.

Transplanting:

It’s best to transplant your Rosary Vine in spring or summer.

Fertilizer:

Like most of my plants, I top dress with worm castings in the spring. If you feel yours needs some feeding, then an application of balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer in spring would work too.

Flowers:

Yes it does! Mine started flowering at the end of summer & the blooms just keep on coming.

Here are those sweet but funny little flowers.

Pruning:

Not much of any is needed. I’ve only cut a few dead stems out. If yours gets leggy or you want to propagate it by cuttings, then you’ll need to prune.

Propagation:

The easiest ways are by stems cuttings & by laying the tubers right on top of a mix. They root very quickly.

Pests:

Mine has never had any but reportedly mealybugs can appear. Keep your eye out for aphids & scale also.

There are 2 reasons why people have trouble with the Rosary Vine: not enough light &/or too much water, especially in the winter months.

The String Of Hearts or Rosary Vine is a great trailing houseplant.

In warmer climates, you can grow it outdoors year round. There’s also a variegated form of it which has a touch of pink. I’m going to plant mine in a large hanging basket with String Of Pearls and String of Bananas. Stayed tuned for that post and video!

Happy gardening,

Just because … A butterfly enjoying my Red Bird Of Paradise.

If you like trailing succulents then check out Fishhooks Senecio, it’s very easy to grow!

Gardening How-to Articles

Ceropegias: Succulent Vines That Bloom Indoors

By Sage Reynolds | June 1, 2003

I saw my first photograph of a ceropegia when I was about ten years old. It was Ceropegia racemosa subspecies setifera, and I was struck by the unusual flower and its graphic coloring. This was a plant I wanted to grow. However, it wasn’t until about 30 years later, in the late 1980s, that I was able to find and begin to grow these vines with their weirdly sculptural and colorful flowers.

Ceropegias are plants of tropical and subtropical regions from the Canary Islands (where Ceropegia fusca is native) through Africa and Madagascar to China, Indonesia, and northern Australia. They are found in a wide range of habitats from equatorial forest to semidesert.

The wide climatic and geographical range gives rise to a variety of plant shapes and habits. Most ceropegias are vines—including all that are discussed in this article—but there are some that resemble small bushes, stands of gray organ pipes (Ceropegia fusca), slithering snakes (C. stapeliiformis), and legless lizards (C. armandii). The stems can be as thick as cigars (C. stapeliiformis) or as thin as twine (C. ampliata, C. leroyi). The leaves usually appear in pairs opposite each other, at nodes along the stems. The leaves can be minuscule (C. stapeliiformis), very succulent (C. sandersonii), paper thin and deciduous (C. elegans), large and broad (C. cumingiana), needlelike (C. dichotoma), or absent (C. devecchii). The roots of some ceropegias are fleshy; others are fibrous; and some are tuberous, the result of the different species evolving in areas with seasonal drought and terrains of varying soil qualities.

Ceropegias as a group are unusual houseplants. Except for the common Ceropegia woodii and its cousin tuberous types, the vines are too vigorous for casual indoor growing. Provided they get good light, warmth, and moving air, many will quickly fill a four-foot tomato-cage support and reach for more.

Flowers appear at the nodes, where both leaves and roots also form. They usually consist of a tube with hairs inside that point downward. The tube may be straight or have bends (Ceropegia aristolochioides) or bulges (C. crassifolia, C. rupicola). Its five corolla lobes (or petals) may be open (C. stapeliiformis) or joined at the tips (C. ampliata). The flowers are usually whitish, with combinations of bright green, brown, and maroon spots, stripes, and shading. The buds start out looking like small bullets, and as they grow they can develop bulges or curves, tops becoming umbrellas (C. sandersonii, C. monteiroae) or cages (C. ampliata, C. armandii). The bud of C. devecchii looks like a Buddhist vajra symbol before opening.

Ceropegia distincta subspecies haygarthii resembles a spotted Venetian wineglass stuffed with little pillows and topped with a fuzzy antenna. The flowers can grow from almost nothing to 3.5 inches long in little more than a week. Blooming is triggered by a combination of increasing day length and warmer nights. In late spring, when nighttime temperatures are rising and the daylight hours are lengthening, ceropegias such as C. conrathii respond with faster growth and start blooming. Others, such as C. sandersonii, wait until the heat of midsummer, and still others, such as C. ampliata, don’t flower until the days begin to shorten noticeably in fall.

Growing Ceropegias

Soil quality does not seem to be very important for growing ceropegias successfully, but good drainage is vital. Regular applications of 20-20-20 fertilizer at half strength are beneficial during growth periods. The real key to a collection of gorgeously flowering ceropegias seems to be adequate warmth. They all benefit greatly from a warm summer spent outside in bright filtered light but out of direct sun. Most ceropegias are happy when temperatures are in the high 70s at all times, but they will tolerate cooler temperatures in winter while they are dormant. A sunny windowsill is all that some will require then.

Most of the ceropegias I have grown tend to slow down or go completely dormant in winter. Responding to their changed needs in winter is key to their well-being. Many species develop seasonal roots that dry up and die off in the plant’s dormant season. During winter, the tuberous types need to be kept dry (C. conrathii is especially prone to rot) and should be watered only when evidence of new growth appears in late spring. Many of the thinner vines (C. woodii, C. ampliata, C. linearis, C. elegans) can tolerate low light levels and will continue to grow slowly throughout the cooler months and can safely be watered. Thick, leafless vines like C. devecchii should be kept dry, but it’s fine to water C. stapeliiformis if it is still growing. C. crassifolia develops fleshy roots to which it dies back completely, only to reemerge in late spring. (Don’t throw out that empty-looking pot!)

Pests and Diseases

Ceropegias have relatively few pest problems. Tuberous types and some of the deciduous vines can harbor the occasional mealy bug. In the greenhouse or during the summer outside, a slug may find a tuber tasty. Plants are most vulnerable right after they move back inside after a summer spent outdoors. A ceropegia that has bloomed with an extraordinary number of flowers is especially susceptible to sudden death. The plant may have exhausted itself or its soil and be too weak to cope with the change in light and humidity that are part of moving inside. Other ceropegias may die suddenly from a fungal infection or rot. Once a thick stem has black spots on it, there is little you can do beyond cutting the growing tips off the plant and trying to root them and discarding the rest.

Growing Ceropegias From Cuttings

The best way to a sustainable collection of abundantly flowering ceropegias is to take cuttings every year and discard the original plant after it’s been in the same pot and soil for two years. (If you can’t bear to discard the plant, at least repot it every two years.) Starting from scratch every two years is especially effective for vining types, which turn woody after a few years. Woody stems seem to lose vigor, but new stems sprout roots easily, and with new soil they will bloom more readily. Take cuttings any time the plant is growing. Allow the cut tip of a vine cutting to callus over for two to three days to prevent rotting. In spring or fall, put the cutting into either a clear plastic box or bag with a moistened mixture of half perlite and half peat moss until it develops roots. In summer, try curling the vines around in a pot or hanging basket on top of potting soil. In either case, keep the cuttings out of direct sunlight to prevent cooking them. If you successfully root cuttings, you’ll have a number of plants that you can try growing in different areas of your home or garden. It’s a useful way to find out where the plants thrive. Another advantage of multiples is that they serve as a form of insurance against losing the species from your collection. If you don’t have luck or space for cuttings yourself, pass them on to friends who do. That way there’s a chance that you can get a new start should you lose a rare plant.

Ceropegias to Grow at Home

Over the years I have grown many species from all parts of the Ceropegia world, except India and China, whose export policies make it extremely difficult to obtain living plant material or seeds. The following plants are among the easiest to grow and bring to flower. None of the vining plants are small. I grow vining types (C. sandersonii, C. lugardae, C. distincta) in seven- to ten-inch clay pots with a trellis made from an slightly modified tomato cage that forms a wire column on which the plants can easily climb. The tuberous types (C. ampliata, C. leroyi) are grown in hanging baskets of varying diameters. You can find more information about the plants discussed in this article and other Ceropegia species at http://sagereynolds.com.

Ceropegia ampliata

Ceropegia ampliata. Photo by Sage Reynolds.

Native to South Africa, where it is found in Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, and the Cape provinces, this plant has fibrous roots and minuscule to invisible leaves. Unbelievable numbers of white and green flowers up to two inches long appear for about two weeks in September, completely covering the plant. Ceropegia ampliata is fairly easy to grow in ordinary well-draining potting soil. The plant trails and weakly attempts to climb before it begins to bloom and is best grown in a hanging basket. In summer, I hang the plant on the north side of my porch in bright light but away from direct sunlight and water it generously, like all my other plants in hanging baskets.

Ceropegia denticulata

This native of Tanzania is easy to keep and seems quite tame compared with some other varieties like Ceropegia aristolochioides and C. elegans, whose tendrils have to be controlled daily. Easily grown from cuttings, the plant has flower buds near almost every leaf in September. It thrives when grown outside for the summer, and the occasional cool night does not cause the demise of flower buds or other harm. During the early part of the summer, my plant was so small for so long that I set its pot and trellis into a pot where C. ballyana was growing (and not blooming). Now, several months later, they have entwined themselves so thoroughly, it will be difficult to separate the two. But it’s easy to tell which vine is which: The leaves of C. denticulata are succulent and yellow-green with pointed ends; the leaves of C. ballyana are more succulent, slightly larger, and dark green with prominent central veins and round ends.

Ceropegia distincta subspecies haygarthii

Native to Angola and South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal and Cape provinces, it is one of the easiest ceropegias to grow. Only Ceropegia woodii, the common rosary vine, is easier. C. distincta subspecies haygarthii tolerates a wide range of conditions and will grow well in most home environments, though it may not bloom until it can be moved outside for the summer. This species is also less susceptible to rot if overwatered. The stems are a little more than 1/8-inch thick, the roots are fibrous, and the leaves are thin and deciduous. This vigorous plant will root where it touches the ground and easily fills a three-foot trellis. It’s best to start new plants at least every two years if not every year, as the stems turn white after a year and seem less capable of supporting new growth. Flowers appear on new growth, and providing the growing area is warm enough, they will appear in profusion for a long period during the summer. With their fuzzy antennae, shaded corollas, and crisp maroon spots, they are delightfully comical. Temperature seems to be key, and I suspect that the species can be kept in continuous bloom in warmer climates, provided that the plants are repotted annually and fertilized heavily. I’ve had buds appear on my plants in early April as the days begin to lengthen noticeably, but all buds were aborted until nighttime temperatures stayed above 60°F.

Ceropegia monteiroae

This plant, another native of South Africa, is closely related to C. sandersonii and very similar in flower color and shape. It is fairly new in the marketplace, remarkably easy to grow, and a prolific bloomer. The bright chartreuse flowers are about three inches long and have a lively purple fringe on the lobes that moves in the slightest breeze.

Ceropegia sandersonii

Native to Mozambique and South Africa’s Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal provinces, this plant has very succulent, lance-shaped leaves, robust stems, and fleshy roots. It is fairly easy to grow and does best when it spends the summer outdoors in the same high shade that rhododendrons enjoy. Each spring, the plant sends up new growth from its roots. New stems give rise to a display of spectacular four-inch-long flowers. The vine may grow up to 12 feet long in the course of a summer outside. At the end of summer or sometime in fall, before you move the plant back into the house, cut it back drastically. Before winter I move the plant inside under the lights in my studio, cut it back, and water sparingly to prevent desiccation. The plant continues to grow more slowly through the winter.

Ceropegia stapeliiformis

Ceropegia stapeliiformis. Photo by Sage Reynolds.

Native to the Cape provinces of South Africa, Ceropegia stapeliiformis was one of the first ceropegias I collected and is one of the easiest to grow. In nature, the plant’s stems grow horizontally along the ground toward a spot that offers dappled sunlight. C. stapeliiformis thrives underneath shrubs, where greater moisture promotes root growth and leaf mold provides nutrients. Shrub branches also offer supports on which the plant can climb and display its flowers higher up, where they may be more easily found by pollinators.

For the collector, the plant’s main attraction is its thick maroon- and gray-mottled snakelike stem, but its flowers are also surprisingly bizarre. When a new plant gets ready to bloom, its stem thins and starts to climb. Once the stem is about two feet above the roots, buds start to form, giving rise to numerous 2.5-inch-long flowers. Their corollas open to expose a fuzzy white or pale green star. The plant seems to like a place in high shade where it gets some morning and afternoon sun. When I have grown it in full sun, the stem has always grown away from the light, snaking around pots to climb an Abutilon or Pelargonium before blooming. It has never set seeds, even though I have seen a lot of small flies on the corolla lobes while the flowers were open. To bring the plant into bloom in cultivation, it’s best to take new cuttings each year. Simply break off new shoots that may already have formed roots and grow them in new soil.

Ceropegia stapeliiformis subspecies serpentina is a much shyer bloomer with a thinner, greenish stem that grows over three feet long before flowers form. One of my plants produced only one elegant flower—all green and white without any red in it—over the course of seven years. This year I put the pot on the ground in my garden. A stem rooted in the earth, sent a new shoot up a bamboo stake, and then produced four flowers at each node between July and October. (Maybe next year I’ll take the rest of the shy bloomers and plant them in the garden soil instead of keeping them in pots.)

Sage Reynolds is an artist and designer. He runs the Four Hands Design Studio, which he founded in 1977 with his partner, Colman Rutkin, in New York. He has been growing ceropegias and other succulent plants for more than 30 years. As a hobbyist, he has also hybridized azaleas, lilies, lithops, and abutilons.

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