Succulent are a type of drought resistant plant that feature thick, fleshy leaves and stems. These thick leaves were developed as a means to store water in exceptionally arid climates. This makes succulents an excellent choice for indoor gardeners who tend to forget to water their plants. Cacti are also succulents but the succulents mentioned here are of the non-cactus variety. If you’re interested in cacti for your home, there are definitely plenty of indoor varieties to choose from as well.
Succulents are found in many different orders, families, and genera in the plant kingdom. There are thousands of different individual species of succulent in the world but there are a few that are more popular and more common than others. Some succulents can also grow to be very large so many aren’t suitable to be grown as indoor plants. The usually don’t need much water but some need much more sunlight than others. When choosing which succulents to grow indoors it’s important to be aware of their lighting needs and you may want to invest in a grow light if needed.
Aloe Vera (Aloe vera)
Aloe vera may be one of the most famous types of succulents, well-known for its medicinal properties. The sap inside it’s leave is very soothing for scrapes and burns. Aloe is often found in skin lotions, ointments, and cosmetics.
This plant grows thick, pointy leaves and is usually a greenish color, variegated with spots of white. It is native to the Arabian Peninsula but it can be found growing in the wild in many tropical climates.
Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)
The crown of thorns plant, also known as the Christ plant or the Christ thorn, is a native of Madagascar. It’s also known as Corona de Cristo in Latin America. The stems are thick and can be quite prickly, or thorny as its name suggests. It prefers direct sunlight and it may bloom its small pink or red flowers year-round if exposed to ample amounts of sun.
Echeveria Laui (Echeveria laui)
If you like delicate pastels, the Echeveria laui is a gorgeous choice to grow in your indoor garden. The leaves are a very distinctive pale pink and may sometimes contain light blue or purple tones as well. This slow-growing perennial succulent is native to Oaxaca, Mexico.
Echeveria Glauca (Echeveria glauca)
Similar to the Echeveria laui, the Echeveria glauca is also native to Mexico. Unlike their pink cousins, these succulents are usually blue or bluish-green in color and may sometimes have pink, red or brown hues in their tips. They grow up to about 6 inches in height and they enjoy brightly lit spaces.
Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense)
The ghost plant, native to Tamaulipas, Mexico, can grow up to 2-3 feet wide and 1 foot high. Their rosettes feature very thick bluish grey leaves that can turn a yellow-pink shade when left in direct sunlight. In the spring, the ghost plant will bloom yellow star-shaped flowers.
Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)
The flaming Katy, also known as the Christmas kalanchoe or florist kalanchoe, is native to Madagascar. It can be quite sensitive to cold weather and typically enjoys temperatures around 60-85 degrees. If given plenty of sunlight these plants will produce many buds and may bloom their red, yellow, orange, and lilac flowers any time of the year.
Common houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum)
The common houseleek, is native to southern Europe. Sempervivum means “always living” and while the individual rosettes die after blooming, these plants propagate very quickly and essentially live forever through their offspring. This plant is also referred to as “hen and chicks” because once the mother “hen” blossoms her small red flowers and dies, the seeds (or chicks) she produces grow in her place.
Living Stone (Lithops optica)
The lithops genus features incredibly neat plants that resemble living stones. There are many species that fall under this genus but the Lithops optica is an interesting one because the plant grows with an almost eye-like appearance. It produces a club shaped pair of leaves that are flat on top. The leaves are usually whitish grey but the Rubra variety featured reddish-purple leaves. The plants will bloom a single white flower from between their thick white leaves, very similar in appearance to a daisy.
Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)
The panda plant, or chocolate soldier, is a Madagascar native. The leaves grow velvety white hairs and will often develop dark red markings around their edges. These plants can flower but they often don’t. They can live for many years indoors and only require water when they start to dry out.
Pig’s Ear (Cotyledon orbiculata)
The pig’s ear plant, also known as the round-leafed navel-wort, is native to South Africa. Its leaves are thick and oval and often have a reddish tinge around the edges. In the late summer they bloom their droopy red or yellow flowers from stems that rise up about 2 feet out of the leaves. These plants can grow quite large and are well suited for both indoor and outdoor gardens.
Plush Plant (Echeveria pulvinata)
The plush plant, or chenille plant, is a native of Southern Mexico. Similar to the panda plant, its leaves are covered in fuzzy white hairs. They can grow up to 1 foot tall and in late winter or early spring they may bloom beautiful bell shaped flowers of yellow and orange.
Two Row Stonecrop (Sedum spurium)
Two row stonecrop, or caucasian stonecrop, is a low growing succulent native to the Caucasus. The leaves are flatter than the typical puffed leaves of many other succulents and their tips have slightly jagged edges. When in bloom, they produce many star-shaped, pinkish flowers that develop in dense clusters.
Silver Jade Plant (Crassula arborescens)
The silver jade plant, also called the silver dollar plant or the money plant, is native to South Africa. Its thick branches produce pale green, oval leaves which may develop a reddish hue around their edges. It blooms in winter and produces small pink or white flowers when in bloom.
Skinny Fingers (Crassula ovata “Skinny Fingers”)
The skinny fingers plant, or pipe jade plant, is a small, shrubby succulent with long, finger-like leaves. The plant may grow up to 3 feet tall and the thin, tubular leaves can grow up to 2 inches long. These slender leaves produce small white or pinkish-white flowers when in bloom.
Jelly Bean Plant (Sedum rubrotinctum)
The jelly bean plant, or pork and beans plant, is native to Mexico. Its short, bulbous leaves have a bit of a jelly bean shape. While often green, the leaves may also develop a reddish hue at their tips or throughout the entire leaf. When they bloom in the spring they produce bright yellow flowers.
String of Bananas (Senecio radicans)
The string of bananas, or string of fishhooks, is a native of South Africa. The leaves have a banana shape but they really look more like a long string of green pea pods. They grow as multiple long tendrils, making them ideal for hanging baskets or to be displayed on high shelves.
String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
The string of pearls is closely related to the string of bananas plant and is also a native of South Africa. If the string of bananas looks like pea pods, the string of pearls definitely looks like individual peas that have all sprouted up along a vine. They may also be referred to as the string of beads plant.
Sunburst (Aeonium decorum ‘Sunburst’)
The sunburst plant, also known as the copper pinwheel, is native to the Canary Islands. This plant gets it flattering names from its beautifully variegated leaves of green and soft yellow. They may even develop coppery red tips to give them an even more sunburst-like appearance. During the summer they may bloom with small white flowers.
Zebra Plant (Haworthiopsis fasciata)
The zebra plant is native to South Africa and is named for the distinctive horizontal stripes of white that cover its leaves. They can grow up to 6 inches tall and don’t require a lot of attention, making them an ideal addition to your indoor garden. When they bloom in the fall, they produce small, unimpressive white flowers.
Zwartkop (Aeonium arboreum “Zwartkop”)
The zwartkop succulent is also known as the black rose because its leaves can range from green to dark purple to nearly black. Thanks to its stunning colors, and especially when the centers of the rosettes are still green, the leaves of the Zwartkop can look very much like a large flower. If you choose to grow the zwartkop indoors be sure to give it access to full sun. It can grow up to 3 feet tall and may bloom small yellow flowers in the winter.
Succulents are an incredibly diverse type of plant. For how little care they require, these plants can look quite fabulous. For an even more breathtaking arrangement you can plant multiple species together and enjoy the contrasting shapes, colors, and textures each plant provides. Succulents are great for anyone new to gardening but can often become a serious passion for seasoned gardens due to their immense diversity and endless display potential.