Starting out, I really didn't want to spend too much money on a project I might fail at, because, quite honestly, I'm cheap! I started playing around with succulents that were most readily available (and cheap).
First, there was Sedum dendroidium. I inherited a big patch of it from the previous owner of our home. I mistook it for Jade, but later learned it is actually a Sedum. I am constantly having to cut this back, and after 3 years of it, I find it quite boring. I keep a small patch of it in my garden for sentimental reasons. This is not a frost-hardy plant, but its strong will keeps it from dying, and it's hard to hate a survivor.
Next on my list of readily available and cheap succulents was Sedum rubrotinctum. I always recommend this one to friends in the Bay Area who are new to succulents, because it's frost hardy, can easily be propagated from cuttings and leaves, and since it is relatively common and inexpensive, stress experiments can be done without too much concern about the cost of possibly losing the plant. Stressing succulents is the process of withholding water with increased sun exposure. Here is Sedum rubrotinctum with about 4 hours of morning sun and weekly watering:
...and here it is in a pot, exposed to about 6 hours of full sun, with very infrequent watering (once a month, if at all). A closer look, and you can see small plantlets sprouting from fallen leaves.
Third on my list of succulent firsts is the plant most commonly known as Jade. This is Crassula ovata. It cost me nothing but the gasoline to drive to and from someone's home; a Craigslister who was all too tired of having Jade in his front yard. I found it with pale, green, wrinkled leaves, planted under the shade of some trees. I've stressed this plant to the point of losing quite a bit of foliage, but patience produced vibrant, red margins, and pink, star-like flowers:
So, what was one of the first arrangements produced with these plants? Okay, here it is...
I would love to hear about your Firsts in this wonderful world of succulent plants, and if you haven't started yet, come on and join the fun! Let's stress some succulents, because stressing ourselves out will just give us heartburn.