Johannesburg Succulent Society

Johannesburg Succulent Society logo

History of our Society

The Johannesburg Succulent Society is active and based in Gauteng, South Africa.

The South African Aloe and Succulent Society was founded in 1963 when a few succulent enthusiasts realised that Southern Africa's succulent richness and the wide interest in the plants necessitated a society having as its aims the conservation of these plants and the making available of both information on succulents and the plants themselves.

Initially there were branches in Cape Town, Pretoria and JHB (Verecunda Branch), others followed and disappeared. In 1988 the name was shortened to the Succulent Society of South Africa.

Our Verecunda Branch is proud to be one of the founding groups. Aloe verecunda is a beautiful species growing in the hills nearby.

During 2013 we changed the name to Johannesburg Succulent Society. We have been promoting interest in succulent plants ever since, placing emphasis on the many species indigenous to southern Africa.

HoodiaSucculent Euphorbia speciesSucculents provide unexpected shows of coloursEuphorbia flowers up closeCarpets of succulentsSucculent plantPeach flowering succulent

Aims and Objectives of the Johannesburg Succulent Society

The objectives of the Johannesburg Succulent Society are to promote knowledge, the cultivation and propagation of succulent plants, and to contribute towards the protection and conservation of all indigenous plants in their habitats.

Succulents may be described as plants which are adapted to store water in their leaves, branches or stem bases in order to be able to survive long periods without water. These succulent storage organs led to their descriptive name in Afrikaans: vetplant (fat plant). As can be expected, most succulents are found in arid parts of the world, although some are also adapted to grow in areas with a high rainfall.

Southern Africa is one of the most succulent rich areas in the world. Of the world's approximately 10,000 succulent species, nearly half originate from Southern Africa. World-wide there is a tremendous active interest in the succulents of the region.

There are a number of reasons for the interest succulents enjoy among plant- and nature lovers, gardeners and botanists. The ability to survive in the most hostile environment, the fascinating growth forms and spectacular flowers which occur amongst these plants, the fact that the plants can be propagated fairly easily and can in the most instances grow happily for weeks and even months almost care free, all lead to the special interest succulents enjoy. Succulents promote water-wise gardening, and the ability to grow in pots in small gardens, and even on a balcony.

Gardening in general is a wonderful stress reliever, particularly during lockdown or when work is tense and you need an outlet to let off some steam.

While many orchids have a storage system and bulbs also, but these are generally not treated as succulents.

From the viewpoint of conservation there is also enough reason to devote special attention to succulents. A delicate balance exists in the habitat of most of these plants. A slight disturbance of this balance may seriously endanger their survival. Many succulents are also endangered because they are much sought after collectors' items, which leads to the illegal removal of plants from the veld.

Euphorbia are succulent plants with a poisonous sap. They occur all around Africa and vary from tiny little plants, to enormous and striking Succulent Trees. Their shapes lend them to providing interest and novelty in a waterwise garden.
Aloe greatheadii found in South Africa and Zimbabwe, flowers in winter, creating a magnificent clump of flowers on tall stems, and adding bright pink to peach to salmon colours in the garden. They are low maintenance, requiring very little water, and are spectacular when seen in vast collections. As with all aloes, they are fantastic at attracting insects, bees and birds into the garden, all of which are friendly pollinators.
Cactus commonly known as Mickey Mouse Cactus