10 large succulents:
- Dinosaur back plant
- African candelabra tree
- The quiver tree
- Blue columnar cactus
- Century plant
- Whale’s tongue
- Madagascar dragon tree
- Saguaro cactus
- African baobab
- Desert spoon
Granted, it will take years for most of these to attain their full sizes. That aside, here are some more details about these mighty members of the beautiful succulent family.
Dinosaur Back Plant
The dinosaur back plant is a true embodiment of the unique and unusual appearance associated with succulent plants. The stems have this wavy appearance that, coupled with their larger-than-life size, is just hard to ignore.
It’s definitely a show-stopper regardless of whether you grow it indoors or outdoors. But being cold intolerant, you’ll certainly have to keep it in a container so that you move it inside as the readings plummet.
On average, the dinosaur back plant, native to southern Mexico, grows to just under five feet tall.
African Candelabra Tree
As you can tell from the name, the African candelabra tree is native to Africa, specifically the southern part largely in dry habitats. Here, it rises between 20 and 26 feet above the surrounding landscape.
While it has leaves, they don’t serve any particular function, usually dropping off after some time. Photosynthesis is exclusively handled by the plant’s green stems.
And just like all the Euphorbia species, the African Candelabra tree contains a milky sap that’s extremely poisonous and irritating. On the flip side, though, the sap has been used in the plant’s native range to treat certain ailments like cancer and ulcers.
The Quiver Tree
Native to the southern parts of the African continent, the quiver tree was named so by the locals as they hollowed out its branches to make quivers for their arrows. It can grow to a monstrous 20 feet high while the trunk reaches a thickness of about three feet.
That being said, the plant takes a long time to reach such an immense size, so it’ll appear stunted for years. For instance, the tree measures anywhere from just 1 to 2 inches at age three when it’s ready for transplanting.
Nevertheless, its distinct look has made it quite the darling among plant lovers around the world. Unfortunately, this has also contributed to the decline of the tree’s numbers in the wild.
Blue Columnar Cactus
The blue column cactus is one of the most common members of the Pilosocereus genus whose other members are endemic to Mexico, Brazil, and the Caribbean. Unlike most cacti species, it’s fairly fast-growing and can gain one to two feet per year with plenty of indirect sunlight and regular fertilization.
Besides the rapid growth that makes it a great choice, the blue columnar cactus is quite the beauty thanks to its bluish, ridged stem lined with yellow spines that turn grey as they age.
Also known as American aloe, this Mexican native can grow to well over six feet in height and as wide as 10 feet. The name “century” came from the belief that the plant bloomed after 100 years, which was found to be wrong.
The succulent throws up a single bloom in its lifetime, between the ages of 20 and 30 years.
While its leaves are green-gray for the most part, it’s not unusual to find variegated individuals which are, of course, even more breathtaking.
The leaves are tipped with sharp spines for protection, so you might want to be careful around the plant. Additionally, the leaves contain a mildly toxic sap which, again, calls for lots of precaution when dealing with this succulent.
Agave ovatifolia, more commonly known as whale’s tongue, needs a bit of careful handling. The leaf margins are lined with some not-so-nice thorns that can grow to well over an inch in length. Other than that, the plant is an absolute beauty.
It grows in a tight rosette with pointy flattened leaves that are grey to powdery blue. The whale’s tongue itself can grow to heights of up to five feet and spread out to just over six feet. Seeing that full size, however, depends on how patient you are as it takes this Mexican native a good 10 years to mature.
Madagascar Dragon Tree
This is one of the most popular members of the Dracaena genus, growing to heights of up to 15 feet in the wild. Don’t count on it to reach that height in your home, though, as you’ll likely have to put it in a pot given its low intolerance to freezing temperatures.
Additionally, it takes some 10 years for the succulent to reach five feet, so you’re going to wait for a long time to see anything in the neighborhoods of 10 feet.
No worries, though – the variegated green leaves with red margins more than make up for the lack of size.
At heights of up to 40 feet, Saguaro is probably one of the biggest – if not the biggest – cacti species out there. It also has one of the longest lifespans, extending up to 150 years.
The whole plant has the classic cactus structure with ribs and spines – only several times bigger. In the wild, saguaros are known for their arms, with the first one popping out when the plant is between 75 and 100 years old.
That means you’ll probably never see your saguaro grow arms if you were to get one today unless you buy a considerably old one.
Known for its prominent bottle-shaped trunk, the African baobab is perhaps one of the most interesting plant species to ever exist. Besides the size, of course, this succulent is also known for its longevity, living to be some 2,000 years old!
That means some of the fully-grown trees we see predate a lot of things today like Christianity, for instance. However, with the increased level of greenhouses and subsequent climate change, the baobab’s lifespan has reduced significantly along with the wild population.
Moving on, the baobab can reach heights of between 16 and 98 feet while the diameters range from 23 to 46 feet. Thanks to the thickness, the trees have been known to store as much as 120,000 liters of water in their trunks.
The desert spoon is easily noticeable not just for its height but because of its shrubby nature, spreading out as wide as four feet at maturity. The height is around the same value but can sometimes reach six feet.
The succulent is native to the Chihuahuan desert with the range spanning both the US and Mexico. While it does flower, you’ll have to wait for between seven and 10 years before you see the blooms, usually in late spring or early summer.
While the thought of succulents paints a picture of little plants on a windowsill, that’s not always the case. From the examples, some succulents can grow to some impressive sizes, making them the perfect garden centerpieces.
The size, though, will largely depend on the species you go with. A lot of these large succulent plants take ages to show any considerable changes in size.
So be ready to hold on tight if you’re going to grow any of these big beauties.
Hello! I’m Oscar, a freelance writer from Kenya. Among other topics, I also love writing about houseplants – succulents to be specific. I prefer them because they’re so much easier to care compared to other plants and they also offer so much variety in terms of shape, size, and color.