Can succulent plants survive indoors? This is one of the most common questions we get. Many times people ask us whether or not succulents could survive in an indoor environment. So, can you grow succulents indoor?
Succulents do survive indoors which makes them perfect for decorations in houses. Just avoid them overexposed to sunlight and overwatering. In addition, succulents grow healthily in well-draining soil.
Related: Best Succulents for Indoors
In growing succulent plants indoors, you just need to remember that not all varieties survive the same environment. Choosing the correct variety of succulents is the first step. There are things needed to be considered before growing this type of plant which we will share with you in the following section of this post.
Why succulent plants a good choice for indoors
Succulent came from the Latin word “sucus” which means juice or sap. They hoard a large amount of water in their leaves and stem which makes them resistant to drought. Usually, desert dwellers, they have the versatility to withstand neglect.
In selecting succulent plants to be grown, the size, color, style, natural climate, and care should be considered. Their height could range for even under an inch up to 12 feet tall. They generally need a lot of light to prevent rot since they have lots of fluids stored in their bodies, which is lacking in other homes because they do not have enough natural light entering the house. The usual varieties that are good for indoors are those that are color green; they do well than the colorful ones.
Succulent plants are thick, fleshy plants with enlarged roots that allow them to adapt in any dry environment, especially indoors. Unlike houseplants, succulents thrive well in a humid environment.
These include the cacti, zebra, and aloe which all have an obviously thick leaf or stem that hoards water, allowing them to survive inside a home with just a little effort. They look different in terms of shapes and textures that made them look like beautiful “living sculptures”.
Related: Best Succulents for Indoors
Things to consider in growing succulent plants indoor
When taking care of succulent plants indoors, you should consider light, soil, water, container, and fertilizer. Choose the right type of succulent plant that will survive and thrive in the indoor environment. Below is the list of basic things every succulent plant grower should know:
1.) Light – Succulent plants are best placed in a south or east-facing window to provide them the brightest, indirect sunlight which is best for their growth.
2.) Soil – Succulent plants best grow in well-drained soils (Click here to see the soil on Amazon), according to their native setting. However, since it is also grown indoors, you could make your own soil mixture by combining sand and soil. If it fell apart when squeezed, it is now ready to be planted with succulents.
3.) Water – The best way to water succulent plants is to water only enough to prevent them from withering. Too much water will definitely kill them. The possible tendency for them is to burst, because of the absorption of too much water that will exceed their leaves’ capacity to the stock fluid. Only water succulents if the soil is already dry. As much as possible, do not wait until their leaves shrink or appear dull before watering them.
4.) Fertilizer – Succulent plants should be fed 3-4 times during warmer months. You may apply fertilizer only half or lesser than how much typical houseplants take because succulents are easily over-fertilized. For better results, make use of a well-balanced organic fertilizer and feed it at the beginning of its growing season.
5.) Container (click here to see this container on Amazon) – Containers should have holes below to allow the clean exit of water. Succulents do not love moist soils. On the other hand, since it would be grown indoors and will also serve as home decoration, you could transfer the plants into ornamental pots or just easily tuck them into shallow bowls since most succulent plants have shallow roots.
6.) Planting partner – Owners could make a dish garden by combining different kinds of succulent plants in a pot. This could be done properly by a good selection of plants to be arranged, not just by appearance but by growth rate.
How to take care of indoor succulents?
Succulent plants need special care especially the indoor ones. The following tips are helpful to grow indoor succulents healthily:
- Provide a breathing room for succulents
Most succulent plants grow well inside houses with bright indirect sunlight and good air circulation. So make sure that you give your plant an ample amount of air and the appropriate amount of sunlight.
- Provide them enough shade
Not all succulent plants survive with too much heat or sunlight although they have their own water reservoir. Many of them could not endure high temperatures, and overexposure to sunlight especially when they are still small. There are also types of succulents that could not endure full shades.
To have an idea of what to choose, the solid or pale green-colored succulents are best grown with lesser sunlight because they are more prone to sunburn, while the red, blue, or gray-colored and spiked ones are just okay for direct sunlight.
- Plant them in the right mixture of soil
As mentioned, succulent plants do not do well in moist soils, so they should be planted in a well-drained one.
- Giving just a minimal amount of water
While succulent plants die in overwatering, they could also dry in dehydration. They should be watered when the soil starts to dry, but not when it is completely dry. During dry times, it is advisable to water small pots once a week and big pots twice.
- Proper propagation for succulent plants
Unlike any other kind of plant that could propagate by watering a cut stem, succulents propagate by drying out a stem in a shade for at least three days, then tuck it in a soil mixture.
Some of the succulent plants that grow well indoors
1.) Jade plant – A glossy green, South African succulent plant that is easier to die by overwatering.
2.) Aloevera – It is a prickly, medicinal plant in which its sap is used for wounds and burns.
3.) Echeveria – It is usually from deserts, in various colors. It is better grown in an unglazed clay pot to ensure the evaporation of water and is watered only when the soil dried out. It grows well in dry conditions, so it is better to place it in an area exposed in full sunlight.
4.) Zebra plant – This type of succulent plant got its name from the stripes it has that resembles the color of zebra. It grows for about five inches tall and six inches wide, and is ideal for house decorations because of its tidiness and can be placed in tight spaces. It requires only a moderate amount of water and sunlight.
5.) Panda plant – It is a Madagascar native, fuzzy succulent plant with tiny, white hairs.
6.) Crown of thorns – This kind of succulent plant blooms best in full sunlight and a minimal amount of water, and produces red or yellow bracts around its flowers.
Top succulent plants to be grown indoors
Accordingly, there are 12 succulent plants that can survive low-light and definitely grow well indoors. They can thrive under the shade and can live just the less than ideal lighting conditions. Though they prefer bright, indirect sunlight, their tolerance for low light could be tested for houses located in the areas that do not receive lots of natural light.
1.) Aloe – It has thick and fleshy leaves with green or bluish-gray green color, sometimes having white flecks on its stem. It consists of small dwarves and large tree-like species on its genus. The smaller species, especially the dwarf species as well as the hybrids could live indoors with low light. It is a great plant for beginners as they easily produce clusters of offshoots.
2.) Gasteria – A South African native that got the name from the Latin word, “gaster” which means stomach, because its flower resembles the shape of stomachs with long and thick grooved leaves. Most of its species could adapt the indoor environments and can grow in low light, while many could also do well in bright, indirect light, but most of them still need protection against the full sun.
3.) Haworthia – It resembles the appearance of aloe veras, and are often mistaken for one. This South and Southwest African native could grow well in low lights, but still have their best look in bright and warm environments. It produces various shapes and sizes of rosettes, maybe in a cluster or solitary, depending on its species. Mostly having thick roots, many have thick, fleshy, and tough leaves in usually dark green color. Other species of this genus, on the other hand, have soft and plump, translucent leaves to penetrate the sunlight for photosynthesis.
4.) Echeverias – Originally from Mexico and Central America, they usually need filtered bright light but needs protection against the full sun. They are characterized by its exquisite featured rosettes in various shapes and sizes with stems from tight, short stem to long stems. Their leaves come in different colors and vary from thin to thick ones, and from smooth texture to furry. They could be grown in pots or even in the ground and can tolerate low light or just partial shades.
5.) Rhipsalis – They are epiphytes in nature that grow in other plants’ surfaces and get nutrients from the surroundings. Their native habitat is in the South American, Caribbean, and Central American rainforests.
Unlike any other succulent plants that are often thought of being originated in deserts and require a bright and dry environment, the rhipsalis do not need direct sunlight and very dry soils. They actually do good in the morning sun and shade in the afternoon, because it originally receives protection from the sun’s rays in the rainforests. They also need regular watering and is a non-drought-resistant indoor succulent plant. The Mistletoe Cactus is a popular species of rhipsalis.
6.) Schlumbergera – It is natively from the rainforests of Brazil and requires only some humid but not intense heat, nor frost. Just like the rhipsalis, they are also epiphytes and could also be lithophytes, so it also differs from other succulent plants in terms of appearance and habits.
The Christmas and Thanksgiving Cactus are some of the common varieties of schlumbergera because of the beautiful flowers that made them perfect for indoor plants that are usually grown in pots. They do well only in partial shades and not in full sun.
7.) Kalanchoe – This is very adaptable and easy to be grown. They can even tolerate intense heat, but they can also live in low light. Some of its species can easily multiply as they could easily grow anywhere they land. No wonder they were given the name, “Mother of Thousands”. The most popular kalanchoes are the ones with small shrubs with small leaves in different sizes, forms, and textures, and produces clusters of flowers.
8.) Hoya – Also known as the Wax Plant, they are known for thick and almost heart-shaped leaves and qualities that resemble the vines and they are usually placed in hanging baskets indoors. Though not all species of it are succulent, it still has some species that are considered as succulents. They mostly do well in partial shades and cannot endure intense heat and frosts.
9.) Sansevieria – This is characterized by long and slightly windy leaves in an upward direction. Usually, its leaves are color green but there are also present varieties in which the leaves have yellow edges. This is considered as a good starter plant as they have the ability to “tolerate neglect”.
What makes it good as an indoor plant is that it does better in low or medium, indirect light, but the presence of bright light brings its true leaf colors out. However, it still needs to be protected from the full sun for the prevention of sun damage. It also helps purify the air by removing toxic gases, which makes them more appealing for plant growers. If given the best environment for its growth, it can reach up to five feet tall.
10.) Scarlet ball cactus – This plant can survive in low light conditions. It ranges in size and can either form in clusters or be solitary. The leaves are grayish-green and produce bright yellow or orange flowers.
11.) Ponytail palm tree – Though in the name is “palm tree”, they are not palm trees but just succulents from the agave family. It has bulbous trunk which is responsible for the hoarding of water, and its leaves are hair-like that grows like a ponytail. Generally, these plants need bright light, but they can still tolerate low or medium-light for even half of a year.
12.) Rebutia – This is one of the most famous cacti genera that can be found almost anywhere. Generally, they are small and globular but still can form in clusters. Its flowers are showy and bright that is usually larger than the body itself.
How to keep succulents alive indoors? It is better to plant them in a soil mix to provide enough dryness of the soil and its container or pots should have drainage for the proper exit of excess water. Always provide enough sunlight, generally bright and indirect and avoid overwatering. They should be watered when the soil approaches to be dry, usually every 2-3 days depending on the climate. The dry leaves or flowers should also be plucked out regularly.
How much light do succulent plants need? Being outdoor plants, they generally should be receiving six hours of bright and indirect sunlight, while they should be placed near a window and get all the light.
Will succulents grow back? With proper propagation, dead stems or leaves could probably root and grow again when planted in a good soil mix and watered properly. Better make a search about the specific plant you are growing to be ensured of its growth.
For more information, feel free to read our complete guide on how to grow succulents.