What’s The Point Of A Succulent: 12 Reasons Why You NEED One

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade you’ll have noticed that succulents are seemingly taking over the world (okay so that might be a bit extreme but it adds gravitas to the statement), but have you stopped to wonder why? Yes, they’re attractive and easy to care for plants but there’s got to be more to them than just that, surely? Well yes, there is, but what will really surprise you is just how much there is to these incredible plants.

What’s the point of a succulent? We all know that succulents are hardy plants but there’s a lot more to them than that, they can improve your health, boost your concentration and focus, reduce your stress and even help you to heal quickly after an operation or injury. Oh, and they’re beautiful plants that are super easy to care for.

Like so many things in life plants have always been cyclical, ever since the ancient Chinese and Babylonians first brought them into their homes plants have been super popular (although this didn’t really take off until central heating was invented in the 1800s). Since then though plants have been popular with different varieties taking turns for the top spot of the ‘fad tree’. For the past decade or so succulents have been hovering around the top spot, especially with millennials but there’s so much more to them than just green leaves, although they do actually flower.

Succulents have been growing in popularity for many years

If you’re undecided about whether succulents really deserve all the hype or not then read on and I’m sure you’ll be just as much of a fan as me by the end of it.

1) Succulents have medicinal benefits

This might sound like a pretty outlandish claim but believe it or not succulents can help to heal a range of minor ailments such as cuts, burns, and stomach aches as well as help to moisturize our skin and reduce inflammation. Different succulents have different benefits, as do different parts of the plant, but aloe vera and agave are amongst the best plants for this. 

The juice of plants such as aloe vera are known to have anti-inflammatory properties, especially if you have a sensitive or delicate digestive system. Now I’m not suggesting that you slice a few leaves of your beloved aloe and squeeze the juice out of it, but you’ll find it’s the main ingredient in most natural anti-inflammatory remedies. Likewise, the gel of the plant is a common ingredient in many body lotions and face creams, it’s even believed that Cleopatra used it on her face every day. It’s also regularly used in topical treatments for eczema.

Aloe vera have so many medicinal benefits

The antiseptic benefits of the agave, on the other hand, have been known since the times of the ancient Aztecs and Mayans who would use the leaves to soothe cuts and burns. They also mixed the roots of the plant with egg whites and used it to treat toothache. While I’m not sure if they can cure toothache, the antibacterial properties of their leaves have been proven and can be seen in a paper published by the National Library of Medicine.

2) Succulents increase your pain threshold and help you to heal

Nobody likes being in hospital or having to rest at home after some sort of medical procedure and the road to recovery can be long and boring but the introduction of a succulent or two (or possibly three, or four…) can really help to speed up the recovery process. On top of this, it can also help to increase your pain threshold.

A study carried out in 2004 by the Kansas State University took 260 patients, in two hospitals, and randomly placed half of the patients in rooms with plants and the other half in rooms without any plants at all. All of the patients had undergone a surgical procedure, but those with plants in their rooms were in hospital for less time, needed less analgesic, and were generally much happier. [source]

3) Succulents will purify the air

A few years ago NASA carried out research into which plants were better at cleaning the air. While they found that a large number of plants were good at this, succulents were by far the best with the snake plant and aloe vera being especially good at this. The study found that they were both fantastic at getting rid of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), removing around 87% of all of them.

While that might just sound like a random number without much meaning to it it’s worth pointing out that our homes are often full of VOCs. These compounds (such as benzene, formaldehyde, and ammonia) are often found on rugs and other soft furnishings, as well as in things like ink, hairspray, and cigarette smoke, and can sometimes be harmful, to both the environment as well as to us.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a snake plant or aloe vera, all succulents will purify the air, just to a lesser degree. They do this by absorbing the gases through the pores in their leaves, filtering them then expelling clean, fresh air.

4) Succulents will improve your home’s humidity

With all of the double glazing, central heating, and air conditioning we have these days our modern homes are very dry places which can be a bad thing. While this means that our houses are far less likely to get mold and things like rising damp, it also means that we’re more susceptible to sore throats, dry coughs, colds, and even dry skin.

But what does that have to do with succulents I hear you ask? You might be surprised to know that during the photosynthesis process succulents actually release vapor through their pores. This vapor helps to balance the humidity in our homes which can help to reduce these sorts of ailments by 60%. [source]

Succulents can help improve your home's humidity

5) Succulents can help you to breathe better air

We all know that plants release oxygen during the day when they’re photosynthesizing but what you may not know about succulents is that they photosynthesize during the night as well as the day. This means that they’re constantly removing carbon dioxide from the air while releasing clean oxygen all of the time. On top of that the oxygen that they ‘breathe out’ is of a higher quality than if we didn’t have any plants at all.

6) Succulents can help you to sleep better

The fact that succulents release oxygen at night too means that, if you keep them in your bedroom, they’ll help you to sleep better. The reason for this is that you’re breathing in more oxygen which will help to relax your body, enabling you to get to sleep much quicker but also to have a better quality of sleep, therefore waking up feeling far more rejuvenated.

I recently wrote an article about how succulents can help you sleep which goes into this in more detail.

7) Succulents can improve your memory

If you’re anything like me you’ll definitely benefit from this, I forget everything, including almost leaving this point out! 

Seriously though, a University of Michigan study found that interacting with nature has a number of cognitive benefits including memory retention. Regardless of whether you’re interacting with plants at home, when you’re out, or even if you’re just looking at photographs of plants, the study found that your memory can improve by as much as 20%. Now I’m sure that’s something we could all benefit from. [source]

8) Succulents will lower your stress levels

Taking care of any houseplant can help to reduce your stress levels, lower your blood pressure, calm you and even help you to recover from the stresses of the day but succulents are far better at this. In part because they’re always photosynthesizing, and therefore always producing oxygen but also because they’re a pleasure to look at. Another, often overlooked, reason is that succulents are so easy to care for, you won’t be worrying about whether or not you’ve watered them.

If you want to know more about how succulents can reduce your stress and anxiety levels then you should read my recent article that explains just how they do it.

9) Succulents help you to concentrate and focus

We’ve talked a lot about how much more oxygen succulents expel and the many benefits this can have and increasing your productivity is one such benefit. They’ve been found to increase your concentration, attentiveness, brain capabilities, and even your focus. While all plants can do this to some extent, succulents are often better because they take up less space and will happily sit on your desk without getting in the way.

Not only will they help to improve your productivity and focus but they’ll also brighten up your office desk, making you happier at work too.

Succulents are great at helping you to focus and concentrate

10) Succulents look great

If you’re a YouTuber, Instagrammer (if there is such a word), or are caught up in the social media world at all then you’ll know how a carefully positioned succulent can enhance a video or Instagram story but their beauty doesn’t stop there. While most indoor succulents will probably never flower it doesn’t stop these little plants from being real show stoppers, with their colorful foliage and unusual shapes they’re guaranteed to get everybody’s attention.

11) Succulents are rewarding plants

If you’re anything like me and have an amazing ability to kill most plants within a few weeks then you’ll find succulents especially rewarding. This is because unlike a lot of other plants they don’t need a huge amount of looking after which means that even with very little care they can still thrive which in itself is rewarding. After all, what can be more rewarding than a plant that you’ve not paid too much attention to doing well?

It makes you feel that you can look after plants and don’t just kill everything, the more your plants grow the more rewarding it is.

12) Succulents brighten up your home

We all need a little bit of greenery in our homes and bringing nature inside can really help to brighten up our homes (and our lives). Even if your succulent never flowers, it’s striking colors and beautiful shapes will make more of a difference than you realize. When I first moved away for college my dorm room was nothing more than a box room, but then I was given an echeveria and the room suddenly felt more homely.

Even if you succulent never flowers it's still a beautiful plant

I hope you found this article helpful. If you did I’d be grateful if you could share it please as it would really help me.

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