Succulents look absolutely fabulous in pots and can beautify any space. But can succulents grow indoors?
The answer is yes and no. The great majority of succulents grow best outside and need exposure to direct sun. Succulents that can grow indoors will need a bright spot and plenty of airflow to stay alive.
Unfortunately, most succulents that people put indoors (the colourful rosette shaped plants such as Echeveria, Graptoveria etc.) will lose colour, stretch/ grow leggy and eventually die due to lack of sun and fresh air.
It is unlikely sun-loving succulents will stay alive indoors, in no or little sun for longer than 3 months.
The only time colourful, sun-loving succulents could possibly grow indoors is if the house is exceptionally sunny (this would have to be a wall of glass with at least 4-5 hours of direct sun), has a sunroom or growing lights able to support these type of succulents. We have an article that explains how and under what circumstances sun loving succulents can grow indoors. Although it specifically talks about Echeverias, the advice applies to all succulents that need sun to survive. To read this article, go here.
There is some good news- a decent variety of succulents will grow indoors, though a bright spot is essential for most. Brighter the spot, better the growth. The best succulents to grow indoors are
Gasteria genus, Haworthia genus, some Aloes, some Crassulas, Ceropegia Woodii, many species of Cacti, Rhipsali genus, Peperomia genus & Sansevieria genus. You may find there can be isolated cases from other succulent genera as well, but not a lot.
Although a lot of shade tolerant succulents will stay alive in a darker spots, further away from the windows, their leaves will grow longer, brighter shade of green and the growth will altogether be very slow. It is unlikely they will grow offsets, unless the spot has got loads of natural light. A little bit of sun also won’t hurt them (though it has to be said that strong afternoon summer sun could burn plants through the glass as glass intensifies the heat). We also have a couple of articles on plants that will do well indoors here. If hanging succulents are your thing, you can also read this.
The one succulent outperforming all others indoors is Sansevieria also commonly known as Mother in Law’s Tongue or The Snake Plant. All species in the Sansevieria genus do exceptionally well even in darker corners of the house. There is a great variety of Sansevierias available out there and they also look fantastic. Do be careful as they are toxic to humans and pets.
To conclude, in the majority of cases succulents indoors do not do very well (Unless you’re willing to invest in plant growing lights- then your possibilities are endless), but there are a few that will be ok. My recommendation would be to always do a little research online before buying succulents for indoors/ ask the grower you intend to buy from which plants will do well inside without direct sun.