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How Succulents Took Over Instagram—and Then the World

You may have noticed the trend of succulent gardening over the last few years. The drought-resistant plants are big on Instagram and sell like hotcakes. They are found in apartments, dorm rooms, bouquets, wreaths, and even jewelry, as well as expansive yards in places that can't support a traditional English garden.  

Throughout history, succulents have been used as herbal medicines, torture devices, food, dye sources, hallucinogens, and fixtures in religious ceremonies. But their captivating silhouettes, ability to endure long treks, and portability have carried them into the 21st century as the ideal collector’s item. The plants have graduated from filler greenery, to water-wise landscaping fixtures, to Instagrammable pioneers of the burgeoning online plant economy. In a society whose purchasing habits are driven by relentless trend cycles, they are the only plant resilient, varied, and multipurpose enough to keep up with frequent seasonal restylings of the retail sector. They have become the living ornaments of today’s idealized homes, gardens, and workspaces and, subsequently, the central characters in a new gardening movement that values ease over effort.

It wasn't always that way. For most of the 20th century, succulents were an afterthought for professional nurseries, and not all that profitable. Read how that changed, and how a few early fans became power players in the succulent business at The Ringer. -via Digg

(Image credit: Agata Wierzbicka)

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