Succulents come in an amazing array of colours and are an absolute standout in the garden. Almost all succulents will change colour based on the seasons, exposure to the sun and other factors. Many of you already growing succulents would have noticed that the best and brightest colours come through in the cooler months.
But are there succulents that stay colourful, in particular red, all the time? Yes, there are! While lots of succulents will get red if they’re very stressed and/ or in winter but then lose the colour in the growing season, the below will stay red all year round. Although the red subsides a little over summer, there will still be plenty of it to shine through.
The best red succulents that stay red
Echeveria Romeo ‘Rubin’
Echeveria Maruba Benitsuakasa
Grafted Cactus Red
Sempervivum Red Rubin
Echeveria Romeo ‘Rubin’
Arguably the best red succulent of all time, Rubin is not to be confused with its cousin Romeo, which is pink. Echeveria Rubin is a mutation of Romeo and has bright red, waxy leaves that form a rosette on a short stalk.
Echeveria Rubin only grows to about 12cm, but the beauty of this plant is second to none. It grows low to the ground and mostly as a solitary rosette, rarely producing any pups.
During the colder months Rubin grown in full sun will be all blood red. The colour can change to partly green from the centre, once summer comes around but the majority of the rosette will keep its colour.
For best results grow in full sun, but be mindful of the extremes. During heatwaves and temperatures over 30C/86F, Rubin should be protected from the sun as it can burn. We have an article here on how to protect succulents during heatwaves, if you’d like to learn more.
Echeveria Rubin is also not frost tolerant and so will need to be sheltered from freezing temperatures. To read more about how to care for Echeveria Rubin, we have a full article dedicated to this plant here.
These gorgeous rosette type succulents have thick red veins running through their leaves. The veins are ever present, though thickest in the cold and dormancy. My favourite Nodulosa hybrids are Maruba Benisukasa and Painted Lady.
Echeveria Maruba Benitsukasa grows to approximately 12-15cm diameter and 10cm height. Echeveria Painted Lady grows quite tall for an Echeveria (approximately 20cm height). The offsets grow from all parts of the stalk and create a pretty rosette tree.
Peperomia Graveolens is an incredibly attractive succulent with plump leaves that are mostly vine red as well as the stalk. The center of the leaves is, however, green. The contrast is stunning. Peperomia Graveolens loses very little of the red during summer and pretty much stays looking the same all year round.
Peperomia Graveolens is a small, shrub like plant growing branches to about 25cm in height and 40cm in width, in ideal conditions. Graveolens prefers filtered light to full sun, especially in the warm months and can easily burn in higher temperatures if exposed to the sun. This succulent is not frost hardy either.
Grafted Cactus Red (Gymnocalycium Mihanovicchi)
There are many grafted cacti out there but the most stunning are the colourful ones that are a mutation of Gymnocalycium Mihanovicchi. They are albino cacti that cannot survive on their own and have to be grafted onto another cactus to stay alive.
Amongst the colours is a red gymnocalycium and they usually get grafted on a green ‘stalk’ which is another species of cactus. The Gymnocalycium will always stay red and is unlikely to change colour.
These plants are fantastic indoor plants as albino plants do not like being exposed to strong sun. They do, however, still need a bright spot so the bottom cactus can perform photosynthesis to keep itself and the gymnocalycium alive.
Red Grafted Cactus is also quite easy to grow and won’t need much care. They are quite slow to grow, but on the upside, there is no need to repot them regularly and they can stay in the same pot for some years.
Some may argue that Kalanchoe Humilis is not a red succulent at all as it is never fully red but, in my view, the red pattern on the leaves of these plants makes it red enough. Plus, the red markings are ever present, thus the splash of red is always visible.
Kalanchoe Humilis a shrub-like plant growing to approximately 15cm height. It likes to spread, but just how much will depend on the conditions and the space the Humilis has.
Sempervivum Red Rubin
Sempervivum Red Rubin stays mostly red all year round and is fabulously prolific in creating clumps. It grows small, low rosettes to about 8cm across and produces offsets (usually in winter and spring).
Again, the best colours come through in the cold and the good news for those of you in cold climates is that this succulent is frost hardy and will tolerate cold weather and snow.
In summer, it is best that Sempervivum Red Rubin is protected from strong sun at about 28C/83F as most Sempervivums are not too keen on direct sun when hot.
The burgundy red, and sometimes, nearly black colour of Aeonium Schwarzkopf is such a standout. Although, a bit of green sometimes replaces the red, this succulent always retains lots of colour.
Aeonium Schwarzkopf can grow to 1m height and width and produces lots of new branches that end in rosettes. The whole plant looks like a rosette tree.
Other Red Succulents (That Change)
There is a score of other succulents that turn bright red mostly in the winter months, or when extremely stressed. The downside is most will change colour throughout the year and will end up being green at some stage (mostly during their growing season and when the weather is warm). Some of the best ones are
Echeveria Big Red
Echeveria Pappy’s Rose
Echeveria Red Sails
Sedum Dragon’s Blood
Sempervivum Winter Red