Have you ever bought a gorgeous colourful succulent, brought it home, put it on your desk only to watch it loose colour, stretch or turn into mush? Succulents are beautiful & unusual plants that are hardy, don’t need to be watered often and grow just about anywhere, right? Wrong!
The urge to put succulents indoors is understandable as their shapes and colours would add greatly to any home. Unfortunately, many succulents and low light levels do not mix very well, even if your home is bright and there is some sun coming through. Unless you have a sunroom with at least 5 hours of sunlight, most of the colourful varieties will not survive for very long and their looks will deteriorate very quickly.
Luckily, there are succulents out there that will happily grow indoors provided there is natural light and airflow. We grow some of these varieties and have tried a few in our house to see how they stack up.
Here is a list of our top 8 most favourite succulents for indoors.
This is our absolute favourite and one of the most popular plants in our online store as not only it looks great with its heart shaped leaves growing on vines or ‘strings’, it also has a bit of colour to it.
Two varieties are available- the regular chain of hearts and variegated chain of hearts. Regular hearts are green with white streaks and purple undersides, though the top part of the leaf can also change to a bit of purple depending on the amount of light the plant is grown in. Regular Ceropegia Woodii also grows fairly fast and is quite hardy not requiring much water or maintenance.
The variegated chain of hearts can be described as the better-looking sibling with pink, green and white leaves. They are slower to grow and a bit less hardy than the non-variegated version, though still easy to grow and very forgiving if you forget to water it.
Both versions also flower.
These plants are usually in high demand but take some time to propagate and therefore are not readily available or sell out quick. As a consequence, they are not cheap and can sell for well over $15 for mature plants.
In our opinion they are worth it and you will not regret getting one of these for your home.
Another superb looking succulent that is both hardy and shade tolerant is Haworthia Attenuata, also commonly know as the Zebra Plant. The nickname comes from the white stripes running horizontally on the back of the slender, pointy leaves.
This plant can be grown in the same pot for many years and is also suitable for terrariums. In larger pots it can reach height of about 15cms and 10cms in diameter. Pups grow from the base of the plant and can be take off to propagate or left to create a cute clump.
The Zebra Plant is quite a common plant and often available in garden centres for around $5 - $8.
Cacti are almost synonymous with the desert and blazing sun and because of this they do not seem to be a plant to put indoors. Surprisingly, cacti and especially grafted cacti do remarkably well inside in a well-lit spot.
Grafted Cacti come in a few different colours, most common ones are red, orange, purple, pink and yellow. They are often mistaken for a flowering cactus, but the colourful top is actually a different cactus to the bottom green stalk. They are cut, grafted on top of each other and grown as one.
The reason behind the colour in the top bit of the grafted cactus is mutation. But because of this mutation, the plant is not able to grow on its own, hence the grafting onto a different cactus.
While the bottom part of the cactus is quite a hardy plant, the colourful top is sensitive to sun and prefers a bright, sheltered spot making it a superb indoor plant.
Grafted Cacti are also perfect for those amongst us who are a bit forgetful when it comes to watering plants as they will live and prefer to live without water for extended period. Too much water often results in rotting.
Grafted Cacti are quite popular and can be found in most garden centres and online nurseries for about $8- $15 depending on the colour and size.
If you’re looking for a cute and chunky hanging succulent for indoors it's hard to go past Donkey’s Tail. The plant is light blue/green in colour with short, stubby leaves that are sensitive to touch and can fall off easily, so it might be a good idea to place it in a ‘low traffic’ area of the house.
Sedum Morganium is very slow to grow and can stay in the same pot for many years. It will need to be in a well-lit room and requires moderate watering (once every 2 weeks).
Sedum Morganium can sometimes be a bit hard to find and is also tricky to post due to the sensitive leaves, but some nurseries/garden centres stock them for $10-15, based on size.
We sell a 'mini' sedum morganium at $3 as the leaves tend to stay intact when posting small plants.
Not only does Aloe Vera look great with its green, slender, long leaves and white speckles, it is also said to be a great medicinal plant that is handy to have around the home for things like burns, acne and skin irritations. Some even make a juice out of Aloe Vera and drink it, though we’d recommend taking care and research in detail before consuming as parts of Aloe Vera can be an awesome laxative too!
There are many types of Aloes out there that are also fantastic succulents for indoors, but it can sometimes be a challenge to find the true Aloe Vera as many look very similar. The plant in the picture here is Aloe Vera, though when purchasing one you can ask the seller/garden centre to confirm. Aloe Vera should be inexpensive and cost somewhere between $5 and $8.
Both succulent and non-succulent Peperomias are great indoor plants. There are few colourful succulents suitable for indoors and that is why Peperomia Graveolens is a bit special. It has chunky leaves that are wine red on the outside and almost fluoro green on the inside. The stalk is also red, adding to the overall appeal of this plant.
Peperomia Graveolens may be a bit susceptible to rotting if watered too much and it is best that its only watered once the potting mix is completely dry to the touch. If in doubt, water every 2 weeks and make sure there is a drainage hole.
Peperomia Graveolens can fetch a higher price as it is a bit rare due to its slow growth and you can expect to pay up to $40 for good looking larger specimens.
This one is for the minimalist or someone who likes small pots. Gasteria Bicolor is a cute, small growing succulent with dark green leaves and white spots. It is slow growing making it a perfect choice for pots or terrariums.
Small Gasterias can be bought for as little as $3. More mature plants cost slightly more, but you can expect lots of ‘babies’ that can be used to propagate new plants or create a small clump of plants.
Xerosicyos Danguyi is very popular with feng-shui enthusias due to its round, coin like leaves. Also nicknamed the String of Coins or the Silver Dollar Vine, it is considered to bring fortune. Once established, Xerosicyos Danguyi is quite hardy and will grow both in sun and in shade.
The coin like leaves can be a bit heavy for the stalk at times and it is recommended to provide support or a small trellis as this plant has the ability to attach itself to structures with tendrils. Alternatively, it can also be grown in hanging baskets.
Unfortunately, Xerosicyos Danguyi is considered rare and is not cheap to buy. At auctions, it can fetch well over $50, cuttings can be bought for less. Some also sell leaves, though unless you are incredibly patient, we would not recommend this as leaves can take years to send a shoot out and some leaves are not shoot likely to shoot at all.
There are many more other succulents that will survive indoors. Some of the genera to look out for are Haworthia, Aloe, Gasteraloe, Peperomia, some Crassulas, some Senecios & some Aeoniums. We say some as many in the genus prefer to be outdoors in the sun, but some will happily grow in a bright and well ventilated spot indoors. Some of the popular genera that almost never survive without ample sunlight are Echeveria, Graptopetalums, Graptoverias, most Sedums, Sedeverias and Sempervivums.
We would also like to add that the information in this article is our experience as a grower, but it may not reflect other peoples experiences. Plants are living things and what works for some may not always work for others.