Recently succulents have taken the gardening world by storm.
They’re showing up all over magazines and homes because they’re such an easy way to add life to a room. Getting into succulents is easy and fun, but it helps to know your succulents before you start throwing them into some glass and sand.
Although they do not take a lot of work, they still require some love. In this article we’ll start with indoor succulent care and then we will cover six of the best indoor succulents for your home.
How to Care for Indoor Succulents
One of the wonderful things about succulents is how easy they are to care for. Growing succulents indoors is very simple and low maintenance.
Many of the best indoor succulents love sunlight so be sure to make sure they get plenty. Succulents that enjoy sunlight include Echeveria, Sedum, Aloe, Sempervivum, and Agave. Unless you are in a very hot climate, make sure that these indoor succulents are near a window and sunlight. Most succulents are desert plants so they thrive on sunlight.
While some variations may like slightly more moist soil than others, none of them enjoy being in mud. Make sure that the soil is well draining and in some cases you can even add some sand. If you can get a cactus mix at the local gardening center, that’s usually the best choice. Clay can be devastating to many succulents because it causes water to stay in the soil and rot the roots. Porous soil is best for your succulents. You may want to consider a container that can drain any extra water out of the soil.
As I mentioned, succulents prefer well draining soil. They also do not need a lot of water to begin with. Remember, they are desert plants. Watering 1-2 times a week will work just fine. Watering any more than this will cause them to rot and die pretty quickly.
Many of these indoor succulents grow naturally in warm or hot climates. This means that room temperature in your house will be just fine. Some of them can be sensitive to cold temperatures, but that should not be a problem inside. For example, aloe does not do well when it frosts, so in many climates aloe is grown indoors anyway.
Types of Indoor Succulents
Echeveria are the most popular type of succulent. They are the ones that look a bit like a pointy rose and come in all sorts of colors. Echeveria can grow between 2 cm and 50 cm and tend to flower in the warmer months. Planting these types of succulents will require porous soil that drains well. If you want to see their true colors and shapes be sure to plant them where they get lots of sunshine.
These succulents are great to add to an arrangement to add size and color. Different varieties of echeveria include afterglow, red edge, bella, ben badis, and big red. Due to the variation in sizes you need to make sure the pot you plant them in will be big enough for them to thrive.
Sedums, also known as stonecrop, are the low-growing succulents. These types are perfect for ground cover and tend to flow over the edges of plants and containers. This can give you a very unique look to your indoor succulent arrangement. Sedum is Latin meaning “to sit” which is what they are great at doing.
Sedum plants do not like any clay in their soil. Clay in the soil will cause the succulent to develop root rot and eventually die off, but if you keep the sedum in well drained soil, water it very little, and give it lots of access to sunshine, it will show you all of the different colors it can produce. Sedum is a fast growing succulent but it is not invasive, so you do not have to worry about it choking out other plants. This is great if you are planting multiple succulents in the same container or building an arrangement.
If you want the compact lookc make sure to trim the longer stems at the plant. Some types of sedum include the purple emperor, sedum acre, ogon, frosty morn’, and sedum kamtschaticum.
These succulents are really fun and add a lot of flair to your indoor arrangement. Agave can grow to be giant or be really tiny. The succulent is known for its interesting shape and spiny leaves. They have a special shape that almost appears to be architectural and come with different colored leaves and spines depending on the type that you plant.
If you are worried about getting stabbed with a spiny leaf, there are types that are spine free. Agave do not flower much, but they do flower few times in their lives. A very interesting fact about these succulents is that they tend to be pollinated by bats, which are attracted to their extremely sweet smell. Agave succulents do not need a lot of water to live. Water them once or twice a week, plant them in well draining soil, and make sure they get lots of sun time. Some agave varieties are blue glow, filifera, Montana, and potatorum.
Aloe is well known for its health benefits and sunburn soothing properties. This succulent is from South Africa and can vary in sizes. If you are going for more of a desert look in your arrangement then an aloe plant is perfect. There are about 450 different kinds of aloe with many different saps. These succulents are summer growers and prefer lots of sunshine and soil that drains well. Some aloe varieties are aristata, black gem, humilis, and juvenna.
These succulents are formed in tight rosettes and prefer the colder temperatures. We are mentioning them do to their popularity. They can survive indoors just fine, but they won’t be as colorful as they would be outside. Most sempervivum like to call European mountains home and are one of the hardier types of succulents.
You will often see the words “hens” and “chicks” when researching this type of succulent. These terms are referring to the way that the plant reproduces. The parent plant, or the hen, is attached to the babies, the chicks, and continue to grow like that. Since the plant is tolerant to heat, cold, rock soil, poor soil, and nutrient poor soils it is easier for the plant to grow this way.
Colors include green, silver, blue, and even dark purple. Most sempervivum will grow in the spring and again in the fall. A few different types of sempervivum are apple blossom, averill, black, brock, and bronco.
Other than for having a really fun name, these succulents are known for their paddle shaped leaves. Some might say that their leaves resemble that of a tiny fuzzy elephant ear. These succulents are mostly native to Madagascar and South Africa. This type of succulent is also known for its flower. The bloom has a star look and blooms in the winter and spring. Kalanchoe have deep green scalloped leaves that make it perfect for adding some extra shape to your garden.
As all succulents, the kalanchoe prefers soil that is well drained and does not require a lot of water. Even after the flower is done blooming the plant will continue to grow. Some different varieties include mariners kalanchoe, mother of thousands, blooming boxes, walking kalanchoe, and elk antlers.
Succulents are a lot of fun to plant since they are easy to maintain and really do not require a lot of help to take off on their own. Recently succulents have been getting a lot attention for growing indoors, in cubicles, and even in unique containers like fish bowls. There are so many different types of these plants that there really are no limits to colors, shapes, and sizes that you could want.
Hopefully we did a good job showing you how to take care of succulents indoors. Just be sure that your soil is well drained, a tad sandy, and not too moist. Keep those things in mind and you should have plenty of success growing succulents indoors.
This article was contributed by Craig of Everything Backyard. If you’d like to read more of Craig’s writing, check out his article on gardening lesson plans for kids.