Pachyphytum compactum is an attractive succulent that forms rosettes of 30 to 80, mostly congested leaves. Stems are often basally branched, usually upright, and up to 15 cm tall or up to 40 cm long if pendent. Leaves are thick, fleshy, tubular, and pointed at the tip, with angular facets on the upper surface left by neighboring leaves’ pressure. They are matted green or tinged violet when gently stressed, up to 4 cm long, and up to 1.5 cm wide. The flowers appear in late spring. They are barrel-shaped, red to orange with dark green or dark violet tips, and held above the foliage on up to 30 cm long stems.