How to Grow Jelly Bean Succulents

Jelly bean succulent plant in white ceramic pot on decorated surface

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

Jelly bean succulents (Sedum rubrotinctum) are evergreen, low-growing perennial succulents that are native to Mexico. Also commonly referred to as “pork and beans” or “banana cactus”, jelly bean succulents are a part of the Sedum genus in the family Crassulaceae. They look beautiful in succulent arrangements or grown on their own. Thanks to their sprawling growth habit, mature jelly bean succulents can also be used as ground cover.

These cute succulents are a hybrid of Sedum pachyphyllum and Sedum stahlii and are characterized by small chubby leaves that turn bright red/bronze in hot, sunny conditions. They can be grown successfully indoors as a houseplant or outdoors in the warmer climates: USDA Zones 9 through 11. In colder climates, jelly bean succulents can be container-grown outdoors in summer and overwintered indoors.

As with most succulents, jelly bean succulents are low-maintenance and do not require much attention in order to thrive. This makes them perfect for beginners and neglectful gardeners alike! 

  Botanical Name Sedum rubrotinctum
  Common Name Jelly bean succulent, jelly bean plant, pork and beans, Christmas cheer, banana cactus
  Plant Type Succulent
  Mature Size 6 to 12 inches tall
  Sun Exposure Full sun
  Soil Type Sandy, well-drained
  Soil pH Neutral, alkaline
Bloom Time Spring, summer
  Flower Color Yellow
  Hardiness Zones 9-11, USA
  Native Area Mexico
  Toxicity Toxic to pets and humans

Jelly Bean Succulent Care

Jelly bean succulents are great plants for beginners because they thrive on neglect. They can tolerate drought, they don’t require pruning or frequent repotting, and they are extremely easy to propagate.

They thrive with lots of sunlight and do not tolerate excess moisture. Place this adorable succulent in a sunny, hot location and water it infrequently and it will be happy!

Jelly bean succulent in white ceramic pot next to other houseplants

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

Jelly bean succulent with green and red leaves in white ceramic pot closeup

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

Jelly bean succulent with waxy green and red leaves in white ceramic pot

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

Light

Lots of bright, direct sunlight is required in order for jelly bean succulents to thrive. In full sun conditions, the tips of the leaves will turn red or orange with heat stress. A completely green plant or leggy, elongated growth are both indications that the plant is not receiving enough sunlight and could benefit from a brighter location. In extremely hot climates, a location that receives a couple of hours of shade can be beneficial. 

If grown indoors, it is unlikely that the plant will turn red unless it is situated directly under a grow light. Nevertheless, ensure that you choose a location that receives at least six hours of full sun, such as a west- or south-facing window. 

Soil

Jelly bean succulents tolerate a wide range of well-drained soils. These plants do not tolerate excess moisture well and are extremely susceptible to root rot. Succulent and cactus soils are ideal because they are typically high in inorganic matter (such as perlite and pumice) and low in organic matter (such as peat and coco coir).

Water

This succulent requires very little water in order to thrive. Jelly bean succulents are accustomed to long periods of drought with short bursts of moisture. When grown indoors, allow the soil to dry out thoroughly between waterings.

Before applying water, wait until the plump leaves of the jelly bean succulent have a ‘puckered’ appearance to ensure that the plant is thirsty. If you are growing jelly bean succulents outdoors, you likely won’t need to provide supplemental water because rainfall should be sufficient. 

Temperature and Humidity

These desert-dwellers do best in hot, dry conditions and will struggle to survive in overly humid environments. They are not frost-tolerant, although they can grow well outdoors aif temperatures don’t drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.7 degrees Celsius).

Fertilizer

Jelly bean succulents do not require regular fertilization and do well in nutrient-poor conditions. You can apply an all-purpose cactus and succulent fertilizer in the early to mid-spring to help support healthy growth throughout the growing season, it's not necessary. Over-fertilizing jelly bean succulents can result in root burn or discolored leaves, so apply sparingly.

Are Jelly Bean Succulents Toxic?

Don’t be fooled by this succulent's tasty name - jelly bean succulents are considered mildly toxic to cats, dogs, and humans if ingested. Keep this plant out of the reach of curious pets and children.

Symptoms of Poisoning

Jelly bean succulents are unlikely to cause serious harm unless they are ingested in large quantities, however, ingesting them or coming in contact with the sap can still cause some unpleasant side effects. Irritation or burning around the affected area can be expected, along with excessive drooling, and mild swelling.

Propagating Jelly Bean Succulents

These succulents are very easily propagated by cuttings and leaf propagation. Any fallen leaves will grow roots and eventually develop into a new plant. You can also remove leaves manually to start propagation by gently twisting the leaf off of the stem of the plant until it pops off the stem. You want to avoid breaking the leaf or the stem because roots will only grow from the base of the leaf when it is fully intact. 

Once removed, lay the leaves on top of well-draining soil and place them in a location that receives bright, indirect light.

You can propagate jelly bean succulents in new containers, or you can also place the leaves at the base of the ‘mother’ plant which will provide some shelter from harsh sunlight. Do not water the leaves until roots have developed, and then water sparingly as you would with a mature plant. 

Potting and Repotting Jelly Bean Succulents

Jelly bean succulents are slow-growing and don’t mind being pot bound. As such, they do not require frequent repotting and can usually do well in the same container for up to two years. 

As with most succulents, jelly bean succulents have shallow root systems, so choosing the right container to grow them in is important. Avoid containers that are too deep, because the soil might hold too much moisture below the root system and lead to root rot.

Shallow containers with drainage holes are perfect for jelly bean succulents. They tend to also do well in terracotta pots as the clay helps to absorb excess moisture in the soil.  

Overwintering

If you are growing jelly bean succulents outdoors, it is important to note that these succulents are not frost-tolerant and must be overwintered indoors in USDA zones 8 and lower.

In the late summer to early fall, dig up the plants and transplant them into containers. Place them in a location indoors that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight a day, ideally in front of a west- or south-facing window. You can expect to see the plant drop leaves or change in color as it acclimates to indoor conditions.

Common Pests/Diseases

Jelly bean succulents are susceptible to some common pests such as mealybugs and scale. If you notice an infestation, use a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to remove any visible pests from the plant, and then use insecticidal soap to treat the plant. Continue this treatment until the infestation is resolved. 

Fungus gnats can also sometimes be a problem if the soil is too moist. For succulents, this can usually be resolved quickly by letting the soil dry out for extended periods of time to kill off any larvae that are thriving in the moist soil. When you resume watering, use a 10:1 mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide to kill off any remaining larvae.