Fuzzy Succulents

Succulent Plants with Fuzzy, Velvety Leaves

Succulents as a group evolved in some very inhospitable places.  Their environment is usually hot, dry and has animals just dying to eat them.  This is a strategy they need to protect them.

Fuzzy Succulents

You've most likely seen lots of succulent plants that have 'bloom' - no not the flowers, a layer of wax that protects them from the sun. 

This is typical of Echeveria, Graptopetalum and many of the hybrids between those two genera.  Sedum has it too, and if it rubs off you can see a real difference between the bloom and the actual surface of the leaf.

The evolution of a fuzzy surface is another adaptation to extremely intense light.  Each hair will cast a bit of shade on the leaf surface, making it a tiny bit cooler for the leaf.  Fine hairs are one strategy to protect plants in full sun.

Some of the most popular succulents that show this are in the Kalanchoe, Echeveria and several other families.  This list is not complete, as there are many other  succulent plants that aren't as popular because of this trait. 

They have particular needs, such as not being watered onto the leaves, especially with cold water or water that has a lot of minerals in. 

Cold water droplets harm the leaf by making a magnifying effect when in full sun.  The tiny hairs that make up the 'fuzz' can be damaged, leaving the plant exposed to direct sunlight where it can be burned.

So if you have fuzzy leaved succulents, water with 'tempered' water only, and use rainwater or water from an air conditioner.  This will make sure that it has no minerals in.  Oh, and water the surface of the soil only, not over the top of the plant.

Getting the leaves or soil too wet for too long can create lots of problems, as this picture indicates;

Kalanchoe tomentosa, overwateredKalanchoe tomentosa, overwatered

Other succulents will have textures on the surface, acting to refract the light and diffuse it so it's not as intense.  See below the hedgehog iceplant to see how that looks.

Just for fun, here are some of the Latin names you may see if your plant is fuzzy, hairy or prickly;

aculeate = armed with prickles, e.g. the stem of a rose.

arachnoid = cobwebby, from being covered with fine white hairs.

armata = prickly

barbata = bearded, hairy

barbellate = having barbed hairs (barbellae)

cilia - sing. cilium; adj. ciliate = very small hairs or hair-like protrusions more or less confined to the margins of an organ, as with eyelashes; in motile cells, minute, hair-like protrusions which aid motility.

felted = covered with very dense, interlocked and matted hairs with the appearance or texture of felt or woollen cloth.

filamentous = consisting of filaments or fibres, hairlike.

fimbriate = fringed

floccose = having a soft and woolly covering of hairs.

hirsuta = hairy - bearing coarse, rough, longish hairs.

hispida = bristly

indumentum = a collective term for a surface covering of any kind of hairs, scales.

lanata or lanuniginosus = woolly

tomentosa = tomentose, woolly

velutina = velvety

villosa = hairy

Some great fuzzy, velvety or hairy succulents you may see are in this list;

Cotyledon tomentosa - the Bear Paws PlantCotyledon tomentosa - the Bear Paws Plant
Tentatively, Crassula lanuginosus 'David'Tentatively, Crassula lanuginosus 'David'
Delosperma echinatumDelosperma echinatum - Hedgehog Iceplant
Echeveria ciliosumEcheveria ciliosum
Echeveria harmsiiEcheveria harmsii - plush plant
Echeveria pulvinatumEcheveria pulvinatum - Red Velvet Plush Plant
Echeveria setosa hybridEcheveria setosa hybrid
Echeveria pulv-oliverEcheveria pulv-oliver - a cross between two velvety Echeveria
Kalanchoe tomentosaKalanchoe tomentosa - Chocolate Soldier
Portulaca or Delosperma with fuzzy leavesPortulaca or Delosperma with fuzzy leaves
Tradescantia sillamontanaTradescantia sillamontana