Today succulents come with as many color as there are in nature, thanks to biotechnology and hybridization. There are succulents from the whitest white to almost black and every spectrum in between. However, what comes naturally in wild species is much more limited. This depends on the type of succulents, but the most commonly and ideally found color in nature are :
- Brown. Brown color is usually sign of age or corking, sometimes both. This happened when a succulent is old and large enough to need more rigid support for its growth. This color is usually found in the stem, along with grayish shade.
- Green. Green is tge most ideal color for succulents as this comes from the abundance of chlorophyll, used for photosynthesis. Depending on the environment and succulent type, there are msny shades of green, from whitish/yellowish green to dark purplish green. Usually lighter colors are found in succulents growing in harsher environment, full sun exposure, and no shade, while inversely, darker greens are found in sucvulents growing in shadier places.
- Blue. Bluish succulents come in range of whitish blue to almost purple. Bluish color might come naturally due to spontaneous mutation, environmental stress, or shade.
- Silvery white. White succulents usually come from mountaineous area where the sun exposure is quite variable. Silvery cactuses have modified spines which form hair-like structure, to help the plant from sun exposure, wind, and extreme dryness. In succulent bromeliads like Hectia, Dyckia, and some Tillandsias, the silvery white color come from hair-like structure in their leaves (trichomes). This structure help the plant to ‘catch’ nutrients from dust and debris in the air, especially in nutrient-poor environments.
Succulents typically change color when they are “stressed”.
Stress can be caused by a variety of things including direct sunlight, warm temperatures, cold temperatures and more.
When a succulent gets too warm or too cold, or it experiences unusually high levels of natural sunlight, it can get stressed and change colors. While all succulents have different colorations, many take on a reddish and/or pinkish hue when they experience stress.
This results in beautiful, brightly colored succulents. You can also use a grow light to help stress up these succulents for color change.
Artificially coloring succulents is not recommended. If one must, the most reasonable attempt might use paints specialized for plants.
Succulents, especially the ones with small/no leaves, use their stem for photosynthesis. Coloring them will prevent the succulents to do so, and makes them less healthy.