Jades: check. Snake plants: check. Zebra plant? Everybody’s got one. An aloe or two: absolutely. These are the greatest hits of the succulent world, found everywhere they’re sold, from corner stores with a couple dusty aloes to big-box DIY stores with two aisles … of exactly the same dozen or so plants.
But what to look for when it’s time for something a little less familiar?
Below, a few of our favorite under-the-radar succulents.
With its red-purple stems, ruby necklaces are a highly dramatic plant, with beans that will turn bright-red in full sun or a soft green in shadier conditions.
If you haven’t seen them before, living stones are an object of fascination, with fleshy, tubby, diamond-shaped leaves. Its flowers, meanwhile, and bright and sunny, coming at the end of winter (as long as it got plenty of sun.)
Fenestraria aurantiaca looks more like tiny green fingers than toes, growing up to a maximum of three inches. They’re a lovely color as well — a soft blue-green, with rosy pink undertones.
Cathedral window plant
Native to South Africa, the cathedral window plant takes its name from the rosette glass common to great cathedrals. Give it lots of sun, good drainage, and just enough water, and it’ll reward you with pale pink flowers in early summer.
A tweak on the ubiquitous heart-shaped hoya kerrii, calico hearts are similar, with large, flat leaves with chocolate-colored marbling. Also native to South Africa, it will love sun and well-draining soil.