The Deep Symbolic and Spiritual Meaning of Succulents

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By Anna Marikar

Derived from the Latin word ‘sucus’, meaning juice or sap, succulents symbolize the essence of adaptability, resilience, and endurance.

These green plants with thick fleshy leaves store water, enabling them to thrive in harsh conditions and extreme temperatures. Their unique shape and variety show us that even in tough times, beautiful and good things can flourish.

the succulent shows us that even in tough times beautiful and good things can flourish

The term ‘succulent’ means more than just their ability to retain water. It mirrors the essence of survival, embodying the spirit of enduring tough times with grace.

Each type of plant, with their thick leaves and capacity to withstand bright light, emphasizes the significant message that living things can endure, adapt, and flourish, despite facing hardships.

Succulents manifest as both ornamental plants and bearers of profound spiritual significance. In their natural habitat, flourishing under direct sunlight, they epitomize the rhythm of life’s certainties and uncertainties. 

symbolism of succulents

Let’s go deeper into the spiritual meaning of succulent plants. 

Table of Contents

spiritual meaning of succulents

The Versatile Symbolism of Succulents in Various Cultures

Before diving into the diverse realms where succulents have sown their symbolic seeds, let’s embrace their universal representation of resilience and life’s enduring essence.

Each culture paints a succulent with strokes of meaning, embedding profound symbology within their prickly forms and verdant hues.

Their omnipresence in various cultural tales and traditions unfolds a tapestry of stories, where each petal, spine, and drop of succulent sap resonates with a symbolic echo. Journey through the cultures, where succulents have been more than just survivors of harsh realms—they’ve been venerable vessels of deeper significances and silent witnesses of historical epochs.

symbolism of succulents

Related: 26 Beautiful Flowers with Meanings of Self Love

Succulents in Native American Culture

In Native American culture, succulents, particularly the saguaro cactus and prickly pear cactus, have been used for their medicinal purposes and as food sources. The Tohono O’odham tribe of Mexico hold the cactus in high esteem, using it in various ceremonies, symbolizing its sacred presence as a giver of life and sustenance.

Central America and South America also have a rich history of succulents being used as medicinal plants. Their variety of succulents, with various shapes and impressive flowers, have been cultivated not just for ornamental purposes but also for their powerful healing properties.

The cactus flower, in particular, is a symbol of the unfurling of life’s beauty even in tough times. Despite their prickly demeanor, these plants bloom with extraordinary flowers, reminding us of the beauty and goodness that can unfold even in the midst of hard times.

Succulents in Ancient Greeks and Mythology

The ancient Greeks saw the succulent, especially the aloe vera, as a symbol of healing and protection. In Greek mythology, succulents were associated with the goddess of love, Aphrodite, representing eternal and unconditional love.

In the embrace of different plant families, each succulent flower carries its unique spiritual meaning.

These plants are not only about their attractive flowers but they also bring the energy of their history and their powerful presence to rock gardens and households.

The medicinal plants amongst the succulents have also found their places in ancient mythologies and stories, revered not just for their healing properties but also for their spiritual significance.

Succulents are Good Fortune in Feng Shui

Succulents are synonymous with positive energy and good fortune in the realm of Feng Shui.

Plants like the jade plant (Crassula ovata), also known as the money plant, and snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), with their green leaves and vibrant energy, are considered great choices for bringing prosperity and good luck.

Placing these plants in your home can usher in positive energies, diminishing any prevailing negative energy.

In the realm of Feng Shui, succulents like the jade plant, with its heart-shaped leaves, are considered a great gift, promising the receiver good fortune and positive vibes.

Different succulents have different meanings, each contributing uniquely to the flow of positive energy, making them a great choice for a gift.

Air plants, a popular choice amongst the various succulents, align with Feng Shui principles, cultivating a harmonious flow of energy within spaces.

These plants, which don’t require soil and absorb moisture from the air, signify freedom and adaptability in the journey of life.

the succulent mirrors the essence of survival embodying the enduring spirit of enduring tough times with grace

Different Types and Meanings of Succulents

Succulents, in their splendid diversity, are like nature’s own art collection, each carrying a myriad of significances and stories in their compact forms.

The variety speaks volumes of their adaptability, their unique aesthetics symbolizing the numerous paths that life’s journey encompasses. 

Lets look into the different types of succulents and unearth the spiritual essence and symbolic meanings they quietly nestle within their fleshy leaves and vibrant blooms.

types of symbolism of succulents

Aloe Vera and Snake Plant

Known for their medicinal properties, these are much more than ornamental plants. They’ve been used for a long time across various cultures, mainly for their healing and air-purifying qualities.

These popular indoor plants need indirect light and not much attention, making them easy for anyone, even those without a green thumb, to care for.

Their thick leaves, filled with nourishment, symbolize the vast storage of inner strength that we have within us.

Taking proper care of these plants isn’t just a good idea, but it’s the most important thing to ensure they thrive, reflecting their best symbolic selves.

Every drop of water, ray of light, and nutrient contributes to their overall spiritual essence and vitality.

snake plant

Related: Soothing DIY Aloe Vera Lip Scrub Recipe

Cacti / Cactus Plants

Cactus plants like the saguaro and prickly pear are not only resilient but also carry deep symbolic meanings.

They are seen as symbols of maternal love and protection due to their ability to endure harsh environments and still produce beautiful flowers.


The cactus plant, especially varieties like the Christmas cactus and the coral cactus, symbolizes endurance through hard times, each prickly spine representing the different challenges we face in life.

Spiritual meaning of cactus lies in their resilient nature. They symbolize the ability to adapt and thrive in challenging environments, teaching us lessons in perseverance and determination.

The Jade Plant

Also known as the money plant, Crassula ovata is renowned as a symbol of luck, prosperity, and wealth.

Its green leaves are symbolic of growth and renewal, making it a perfect gift for a new job or a business opening.

jade plant

It’s not just a plant; it is an emblem of prosperity, making it a perfect idea for those embarking on new journeys like a new job or business.

The sweetheart hoya, another succulent variety, carries with it the vibrations of love and care. Its heart-shaped leaves are more than ornamental, symbolizing the close connections and love shared with the people in one’s life.

The Significance of Gifting Succulents

Giving a succulent as a gift embodies a deep symbolic gesture of goodwill and endurance. Their low maintenance and little care nature make them a thoughtful gift, ideal for a dear friend or family member, symbolizing your wish for their good fortune and prosperity.

Every succulent, with its unique shape, represents a special meaning, making it a meaningful and great plant to gift.

Related: Which is The Perfect Houseplant for Each Zodiac Sign?

A new succulent, with its variety and vibrant colors, doesn’t just brighten up the space but also brings along a bundle of positivity and hope.

These plants, requiring not much care, symbolize an everlasting love, thriving in presence and absence alike, making them a symbol of unconditional love and endurance.

Consider the time of year when gifting succulents. In the summer months, when they are at their most vibrant, succulents become an even more delightful gift, embodying the warmth, energy, and abundance of the season.


Succulents are not merely plants. They are bearers of profound symbolic and spiritual meanings, from conveying good luck to symbolizing enduring love and resilience. Next time you receive or give the gift of a succulent, remember, it’s much more than a simple gesture—it’s a conveyance of hope, prosperity, and enduring beauty in the face of adversity.

Their spiritual meaning extends beyond their ornamental beauty, bringing with them a rich history of symbolism from various cultures around the world. When you gift a succulent, you’re not just gifting a plant, but a living embodiment of prosperity, resilience, and everlasting love.

Succulents are amongst the most popular houseplants, each variety having different things to offer, not just in terms of aesthetics but also in the vibes and energies they bring into a space. Their resilience and ability to thrive in challenging conditions make them not just plants, but symbols of life’s enduring spirit.

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Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.

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