The 5 Rarest Succulents


Succulents come in a vast range of shapes and colors that never cease to astonish us with their weird forms. Some are very hard to find and if you do, it will be a great addition to your collection. What are the rare succulents?

Rare succulents are those that cannot be acquired easily from any local stores. Here are among the five most rare succulents:

  1. Trachyandra Tortilis
  2. Tephrocactus Geometricus
  3. Albuca Spiralis
  4. Eulychnia Castanea F. Varispiralis
  5. Kalanchoe Rhombopilosa

Rare succulents are interesting at the same time challenging to grow and care for. Below are the list of rare succulents with their features, care, and propagation guide. Stick around because who knows, you might get one of them on hand in time.

What Are The 5 Rarest Succulents?

Rare succulents are those plants that only collectors usually possess. These are available for buyers through not usual channels (like Facebook groups or personal contacts) and they can cost hundreds of dollars (or more) for very small plants.

5- Kalanchoe Rhombopilosa

Common Name: Pies From Heaven

Features

The Kalanchoe Rhombopilosa is a species native to Southern Madagascar. They are perennial succulent from the family of Crassulaceae. Their small leaves (2-3cm long) are white, fan-shaped, with flaky brown markings. They are delicate and tend to detach at the slightest touch. The symmetrical leaves resemble glittery silver butterflies clumped in a stem.

The fuzzy upright stems are rigid and thin that grow up to 10 – 25 centimeters tall. The four-petaled flowers are greenish-yellow with spectacular red tips that usually bloom from February to May.

How To Care

Kalanchoes are very easy to grow because they thrive on neglect. Plant them on loam and sand substrate with pumice stones or lava grits for good drainage. These species prefer an east-facing sunny location, especially in the summer growing season.

They need a moderate amount of water in summer and very little in winter. Allow the topsoil to dry out between waterings. Excess water is seldom the cause of their death. They would love a warm temperature up to, but it can survive winter with a minimum temperature of 5 centigrade (41F). Kalanchoes can do well indoors and outdoors.

Propagation

Propagation is possible through stem cutting and leaf. Place the single leaf on top of the substrate, and it will grow new shoots after several weeks.

4- Eulychnia Castanea f. Varispiralis

Common Name: Spiral Cactus

Features

The unusual Eulychnia Castanea varispiralis is one of the four nursery cultivars of Eulychnia Castanea native to Chile. The rare cultivars are greatly sought after by cactus collectors worldwide. The discoidal form is distinguished by green discs stacked on top of one another, with rigid, yellow spines coming out between the discs.

The striking twists and turns on its stem are like an ice cream swirl. This unique form attracts cactus collectors pretty well. You can expect the plant to reach a height of roughly 2m (6.5ft) and a diameter of around 10 cm (4′′) as it matures. The plant grows in a spiral, either clockwise or counterclockwise. Its areoles are hidden in between the discs.

How To Care

Eulychnias look good if potted. To keep the plant compact, it needs full sun or partial shade. Full sun exposure promotes flowering and the formation of thick spines. It can tolerate a hot climate and intense sun but a prolonged period of frost.

During winter, place them in a cool area and keep them dry. They are hardy up -2 ° C but only for brief periods. A warm climate throughout the year will increase their growth and chance of developing a blossom.

Eulychnias prefers a gritty and sandy cactus substrate. It prefers moderate but regular watering in the summer allowing the topsoil to dry out between waterings to avoid root rot due to excess water. In the summer, use a potassium-rich fertilizer.

Propagation

Eulychnias are usually grafted on top of mytrillocactusgeometrizans. Grafting is one way of propagating them, and direct planting on the soil mix works too. Their blooms, if successfully pollinated, will produce seeds fit for sowing.

3- Albuca Spiralis

Common Name: Frizzle Sizzle, Corkscrew Albuca

Features

Another rare succulent native to South Africa is the Albuca Spiralis, a plant that belongs to geophytes (bulb-forming). This succulent can grow up to 20 cm tall. Its leaves are just something else. These are quite unique, upright with spiraled tips that remind frizzy hairs. This coiled tipped grass-like plant has distinctive green and yellow lacy flowers that emerge in the late winter to mid-spring. It blooms in the daytime and closes at night.

How To Care

Albuca spiralis does best indoors and prefers continuous indirect sunlight although they become dormant in the summer. The degree of leaf spirals is determined by the amount of light received by the plant. The more sunlight, the curlier the tips get.

The south-facing window location is an ideal spot for Albuca. Too much sunlight can damage the thin leaves of the plant. During winter when the plant is in full growth, pay attention to watering and keep the soil moist. Make sure not to provide too much water as it may damage the bulbs and result in rot.

A well-draining soil mix composed of loam, pumice, and gritty minerals is best for an Albuca for proper drainage. A complete fertilizer will give the plant a good boost during growth. This Albuca cannot handle intense heat and cold temperature, therefore make sure that your temperature must stick around 65 F.

Propagation

While other succulents can be propagated through leaf or stem cutting, this Albuca spiralis is different. They are propagated by separating a rooted bulb from the main bulb. Another way is through the seeds. The best time for sowing Albuca leaves is between the autumn and winter season.

2- Tephrocactus Geometricus

Common Name: None

Features

A Tephrocactus Geometricus thrives in an exceedingly arid environment, entirely exposed to the scorching heat of Argentinian climate. It is an “opuntia” species, with weird “geometric” shapes on its surface that are most sought-after by cacti enthusiasts.

The stems are unique globes that sprout from one another forming segments. Each segment measures 4-5 cm in diameter. Tephrocacactus Geometricus is quite a stunner when sun-stressed and in a clumping state, as it resembles large grapes. The segments have an interesting characteristic to take on different colors from bluish-green to reddish-purple when stressed. New growth coming out from the areoles are always purple in color.

The plant has none to few leaves and glochids, and areoles appear to be white felt. The solid flattened spines are present in the top portion that measures 2- 15 mm long, usually white to black pointing downward. Flowers are diurnal and easy to develop. They vary from white to off pink that blooms for only a day.

How To Care

Tephrocactus prefers full direct sunlight exposure to maintain its globulous segments. During their season of growth in summer, water regularly provided that the substrates are well-draining. This species is prone to rot when overwatered so let the soil dry out first before introducing water again.

They are slow growers, producing only 1 segment each year. They are winter dormant, so cut back from watering throughout the season. They can handle light frost and need to be kept in a cool dry place with good air circulation to avoid rot.

Propagation

Tephrocactus is best produced from rooted segments as well as grafting to the compatible rootstock to speed up growth. Propagation through seeds is viable but germination can be very challenging.

1- Trachyandra Tortilis

Common Name: None

Features

The weird-looking Trachyandra tortilis is native to South Africa and Madagascar. This perennial succulent is quite rare to find. It has unique features of green intestine-like folded and coiled upright leaves that grow up 25 cm. When in lush form, the leaves clumped, forming a seaweed-like plant under the ocean floor.

Leaves of Trachyandra are grey-green sprouting from the base of the plant and measures 10 cm in length and 2 cm in width. They bloom in the late winter and early spring. The small flowers that emerge from a stalk vary from gray to pale pink that only last for less than 24 hours.

How To Care

The plant is dormant in summer and grows back in fall. During fall and spring, introduce water every two weeks and once or twice throughout the summer. Be very careful when watering, as too much moisture is harmful to the roots. To avoid excessive moisture accumulation, allow the soil to dry out after each watering.

Use a soil mix rich, sand and pumice combination to make draining efficient. Trachyandra prefers indirect bright sunlight with good air ventilation. So an east-facing or south-facing windowsill at home or in the office will make the plant happy. When sunlight is harsh during summer, remove the plant from the window sill to protect the leaves from wilting.

A temperature between 41- 59 Fahrenheit is appropriate for Trachyandra. They cannot tolerate humid, hot surroundings and prefers dry and cool climates. Succulents of this type are not advisable for novice collectors.

Propagation

A Trachyandra tortilis can grow from seeds. However, it will take much longer. To propagate them easily, do the leaf propagation by cutting a portion of a healthy plant, leaving an inch above the stem. Allow the cuttings to heal and be callous. When roots start to emerge, plant them in a new pot and water after seven days.

Takeaways

  1. Rare succulents have interesting forms that attract an enthusiast.
  2. Grafting a slow grower succulent will give their growth a boost and for faster propagation.
  3. Most rare succulents are sensitive to excess water and more prone to rot.

Sources

“Five Facts: Geophytes,” Mary Lou Watkinson,Florida Museum, University of Florida

“Pollination Mechanism and Plant Pollinator Relationship,” University of Missouri

Namaqualand – an overview over its climate, geological conditions and resulting flora

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Esther

Esther is the self-proclaimed cactusholic :D of the team. She owns a cacti shop with hundreds of plants that she takes care of. Esther has many years of experience in growing and caring for drought-resistant plants like cacti and succulents.

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