Tylecodon buchholzianus is a slow growing, ascending, dwarf bonsai-like shrub, with somewhat swollen irregular base and spreading untidy irregular crown.
The typical variety is erect to about 20(-30) cm tall and 27 cm wide.
The plant has a swollen rootstock (caudex) which qualifies it to be a caudiciform.
It is a winter growing species, the growth starts in autumn, but really takes off during the first warmer days of spring. It is very variable with several local forms, but since these are intergrading, they are difficult to classify formally.
The shape and size of the leaves show considerable variation and in some plants they never develop. In such cases only brown rudiments occur on the nodes. Two varieties are recognized, the nominate form (with erect stems) and subs. fasciculatus (with spreading stems, becoming pendulous).