When I purchased my first batch of succulent cuttings online I was nervous to see the results. I questioned whether it was truly safe to send plants in the mail or if it was just a ploy to take my hard-earned money at best.
Much to my surprise, my first batch of succulents arrived looking healthier than I could have imagined! It turns out that these hardy plants can live off of their built-in water supply for plenty long enough to ship all the way across the US (and some). My cuttings even arrived while I was away on a weekend trip, so they say sat in the box a couple of days longer than I expected.
If you’re looking to buy your first succulent (and probably accidentally end up kicking off a lifelong houseplant addiction), or you’re a veteran succulent collector searching for that one rare plant you’re still missing–this succulent buyer’s guide is for you. I’m going to share options on where to buy succulents, both online and in person.
I’ve spent time reviewing which stores are trustworthy, which nurseries boast the biggest succulent assortment, and what you should look for when buying a new succulent.
Buying Succulents Online Versus In Person
There are pros and cons to shopping online versus in person. Here is a quick snapshot of the potential benefits and issues you might face.
Pros of Shopping for Succulents Online
There are a few big advantages to buying succulents online. For starters, if you’re looking for a specific plant, it’s probably your best option: you don’t have to guess whether your store of choice will have it, and you can easily compare prices. Online nurseries will also usually have larger assortments. Not to mention you don’t even have to leave your lazy chair to obtain your plants.
Cons of Shopping for Succulents Online
The downsides of shopping succulents online include the possibility that your plants will arrive a little banged up. Although most shops will package their goods very carefully, they can’t influence how the postal service treats your order after it leaves their hands. You can also run into scammers online, although that can be avoided by buying from reputable companies rather than individuals.
Pros of Shopping for Succulents Locally
Like shopping online, buying succulents in person has its advantages. One great thing is obviously the ability to see the plants in person. Additionally, stores may sometimes offer discounts on banged-up plants, so if you don’t mind a rehab project, you can sometimes get great deals. Shopping at small nurseries can be a little more expensive, but it’s a great way to support local businesses.
Cons of Shopping for Succulents Locally
Disadvantages of shopping succulents in person include having to leave your house (hah!) and the fact that they’ll usually have a limited amount of species on display. Toward the end of the season, plants at big box stores also generally won’t look their best, as employees don’t always know how to care for them.
Did you know?
Plants shipped from abroad can be confiscated by customs if they don’t include a Phytosanitary Certificate, PPQ Form 577, which can be very expensive. It’s best to only buy from sellers within your own country.
Where to Buy Succulents Online
Here are a few of my favorite places to shop for succulents online.
1. Leaf & Clay
What better place to grow succulents than Southern California? That’s probably what the creators of Leaf & Clay thought as well because the state is home to the greenhouses that supply their online succulent shop.
Leaf & Clay boasts of offering “Hundreds of succulents at your fingertips,” and a quick look at their store reveals they’re definitely not lying. They stock a wide variety of succulent and cactus species, enough to keep you busy collecting for a long, long time.
This company is a little more expensive than some of the others we’ll discuss here, but this is because they focus on bare-root shipping of premium quality plants. This raises the cost on their end because it’s more labor-intensive, but it results in healthier succulents.
Aside from succulents, Leaf & Clay also carries a pretty respectable range of houseplants, as well as a good assortment of pretty planters. If you’re looking for a gift, try their monthly succulent box subscription, The Plant Club. You get free shipping on all orders over $59.
|Shipping time||1-3 days for processing|
|Reviews||High in succulent Facebook communities|
|Pricing||A bit pricier|
Another online succulent store based out of southern California, Fairyblooms has a handy shopping system that lets you choose the size of succulent you’d like to buy before showing you what they’ve got for sale. Their store offers all of the standard succulents a beginner might want to start out with, as well as a small selection of rarer species and cultivars.
This is a great shop if you’re on a budget: prices are on the lower end, and you can get mixed bags of mini cuttings in their “Pixie” section. Additionally, orders over $50 qualify for free shipping.
Their cheap prices do mean that Fairyblooms doesn’t have as much margin to package things as perfectly as some other stores do, but even if your plants arrive a little banged up, they should bounce back fine with a little TLC.
|Shipping time||3-5 days for processing|
|Reviews||Mix old reviews, but recent high regards in succulent Facebook communities|
|Accessory assortment||Very limited|
3. Planet Desert
Planet Desert is an online succulent & cactus shop based out of… you guessed it… Southern California! This family-owned nursery just exudes love for the succulent hobby. It carries hundreds of different species, including unrooted cuttings for those on a budget. This is a great place to find both rare and common succulents, although they also offer some air plants.
If you’re not sure what to pick from Planet Desert’s large selection, they have a plant subscription box system. You choose how many succulents or cacti you want to receive each month, and they surprise you with the species.
You can also find fun DIY kits for things like succulent terrariums, as well as accessories like planters and soil. They even offer the possibility to buy wholesale. The only thing you won’t be able to shop for are houseplants, but with so many succulents to choose from, you probably won’t miss them.
|Shipping time||Up to 72hr for processing|
4. The Succulent Source
If you’re looking to buy multiple succulents at the same time, The Succulent Source (from Southern California, unsurprisingly) is definitely the place to be. This family-owned online shop sells plenty of regular loose plants, but it’s attractive in particular due to its variety of special product categories that you won’t find in other stores.
The Succulent Source is mostly known for its succulent wedding favor packages and even wedding accessories, including live succulent crowns and corsages. They also carry branded corporate gifts, which sounds to me like an excellent option for (small) business owners, as well as a handy “Exact” range, where WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get): you receive the exact plant shown in the picture. No more being surprised with succulents that don’t look quite as nice as the images on the site!
|Shipping time||USPS Priority 1-3 or FedEx 2-5 days|
Although the live succulent assortment on Amazon isn’t as extensive as you may expect, you still get some good options here. A few large nurseries, like Costa Farms, Shop Succulents, and Altman Plants sell on the platform, mainly offering larger succulent packs.
The great thing about shopping for succulents on Amazon is, of course, the infinite number of accessories you’ll find there. Sellers offer hundreds of different planters, plus all the other extras you may need: soil, soil amendments, watering cans, t-shirts, mugs, and caps that shout your love for succulents from the rooftops… it really is a one-stop shop.
I’ve personally bought so many succulent-related items on Amazon like terracotta pots, plastic pot liners, and grow lights. The variety is unbeatable, and I love reading reviews before making my decision.
If you’re looking for rare succulents, ending up on eBay is pretty much unavoidable. Here, any hobbyist can offer cuttings for sale to help fund their own collection. That includes folks selling crazy obscure and hard-to-find species or cultivars that you won’t see anywhere else. Some eBay sellers will even toss in all sorts of extras and cuttings with bulk orders.
The downside? You do need to be somewhat internet savvy, and it’s a good idea to buy with a credit card so you can get your money back if you don’t receive what you paid for. I’m not saying that eBay is some kind of Wild West, but there’s always the possibility of running into an untrustworthy seller. Always look at a seller’s reviews on their profile, and remember: if something seems too good to be true, that’s probably because it’s not true.
Similar to eBay, Etsy is a place where both individuals and small businesses can sell their succulents (and everything else you can imagine). In fact, it’s become a big favorite for buying houseplants in general over the past few years! It can be a little expensive for my taste, especially since you pay the shipping separately for each seller you buy from, but I definitely can’t deny Etsy’s appeal.
You’ll find a great assortment of live succulents on Etsy, including some rare ones. Additionally, sellers offer plenty of accessories. And I’m not just talking planters, but also stuff like succulent pillows, jewelry, and even succulent-shaped candles for those who still struggle to keep a real one alive.
As with eBay, remember that you’re usually buying from individuals here. Check sellers’ reviews and just buy from someone else if anything feels sketchy or off.
|Pricing||A bit pricier|
Where to Buy Succulents in Person
Here are some good places to go succulent hunting in person.
If you’ve got a Lowe’s home improvement store nearby, take a look at their indoor plants. They usually carry a few standard succulents like echeveria, aloe, and crassula for decent prices, which is great if you’re just getting started. Sometimes you’ll get a surprise and find some less common species as well.
I’ve found some great sales at Lowe’s toward the end of the season, but they are usually in need of some rehab by this time. I’ve even found some mealybugs on succulents at Lowe’s, so just be careful and ready to treat your plants before you place them close to any others in your home.
By the way: Lowe’s does also sell a few different succulent species online. They mostly get their stock from Costa Farms, one of the largest houseplant nurseries and distributors in the US, although they also work with Altman Plants.
9. Home Depot
Home Depot is another chain of big box home improvement stores you’re probably familiar with. They, too, have a houseplant department that will usually include some succulents, although the quality can vary from branch to branch. It’s worth checking out if you’re stopping by anyway, in my opinion.
I found my gorgeous echeveria ‘black knight’ hidden in a tuft of plants on a Home Depot sale rack. It’s a rare succulent in my area, so it was a welcome surprise! Sometimes you can get lucky with thier selection.
Like Lowe’s, Home Depot also sells some of its succulents online. You’ll find some familiar supplier names here, like Costa Farms, Shop Succulents, and Altman Plants.
Like the other chains, Walmart can be hit-or-miss in terms of its succulent variety. Some Walmart stores boast amazing houseplant assortments and plenty of choice in succulents, while at others you’ll be lucky to find a few shriveled plants hidden in a corner somewhere. Your best bet is to just check out your local Walmart and see how they handle things. You may find treasure, you may not.
Walmart’s online shopping system carries a good few succulents from brands like Home Botanicals and Altman Plants. Just make sure you don’t accidentally buy fake ones, as they do have a lot of those as well.
11. Local Nurseries
If you’d like to shop local and support small businesses in your area, be sure to check out some nurseries and greenhouses for succulents. Depending on where you live, you may get lucky and find some fantastic little local nurseries (especially if you’re in, say, Southern California).
I took a weekend trip to Lancaster, PA and found some amazing varieties that my zone 5a greenhouses just don’t have. There’s no way to know what you’ll find until you have a look! Some will be overpriced and full of sad, dying plants, while others carry a huge variety at reasonable prices.
What to Look for While Shopping for Succulents
When you shop online, there’s no way to inspect plants before you buy them (although looking up reviews from previous customers can be very helpful). Since nurseries do sometimes get bug infestations or other issues, it’s nice to be able to make sure succulents are healthy before you buy them.
Here are some things to look out for:
- Bugs: Check the leaf undersides in particular. Bugs can be tiny, so take a good look! Even if a succulent looks bug-free, it’s still a good idea to keep it separated from the rest of your collection for a few weeks until you’re 100% sure. Even if you find them later, it’s easy to get rid of mealybugs if you keep on top of them.
- Powdery mildew: This fungus affects plants kept in high humidity and is contagious. If a store’s succulents have powdery white spots, it’s best to just skip them. You can treat them with rubbing alcohol, but be sure to keep them away from your other plants.
- Overwatered plants: They can have deadly root rot under the surface and will often kick the bucket within a few weeks after bringing them home. If the soil seems moist, leaves are soft and yellow or you smell something funky, buy succulents somewhere else. Sometimes you can rehab an overwatered succulent if you’ve found issues after bringing it home.
One thing I also like is when succulents are properly tagged. Sure, you can use something like Google Lens, a plant app, or join a Facebook group to get help identifying a species, but it’s a lot easier if its name is just listed on the nursery pot.
Fair warning: shopping for succulents is addicting–especially when you have your eye on rare species. To get the best plants, make sure to shop at your local stores in the spring and early summer. To get the best deals (on rehab projects), shop instead toward the end of the summer.