Houseplants with thick-fleshy leaves can be striking, more durable because they retain water better and can even have amazing health benefits.
If you’re filling your home up with plants and aiming to find ones with particularly thick leaves, or you are just wanting to identify your houseplant, here are the most amazing houseplants with thick leaves:
1. Hen-And-Chicks (Echeveria)
A pretty succulent that comes in a variety of colors, the Echeveria has plump, satisfying leaves that grow around a central point.
The leaves near the center are clustered together, and slowly open outward into a fan.
Some kinds have dark leaves, while others are pale and dusky, but they are all plump.
The plant stores water in its leaves, so they have to be fat to hold the liquid. The leaf shapes can vary a lot between the different varieties, with some being pointed and others sporting curved tips.
2. Aloe Vera
One of the most popular succulents, and particularly known for its healing properties when it comes to treating sunburn, the aloe vera has very thick leaves.
These can be plain green or speckled, and they often have small spikes on the edges.
The aloe’s leaves are full of juice, and if you snap one of the plump spikes in half, you will see the sticky gel inside.
Aloe leaves can get surprisingly large in some varieties, and they are all fat to ensure that the plant has access to enough water in dry conditions.
3. Flapjacks (Kalanchoe Luciae)
This plant is often referred to as the paddle plant because its leaves are shaped like miniature paddles. The fleshy foliage can have a tinge of red, but is usually green all over.
The plant can grow up to around two feet tall, which puts the leaves at an impressive size once they are mature.
New leaves will grow from the central point of the plant, and can be broken off if you wish to propagate them.
However, cuttings can be fussy and may not take well, so be careful when attempting this.
4. Zebra Plant (Haworthia)
This plant is somewhat similar in looks to the aloe vera. It has triangular-shaped leaves, but they tend to be wider at the base than an aloe vera’s.
They often have textured white bands and speckles all over their green stems, making them very striking.
Their leaves all come to a pointed tip at the ends, and again grow around a central point. These plants are easy to grow and highly attractive, even if they don’t have the aloe vera’s healing properties.
However, know that they are very slow growers, so it will be a long time before those fleshy leaves gain any significant size!
5. The Snake Plant (Dracaena Trifasciata)
Again, this plant has something in common with aloe vera, but its leaves aren’t as thick. They are still wide and plump, but slimmer overall.
They consequently have more flexibility and tend to grow with more waviness than the stiff spikes of an aloe vera.
They are much-loved plants because they are hardy and easy to grow, and they prefer low light conditions (unlike most plants).
Added to that, their leaves are striking. Some have yellow outlines around the edges, some have mottling, and others are pure green all over.
6. Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata)
The jade plant has an impressive appearance, with clumps of thick leaves sprouting from its stems.
Indeed, the name “Crassula” means “thick,” referencing the satisfyingly rounded foliage. The “ovata” in its name refers to the egg-shaped nature of the leaves.
Jade plants tend to have glossy, pretty foliage that is usually edged with a reddish color if the plant is getting enough light.
This plant is generally easy to grow, and its leaves are held up by thick stems that are green when they first develop. As they age, the stems turn brown, which makes the jade plant look like a miniature tree.
7. Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe)
The Flaming Katy has much thinner leaves than some of the plants on this list, but they are unusually plump for a plant of its kind.
It is a succulent, but it looks much more like a standard houseplant than many of the others, and produces a vivid array of flowers when the conditions are right.
The leaves are glossy and a rich green, and they have delicate, frilled edges that lend the plant a sophisticated appearance.
They are also lovely to touch, because of their smoothness, and they have a satisfying firmness.
8. Burro’s Tail (Sedum Morganianum)
As the name suggests, this one looks rather like the tail of a donkey or a horse.
It forms large “tassels” that are made up of lots of small, plump, satisfying leaves in soft greens and yellows and even pale reds.
These sprawl on top of each other out of the pot, forming a wonderful green waterfall of plump balls of plant matter.
Some of these plants will grow to around three feet in length, and will look great trailing down from a shelf, with their rounded leaves like strings of green beads.
9. Head Of Medusa (Tillandsia Caput-Medusae)
If you’re looking for a particularly unusual thick-leafed plant, the Head of Medusa may appeal to you.
This plant has tendrils that wiggle in every direction, like a head of snakes, and these can be quite wide.
They often have a channel running up the center of the leaves, which come to a pointed tip at the end.
Head of Medusa plants are amazing because they do not need soil or any other substrate to grow, and can exist with their roots pressed against a tree trunk or a rock.
10. String Of Pearls (Senecio Rowleyanus)
A vine-like succulent, string of pearls probably has some of the roundest leaves in the plant world, although they are generally small.
As its name suggests, it grows rounded pearl-like balls of leaves on a thin stem. This looks amazingly like a string of green pearls to be worn around the neck.
You would get much the same effect if you threaded some bright green peas onto a green thread, and string of pearls is popular because it is so unusual for foliage to grow in this way.
The fat leaves maximize the plant’s water retention and minimize its surface area, and it looks great trailing down from a shelf or tall pot.
11. Ox Tongue Plant (Gasteria Obliqua)
If you have ever wondered whether a plant can look like a tongue – the answer is “yes.”
The ox tongue plant’s leaves all line up with each other in a row, and they are long, rounded, and plump, looking exactly like bright green tongues.
Most ox tongue plants have patterned leaves, with lighter green or white speckles all over the thick, bulbous foliage.
They are again quite slow growers, and hold water in their leaves to help themselves withstand times of drought.
12. Mistletoe Cactus (Rhipsalis Baccifera)
An extraordinary cactus, the Mistletoe Cactus grows thick, elongated leaves.
It can produce white flowers that look like those of mistletoe, and it is one of the most unusual cacti you might choose to grow in your home.
The tendrils of this plant will grow in all directions, resulting in a mass of trailing greenery.
When small, its stems/leaves might grow upward, but once they get longer, they will sprawl down from the container.
It’s therefore a good idea to grow them in a hanging pot.
13. Living Stone Plant (Lithops)
If you have ever wanted a plant that looks just like a stone (or collection of stones), this is the one for you.
It has thick, rounded leaves that look exactly like pebbles lying on the ground.
These plants are also called pebble plants, and they may range in color to make the deception they are practicing more convincing.
These plants have developed their thick, fleshy leaves to camouflage themselves and reduce the risk of grazers discovering them and eating them.
Houseplants With Thick WAXY Leaves
Houseplants with thick waxy leaves are quite rare, but they look naturally shinny without you having to do anything about it.
Here are some of the best houseplants with thick and waxy leaves:
1. Moonstone Succulent (Pachyphytum Oviferum)
This plant has beautiful, globe-like leaves that look decidedly waxy all over. They come in pink or green, and often appear pillow-like with their dusty-looking leaves.
2. Wax Plant (Hoya Carnosa)
With long tendrils and thick, waxy leaves, the Hoya carnosa is a popular houseplant that is found across the world. It’s a semi-succulent, meaning it shouldn’t need much watering.
3. Heartleaf Ice Plant (Mesembryanthemum Cordifolium)
This is quite an unusual plant, which manages to glitter as though its thick leaves have been laced with ice. It is extremely attractive, and its leaves are delicate and bright green.
4. Pepper Elder (Peperomia Pellucida)
With fleshy, waxy leaves that are shaped like hearts, the pepper elder is a beautiful little houseplant that can reach up to 45 cm high.
5. Goldfish Plant (Nematanthis)
The leaves are thinner than on many other plants on this list, but have a glossy, waxy coating that protects them from harm.
6. The Silver Jade Plant (Crassula Arborescens)
Similar to the jade plant, the silver jade plant has blueish gray leaves that feel distinctly waxy.
7. Flamingo Lily (Anthurium)
Characterized by its stunning flowers, the Anthurium is also known for its textured, glossy leaves.
8. Dwarf Umbrella Tree (Schefflera Arboricola)
This plant can be grown inside or outside, and its leaves are glossy and waxy.
If you don’t have a houseplant with thick waxy leaves but love the glossy look they have, I have an article about how you can naturally achieve that shiny appearance.
Houseplants With Thick RUBBERY Leaves
There are further kinds of plants with thick leaves, that sport unusually rubbery leaves, unique to the touch.
Let’s explore the best houseplants with thick and rubbery leaves:
1. Rubber Fig (Ficus Elastica)
Unsurprisingly, the rubber fig has rubbery leaves and produces latex rubber. These are very popular houseplants.
2. Sweetheart Plant (Hoya Kerrii)
If you want a heart-shaped plant to gift to someone you love, the Hoya kerrii (or Hoya hearts) has thick, rubbery leaves that look exactly like green hearts.
3. Stonecrop (Sedum Treleasei)
This succulent has beautifully plump, wax-like leaves that grow from a central stem in clumps.
4. Crinkle Leaf Plants (Adromischus Cristatus)
With amazing, crinkled ends to every leaf, this plant looks like it should have inspired a new kind of pasta shape!
5. Pancake Plant (Pilea Peperomioides)
If you want a plant that looks like its leaves are rubbery, glossy green pancakes, this is the one for you.
6. Elephant Bush (Portulacaria Afra)
Also known as the Dwarf Jade Plant, this one can grow to 15 feet tall and has bright green, rubbery leaves.
7. Shark Tooth (Crassula Capitella)
With fat leaves stacked on top of each other like amazing origami, this plant will grow erect stems to begin with, and then trail down surfaces as it gets longer.
8. Ruby Glow Peperomia (Peperomia Graveolens)
With burgundy undersides and green tops on its rubbery leaves, the Ruby Glow is a gorgeous and unique-looking plant.
Many plants have developed thick leaves, either to make themselves more robust or to store water in dry conditions. The succulents are the most common kind, but other plants have also established this kind of growth.