Indoor Succulents: 12 Top Picks for Your Home

Indoor Succulents - 12 Top Picks
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Indoor succulents have always been popular houseplants. However, it appears that their popularity has ballooned even more in the last couple of years. And for a good reason, since succulents are relatively easy to grow and maintain. There are hundreds of known unique varieties of succulents from which to choose. And the best part? Just about anybody can cultivate them, including beginners.

What Are Succulents?

A succulent is a plant with thick fleshy leaves. Some have swollen stems where water is stored. The Latin word succus, which means sap or juice, is where the term “succulent” originated.

Thanks to their unique water-storing capabilities, succulents can survive even the driest environments. So even if you accidentally forget to water them, they will manage. Because most homes already have warm temperatures and dry air, they make the perfect environment to care for succulents.

Indoor Succulents

Essential Growing Basics for Indoor Succulents

Due to their ability to retain water, succulents like climates that are warm and dry. Since they do not mind a bit of neglect, the plant makes it ideal for indoor growing. It is also an excellent alternative for individuals who are looking for low-maintenance houseplants. So, if you are interested in caring for indoor succulents, here are a few care tips to help you succeed.

Pick an Indoor Type

Not all succulents are created equal. Select one that is appropriate for indoor conditions. Many succulent plants need direct sunlight. Nonetheless, if your home does not receive ample direct sun, you can grow plants with low to moderate lighting needs or employ grow lights.

Use Well-drained Potting Medium

Coarse potting mixes work well with succulents. In fact, for indoor succulents to grow and flourish, they need soil with good drainage and proper aeration. There are unique potting mixes made for succulents, and experts recommend those highly. Adding pumice and perlite to regular potting mixes can also improve drainage.

Select the Right Container

Succulents do well with very little to no moisture present in the soil. Aside from selecting a potting mix that offers good drainage, gardeners should also choose the right container. When repotting, always select a vessel that is 1-to-2-inches bigger than the plant’s current pot. Also, be sure to choose a plant pot that has drainage holes. Avoid containers that don’t offer enough aeration for the roots.

The Light Needs of Indoor Succulents

Lighting needs will depend on the succulent variety. For the most part, succulents require some direct sun for several hours a day. As a general rule, when the succulent is stretching towards the light or is becoming spindly, more sun is needed. If you don’t have sufficient sunlight available, consider using timed grow lights.

Succulents for Indoors

Benefits of Growing Succulents

Many people assume that succulents are outdoor plants that require lots of warm, healthy sunshine. The good news is, there are varieties of indoor succulents that can thrive in your home. If you are wondering why to choose succulents over other houseplants, check out some of the benefits.

Succulents Improve Air Quality

Snake plants and aloe vera are two examples of succulents that are great at eliminating toxins in the air. Nonetheless, you will still benefit from caring for any other succulent type since plants generally improve air quality.

Plant leaves contain pores that absorb gases in the air, especially the kind you shouldn’t be breathing in. Instead of switching on a noisy air purifier, why not fill your home with low-maintenance succulent plants?

Another example of how indoor succulents improve air quality is through their release of water vapors. The release that occurs during photosynthesis adds much-needed moisture to the air.

Many Succulents Have Medicinal Properties

Throughout history, people have used succulents widely for their medicinal characteristics. Stomach aches, cuts, and burns are just some of the most common concerns people treat with succulents. Yucca and aloe vera are prime examples of medical succulents.

People have historically applied yucca on scratches and cuts, and they’ve also used it as an arthritis treatment. The antioxidants and saponin in yucca plants help ease inflammation and reduce pain in the joints.

Additionally, aloe vera gel is commonly the main ingredient for face and body creams. According to rumors, Cleopatra would apply the sap to her face to keep it looking youthful and soft.

Aloe vera juice has also become a popular drink. Research has shown that drinking the juice can assist with various health concerns. Indigestion and inflammation are said to lessen when one consumes aloe vera juice.

Succulents Are Great at Boosting Concentration

Having indoor succulents on your workspace or desk can help improve your focus and productivity. Two studies recently confirmed that keeping plants near or at your work area can boost your concentration levels so you can take on tasks more efficiently.

Succulents Reduce Stress

Just as they have been known to boost concentration, succulents can also reduce stress. Many people will attest to the calming nature tending to plants can provide. After a long day of work, coming home to a house filled with plants has been proven effective in reducing blood pressure levels. Caring for plants calms you down and helps you mentally unwind.

It is a known fact that indoor succulents are not difficult to care for and grow. Therefore, it is only logical that these low-maintenance plants can further reduce a person’s stress compared to finickier plants. For one thing, you do not have to worry about accidentally killing a succulent. You simply need to avoid overwatering. Other than that, caring for succulents indoors is a breeze.

Some Succulents Make Tasty Snacks

Before you reach over and munch on the random succulent sitting on your desk — please don’t! Let’s be clear; not all indoor succulents are edible. The most common types of edible succulents include pineapples, yucca, sea beans, and a few other cacti species.

Although sea beans are not easy to come by, they have slowly gained traction in the culinary world. If you can’t find some sea beans in your local supermarket, then perhaps track down a restaurant that has them on the menu.

The overall texture of sea beans can be compared to asparagus. Their main difference is in taste. Sea beans tend to be saltier since they grow on beaches and in salt marshes. You can eat the beans raw or pan-fried to accompany meat, poultry, or seafood. Packed with calcium, iodine, protein, and iron, sea beans have plenty of vitamins and minerals.

Indoor Succulent care

12 Top Indoor Succulents for Your Home

So, you’ve seen some of their benefits and learned the basics. Now it’s time to find out which types of indoor succulents are best for indoor gardeners. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top 12 picks for your indoor garden.

1. Aloe Vera – The Quintessential Indoor Succulent

Aloe vera plants belong to the genus Aloe. Originating from the Arabian Peninsula, aloe vera is considered by many as a medicinal plant. The sap derived from the succulent can treat sunburn and small wounds. Aside from its therapeutic value, aloe makes for a great indoor plant. However, be aware that the thorns along the leaves’ edges are sharp and can cut skin. To avoid injuries, situate the plant in a spot where people won’t accidentally brush into it.

Tips for Growing

  • As much as possible, place aloe plants where they can get sunlight for a couple of hours each day.
  • Always allow the soil to dry between soakings.
  • Avoid repotting this succulent unless the roots are starting to push their way out of the soil.
  • Use a 10:10:10 fertilizer twice during its growth cycle.
  • Do not fertilize during the winter months.
Aloe Vera Succulent Plant
Burro's Tail Succulent

2. Burro’s Tail

This Mexican native succulent has fat trailing stems, making it the perfect addition to hanging planter baskets. Burro’s tail plants are easily identified by their gorgeous grayish-green leaves, or grayish-blue (depending on the variety), reaching up to 2 feet long. To keep this beauty healthy, situate it where it can receive bright rays from the sun.

Tips for Growing

  • Make sure to let the soil dry out properly between watering schedules.
  • Do not leave the soil wet or damp during the winter months, particularly if you reside in an area with cool temperatures.
  • The leaves on a burro’s tail tend to fall off with the slightest disturbance. Keep the plant at a distance where it will receive very minimal physical contact with other things.
  • When relocating the plant to the outdoors, make sure it acclimates well before subjecting it to full-on sun exposure.

3. Lithops Indoor Succulents

Diminutive in size, Lithops plants are colorful and unique pebble- or stone-like plants. This succulent belongs to the ice plant family and is native to southern Africa. Its name comes from Ancient Greece, meaning stone and face — “the appearance of stone.” Growing these indoor succulents is very easy as they do not require much care.

Tips for Growing

  • Refrain from watering the lithops at all during winter.
  • Grow only in soil that is kept well-drained.
  • Keep the succulent in a south- or west-facing location for the best sun, and keep it away from drafts.
Snake Plant

4. Snake Plant

Also popularly recognized as the Mother-in-law’s tongue plant, the snake plant is one of the lowest maintenance plants. This favorite indoor plant from the succulent family can thrive in areas with little to no direct sunlight. That’s right; this plant can survive even the darkest corners of the house. It is extremely low-maintenance, and it can utilize artificial light in place of sunlight.

Tips for Growing

  • Avoid watering often. In fact, it is best to only water it when the soil is dried.
  • Snake plants are very resilient, and you can place them in well-lit areas or the home’s dimmest spot.
  • To cultivate, gardeners need only to snip off a portion of its leaf. Then, directly insert it into the soil and watch it propagate in a week or two.

5. String of Pearls Indoor Succulents

Many consider the string of pearls plant one of the most aesthetically pleasing succulents. Its trailing leaves make it a highly decorative and appealing addition to the home. Also perfect for hanging baskets, this plant can look great in a myriad of containers.

Tips for Growing

  • Like many indoor succulents, the string of pearls plant requires ample sunlight to thrive.
  • The string of pearls has very low watering requirements. Therefore, gardeners should be careful with watering.
  • Those in warmer regions should follow moderate watering guidelines.
Indoor Succulent: String of Pearls
Green Wheel Sempervivum

6. Hens and Chicks Indoor Succulents

Two succulent varieties share the name hens and chicks. Although closely related, they do not resemble each other. Both these plants “birth” small plants that are identical to the mother (or hen).

The first is the Mexican Snowball plant, or echeveria elegans, which forms rosettes that are flat with round edges. Each year this succulent variety grows bell-shaped arching blooms.

The other is Green Wheel Sempervivum, also known as the sempervivum tectorum, and also resembles rosettes. However, each of its leaves is flatter and has more pointed tips. It has star-shaped blooms.

These succulent plants are available in a range of colors and shapes, thus making them a fun addition to an indoor garden.

Tips for Growing

  • During winter dormancy, water this succulent infrequently.
  • Hens and chicks can tolerate low light or shade. However, keeping them near a bright spot would still be ideal.
  • You can propagate this plant through the cutting method.

7. Ponytail Palm

Contrary to their name, ponytail palm plants do not belong to the palm plant species. It is, however, a succulent. An easy favorite amongst indoor plant growers, the ponytail palm is touted as one of the best large indoor plants. These are also known as “Elephant Foot Palm” for the swollen stem base where the water is typically stored.

Tips for Growing

  • Ponytail palms thrive in sunlight-rich locations but can also be grown all-day long in indirect bright sunlight.
  • It’s the type of plant that you plant and then forget about. Like its succulent brothers and sisters, regular watering is not necessary. Just give it plenty of water once the soil is completely dry.
Ponytail Palm Plant
Pana Plant: Indoor Succulent

8. Panda Plant Indoor Succulents

The fuzzy appearance of panda plants is thanks to the silvery gray hairs covering their leaves. Similar to other succulents, the leaves of the panda plant are fat with rust-colored, spotted edges. And, like other plants belonging to the kalanchoe genus, the panda plant flowers too. However, they rarely bloom when kept indoors.

Tips for Growing

  • Position the panda plant in an area that gets enough of both indirect bright light and direct light.
  • Avoid too much watering.
  • Allow the soil to dry between the watering schedules completely.
  • Fertilize once a month during its growth cycle.
  • Keep it at typical room temperature and away from cold and drafty areas.

9. Christmas Cactus

The Christmas cactus plant belongs to a small genus of succulents. Common in coastal mountains, this plant likes to grow in shady areas. It is also considered by many to be one of the prettiest of the succulent plant family.

Tips for Growing

  • It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to allow the top 2 inches of the soil to dry before each watering spell.
  • As much as possible, keep the Christmas cactus plant on the dry side during colder temperatures or the winter season.
  • During its flowering stage, gardeners should take extra care, as overwatering or underwatering can result in the buds dropping.
Christmas Cactus Plant
String of Bananas Plant

10. String of Bananas

The string of bananas plant is another member of the succulent family with trailing characteristics. This indoor succulent has long tendrils with leaves resembling bananas. The string of bananas plant needs regular pruning for it to grow full and thick. You can plant this plant on its own or add it to a pot that contains other indoor succulents.

Tips for Growing

  • The string of bananas prefers indirect sunlight over bright, direct light.
  • It thrives in porous soil that has excellent drainage.
  • Only water the plant when the soil is dry.
  • Please keep it away from children and pets as the plant is toxic when ingested.

11. Zebra Cactus

Stunning horizontal white stripes on the leaves of this plant give away its name — Zebra Cactus. Native to the continent of Africa, this little succulent hardly requires any care.

Tips for Growing

  • Since the roots do not penetrate the soil deeply, it is best to use shallow pots.
  • Repotting should be done at a 12-24-month interval. Fresh potting mix for succulents encourages optimum growth.
  • Expose the zebra cactus plant to bright but not direct sun. Direct exposure to sunlight will cause this succulent to shrivel up.
Zebra Plant Indoor Succulents
Crown of Thorns Plant

12. Crown of Thorns

A Madagascar native, the crown of thorns succulent has elongated spoon-shaped leaves found at the end of its spiky branches. Due to its tiny size, the flowers of this plant are often not as noticeable. However, the red, yellow, and salmon bracts surrounding them make them visibly attractive.

Tips for Growing

  • This succulent has low-to-moderate watering requirements.
  • Unlike most succulents, refrain from letting the soil dry out completely, or the leaves will fall off.
  • Get the best blooms from this plant by ensuring it gets direct light. However, it can survive in moderate lighting conditions.
  • Feed it 2-3 times during its active period, with a 10:10:10 fertilizer.

FAQs for Indoor Succulents

The most common pest to infect a succulent are mealy bugs. Thankfully, getting rid of them is not difficult. If these insects are infesting your indoor succulents, all you need is isopropyl alcohol. You can dab alcohol onto the affected area with a Q-tip, or you can spray it onto the leaves directly. Be sure to select 70% isopropyl alcohol for this job. And don’t worry; this concentration of alcohol is entirely safe to spray onto succulents.

Not exactly. For starters, a cactus is a succulent, but not all succulents are cacti. Succulents store water in their stems, leaves, roots, and arms. This water storage makes them capable of surviving without being watered. Cacti have small round cushion structures, called areoles. Flowers and hair can grow in the areoles. Lastly, cacti typically have thick, tough skin and rarely have leaves. If a succulent does not have any of these features, then it is not considered a cactus.

Yes! There’s still hope for a succulent that is bone dry. Unlike an overwatered succulent, there is a better chance of reviving one that is severely dehydrated.

Thoroughly soaking the soil with water is the first step to helping an underwatered succulent recover. From there, you must follow a watering schedule to ensure the plant gets the right amount of moisture. Just do not forget the cardinal rule of succulent care: water only when the soil is completely dry.

You can effortlessly propagate indoor succulents from leaves and cuttings. Before you chop off a part of your succulent, first know its genus and species. Having this information can help you determine what kind of cutting you can make.

For instance, Echeverias and Sedum will have no trouble propagating from either a leaf or a cutting. Aeoniums, on the other hand, can only be propagated from cuttings.

Overwatering is generally the culprit when a succulent is edging towards death’s door. It pays to keep track of watering and the amount of hydration you are giving the plant. Similarly, underwatering can also be to blame. Ask yourself, how often or how little have you been watering your plant?

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