Succulents are garden plants that are very good at retaining water, even in hot and arid climates. These tissues may be in the leaves, stems, or roots. These garden plants are also called fat plants. The term fat plants probably originates because succulents tend to have a more fleshy, or swollen, appearance than other plants. There are hundreds of varieties of succulent garden plants, but some of the most well-known species are those in the aloe family and those in the cactus family. Some, but not all, succulents flower. The classification of plant species into succulent varieties and non-succulent varieties is not a taxonomical division. Many different families of plants have evolved succulency features. As such, the determination of whether a plant species is succulent or not can be problematic, and is sometimes regarded as a subjective decision. Some botanists and gardeners use the term semi-succulent to describe plants that have some succulent features, but do not appear to be as succulent as the more highly adapted plants that grow in deserts, such as cacti.
To grow succulent garden plants, most succulents prefer bright light to full sun. In native habitats, older plants provide essential shade. Gradually acclimate succulents to sun, especially young or recently purchased plants. Well-hydrated succulents generally withstand hot sun better. Foliage colors often intensify in bright light, but this, too, varies by plant. Too much light can leaves stems and foliage pale and washed out. Overexposure scorches and damages tender plants. Too little light can cause plants to stretch, at odds with stems underneath.