Top 21 Indoor Succulents and How to Care For Them
Indoor succulents are taking the gardening world by storm. Learn how to care for 21 indoor succulents, the best ones to try in your home.
When it comes to indoor plants, indoor succulents are perfect. They are low maintenance, and many don’t need direct sunlight. Most grow very well in a pot with adequate drainage holes, in soil that you can buy pre-formulated. Indoor conditions are perfect for many succulents, with mid-range temperatures and humidity that’s just enough. Because their fleshy leaves are used to storing water, they aren’t often fussy about irrigation.
Many a succulent grows in low light conditions and doesn’t even need bright light from a sunny window or grow light. Other plants in the succulent category need a little more assistance during growth but do well in interior rooms too. Not all succulents are adapted to indoor conditions. However, tons of low-light succulents subsist in that environment. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of the best indoor succulents so you can add some to your indoor succulent collection.
No, we aren’t talking about epiphytic cacti like the Christmas cactus. We’re talking about succulents! Let’s run down some of the best indoor ones out there.
Growing Succulents Indoors
Before discussing specific indoor succulent plants, let’s discuss their basic care. Then we’ll get into the nuance of caring for each one and discuss their basic features.
Most succulent plants prefer bright indirect light to full direct sunlight. Provide direct sun to light-loving succulent plants via sunny windows, particularly a south-facing window sill, or via grow lights. For those that love low light and get scorched in full sun, provide bright, indirect light. Often succulent plants will show some indication of too much direct light via the browning or reddening of leaves. If you notice these, adjust light conditions to better suit your plant.
When growing indoors, often a pre-formulated cactus or succulent soil is perfect. If you decide to develop your own cactus soil, ensure it has more drainage material than moisture-retentive properties. Well-drained soil is one of those musts that come along when these plants are grown indoors.
In low light conditions, your succulent won’t need much water. Those that subsist in brighter spots will have quicker periods where the soil dries out. There are two ways to keep your succulent happy: a watering schedule or a soil test. Since most succulents go dormant in the late fall and winter months, water once every month then. During the growing season, water your succulent every other week. Alternatively, test the soil with your finger, and if the top 2 to 3 inches of soil is dry, add water.
For most succulents, temperatures between 40° and 80° Fahrenheit are best. Temperature fluctuations are difficult for these plants, especially in extremes. Most of the time, homes are right in the range that succulents love. However, if the power goes out in a winter storm or during a heat wave, make sure they are sheltered. Beyond 5° of fluctuation can damage their leaves or even kill them.
Just as watering slows in the dormant season, so does fertilizing. During the growing season, feed your succulent up to once per month. Many will do well with no fertilizer or even one feeding during active growth per year. In the dormant season, do not fertilize at all. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer that is diluted to half-strength.
Types of Indoor Succulents
Here it is! The moment you’ve been waiting for. Let’s talk about specific succulents that are great for your indoor garden. We’ll cover a little bit of the specific care needs for each so that you can have a healthy low-maintenance plant adorning your house.
These bunching rosette-forming succulents are lovely plants that are low-maintenance. Don’t be alarmed if they drop leaves. It’s a completely normal part of their life cycle to do so.
The Lola succulent plant (also known as Mexcian hens and chicks or Echeveria Lola) is a lovely rosette succulent with light blue-green leaves with a sharp tip. They do well in a southerly window where bright direct sunlight is accessible. It’s also great for learning the ways of succulent propagation, as you can make new plants from leaf cuttings and stem cuttings.
For your indoor goth garden, consider Echeveria Black Prince. This succulent is shaped just like Lola but has stunning dark maroon to black leaves. It’s a hybrid of Echeverias affinis and shaviana, also commonly referred to as black hens and chicks. It’s a slow grower that won’t outgrow its pot easily, so this one is easy to grow!
Echeveria elegans is another succulent common in North America. Instead of donning completely pointed leaves, the points are surrounded by rounded edges. This is why they are commonly referred to as Mexican snowballs. Echeveria elegans is a popular plant among gardeners and won the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. Like the other succulents in this genus, it loves full sun.
Sedum morganianum, also known as burro’s tail, is one of those favorite succulents among gardeners. Burro’s tail is a trailing succulent with long stems that reach 3 to 4 feet long. Unlike the echeverias, this plant prefers partial shade and can withstand a sparse watering schedule every 2 to 3 weeks. The leaves of these plants bunch in a spiral around the trailing stems. This makes the burro’s tail great for hanging baskets slightly offset from brightly lit windows.
Sedum kamtschaticum, also known as Russian stonecrop, is a love sedum plant that has bright yellow flowers that look somewhat like St. John’s Wort. Like all sedums, it has long, trailing stems surrounded by bunches of either pointed or serrated greenish leaves. The stems of these plants range from brown to green and tend to lean over and form a mound in prolific growth. While partial shade is the standard for most sedums, this one can handle a little more light than others.
Sedum rubrotinctum is another trailing stem succulent that is also known as Jelly Beans or Pork n Beans due to its small, rounded leaves that look like beans. They range from light green to red to translucent green and love lots of sunlight. This succulent is toxic, however. So ensure you keep it out of reach of pets and children.
Not only are aloe plants a lovely sight in the indoor succulent garden, one, in particular, can be used to alleviate sunburn and digestive ailments. These succulents are all varying shades of green and have long, pointy leaves with spikes on the leaf margin.
Aloe vera is one of the most well-known succulents out there. Much like agave, the long light green leaves of aloe vera are lined with sharp thorns and covered in white spots. Within each of the leaves lies aloe vera gel, which is excellent for treating skin remedies. Traditionally the juice of aloe vera has been consumed as a way to remediate skin and digestion issues.
When it comes to caring for this succulent, it’s pretty easy! Sometimes aloe can be sensitive to too much light and heat, so look out for reddening leaves as an indication of that. Another thing I’ve learned over time is that aloe vera needs quite a bit of up-potting and division as it grows – especially if it takes up the whole pot where it lives. And because it can grow to a few feet tall and wide, you’ll need some indoor space for this specimen.
Another more compact aloe is Aloe brevifolia, also known as the chunky crocodile for the spiny dark green leaves that protrude from its center. In outdoor plantings, this short-leaved aloe tends to crawl and bunch together, keeping with the usual aloe growth pattern. For indoor growers, there will be some division activity to keep this plant healthy.
These succulents are similar in shape and habit to echeveria plants, which is interesting because one in particular shares a common name with an echeveria species.
Specifically, hen and chicks is the common name for Sempervivum tectorum. However, this hens and chicks plant is also known as common house leek and homewort. Its care needs are very similar to the other hens and chicks we’ve discussed thus far. The fine white hairs that sit along the leaf margins separate it from the others. The plants are often green with burgundy edges.
Another very common type of succulent that can be grown indoors is the Kalanchoe. These plants are some of the easier ones to force flowering on, and they are very easy to propagate.
Mother of Thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) is one such plant that has a very interesting growth habit. While it’s not appreciated for brightly colored flowers, as its flowers are pale compared to other kalanchoes, it grows tiny plantlets on its spiky leaf margins. Each of these planets can be rooted into new soil and can become a new plant.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is one of those kalanchoe plants that is sought after due to its brightly colored flowers. This is why it’s no wonder Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is also known as Flaming Katy. The leaves of Flaming Katy (like most kalanchoes) are smooth, dark green, and waxy with scalloped edges. The most common cultivar sold in stores has white flowers, but others have red flowers, pink, yellow, and salmon. The flowers of Kalanchoe blossfeldiana bloom in winter.
The panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) is covered in fine hairs. The seafoam leaves of the panda plant have broken purple lines around the edges in some cases whereas others simply have a stained-looking leaf edge. The panda plant is a great succulent for people who aren’t as familiar with growing succulents. The panda plant loves direct light and sometimes does better when neglected. If you’re not sure where to start with succulents, panda plants are a great way to go.
Succulents in the Haworthia genus are very forgiving. Give them enough light, and a sizable drainage hole with good drainage materials in their container, and you’re set.
Haworthiopsis fasciata, also known as the zebra cactus or zebra plant is great for those who like the look of aloe, but want something smaller. Topping out at a foot tall, the spike-leaved zebra plant is covered in white bumps that give the deep green leaves a lovely texture. Some cultivars have thicker and more sparsely arranged textures, while others have a speckled appearance.
Haworthia attenuata is another zebra plant that has the same care needs as the one we’ve just mentioned. It’s also morphologically similar. Both are excellent choices for indoor growing.
Succulents in this genus are so different from one another, it’s a wonder they are all classed together. While many have upright leaves, we’ll discuss one trailing succulent that is very easy to propagate.
String of Pearls is a truly interesting plant that makes a statement in an indoor garden full of succulents. Instead of displaying prominently pointy or spiked leaves, the floppy stems host small round leaves that are shaped like pearls. This is a great plant for those who want to grow indoors but don’t have access to much light, as it will happily grow in the shade. If you give the plant all it needs, you’ll have lovely compact white blooms in its growing season.
The members of this genus have very interesting characteristics. The two examples we present here are very different looking but require similar care. These are also great for beginners who want a little more of a challenge.
The jade plant, known botanically as Crassula ovata, is unique in that it looks like a tree. While we know Crassula ovata is in fact a succulent, its branched stems are brown and almost woody. Jade plants have been known to be lucky plants that usher in good energy and new friendships. When the jade plant reaches 2 feet at full maturity, it blooms small pink flowers in winter. If you want a succulent that has a woodland feel, requires pruning, and brings in good vibes, Crassula ovata is the one!
The jade plant has a cousin called String of Buttons. Crassula perforata is another easy-to-care-for plant that has more of a succulent feel than its aforementioned cousin. These bunching crassulas bloom in spring with bunches of white or pink flowers. Bright, indirect light is best for this plant, as it needs both sun and shade to thrive.
These succulents, known as snake plants, have very interesting leaf patterns that give them more of a tropical leafy plant feel rather than that of a succulent. Perhaps one of the most popular succulents of all time is in this category, and it’s pretty easy to tell why that is.
The most recognizable of all succulents doesn’t look like a succulent at all. Sansevieria trifasciata is a snake plant that’s also known as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue due to the flat, waxy leaves that rise from the soil. The snake plant is so easy to care for and cleans the air in whatever space it lives. This snake plant has been the premiere choice for offices since the 80s.
Another cool sansevieria plant is the African spear or Sansivieria cylindrica. It has lovely smooth cylindrical leaves that have horizontal cream bands. It grows about the same height as the well-known snake plant at roughly 4 to 6 feet tall but branches outward. Therefore, make sure you have space for it.
Want to grow some brains? Then lithops are your succulent! These bifurcated succulents have gray-green leaves sometimes, and other times pink, brown, or slate silver ones. Between their leaves, a lovely bloom is produced that is most often yellow. Lithops love to grow in rock gardens and sandy soil. Give them that and full sunlight, and you’re good to go.
The ponytail palm is another succulent that looks like a tree. This one looks a lot like a weeping palm tree, and it’s great when grown to its full potential (up to 15 feet tall) or when it’s pruned in the bonsai style. The ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata), like aloe, produces pups when it’s ready to reproduce. These should be divided as they crop up to keep your parent plant healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which succulent is good for indoors?
A: We’ve listed 21 above that work very well indoors.
Q: Can succulents live inside without sunlight?
A: A few can subsist with mostly shade, but most need at least indirect light.
Q: How do you keep succulents alive indoors?
A: Make sure they have the right nutrients, water, heat, and light, and you’re set.
Q: How long do indoor succulents last?
A: Amazingly, indoor succulents can live for 70 to 100 years.
Q: How often should you water succulents?
A: It depends. Most do fine with water every other week. In winter, you’ll likely cut back on irrigating due to dormancy.
Q: Do succulents clean the air?
A: There are a couple, like jade plants and snake plants, that are known for their detoxifying capabilities.
Q: Can I put a succulent in a room with no windows?
A: If it’s a succulent, like string of pearls, that can subsist on artificial light only, yes.
Q: Why are my succulents dying inside?
A: They probably need some adjustment to their conditions. Check above to see if we have a growing guide on your succulent. You should be able to pinpoint the issue there.