Sun Pavilion

Gardens by the Bay houses one of the largest cacti and succulent collections in Southeast Asia. This impressive collection is divided between Sun Pavilion, and Succulent Garden in Flower Dome. Sun Pavilion showcases plants from the deserts and dry shrublands of Argentina, Bolivia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico and Tanzania.

World of Plants - Secret Life of Trees


Succulents are plants that store water in their leaves, stems or roots! This unique quality allows them to survive and thrive in areas that have little access to water. In fact, over watering may cause a succulent to die! Sun Pavilion is located outdoors and is sheltered with glass to keep the plants out of the tropical rain so that they are not exposed to excess water.

Spines growing from the cacti areoles

Cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti! Unlike other succulents, cacti have small, round, cushion-like structures from which spines, flowers and hair can grow. This distinguishing characteristic is called an areole!


Flowers of the Parodia magnifica (left) and Stapelia grandiflora (right)

Not all succulents are flowering plants! Some flower freely at a young age whilst others take years to bloom for the first time.

All cacti, on the other hand, are flowering plants and some have spectacular blooms with interesting patterns and colours! When in their natural environment, certain cacti flower in the day during spring when temperatures are not too high. Others only flower at night in the summer to prevent water loss due to the heat. 

Visit the exotic plants in Sun Pavilion and try to spot the cacti amongst the succulents the next time you visit Gardens by the Bay!

Written by: Stephanie Dhillon, Assistant Director (Education, Programming & Events)

Stephanie is apparently a millennial but feels more like a Gen-Xer. She spends most of her days designing education programmes for the young and young at heart and the rest of her time running after her brood of children.

This article is part of our Guide to the Gardens series.