The use of succulents as indoor plants is quickly catching on. This is because succulents are easy to take care of. They also require little water to survive, making them ideal as indoor plants. If you have a busy schedule or are forgetful, you need not worry that your plant would die for lack of attention. Succulents have water-storing tissues which help them survive for long, even while indoors with little to no attention. It is little wonder then that they are loved not only by beginners but also professional gardeners. Succulents help bring a little of nature indoors with their striking features of distinct leaf shapes, sizes, and textures.
So, what are some of the best succulents out there that make excellent houseplants? Granted, not all succulents make excellent houseplants. For example, Aeonium, Agave, Haworthia truncate, Crasulla ‘Gollum’ to name but a few can only make great outdoor plants despite them being succulents. They include Aloe, Cacti, Stonecrop, Prickly Pear, White-pitahaya, Jade plant, Ponytail palm, Snake plant, Panda, Burro’s tail, Christmas cactus and Hens-and-chicks.
This article will consider nine of these succulents that make great houseplants at length. It will take into account the origins, physical characteristics, and ideal conditions for growing the same.
1. Burro’s Tail
This amazing houseplant has been dubbed the donkey tail plant, and for a good reason. It grows up to 60 centimeters long and has the shape of a donkey’s tail. Interestingly, it is a cactus and a great indoor plant with its origin in Africa. With its fleshy blue-green leaves and flowers that turn pink in the summer, you can see why this plant adds to the overall ambiance of your house.
The ideal conditions for its growth include plenty of sunlight and moderate watering throughout the year. The sun helps in giving the leaves their color. However, when watering, avoid too much water lest you damage its roots. It is also advisable to handle the plant with care because its leaves are gentle and can break easily from the stem.
2. Jade Plant
This miniature tree-like succulent is also referred to as the money plant or money tree by the Chinese. According to them, the Jade plant brings wealth and prosperity. With its small pink and white flowers and oval-shaped leaves, this decorative plant is loved for its resilience on growth and ease in maturity. It’s a native to South Africa and Mozambique, but practically possible to grow anywhere with similar conditions as the native lands.
Granted, the Jade plant rots easily. As such, make sure you let the soil dry before watering it again. It is also advisable to avoid watering the plant immediately after planting. You can take up to a week to do so with no harm to the plant. This house plant has a longer lifespan compared to other succulents, and that’s one of the reasons it has been passed from generation to generation. Jade plant grows to heights of 90 centimeters or 3 feet and does well in dry conditions. That said, avoid watering it during winter because the plant is usually dormant during this period and may not need much nutrient uptake.
3. Panda Plant
Well, let’s first clarify that this plant has no relationship with the black-and-white, bear-like animal found in China. Named Cocoon plant and Chocolate soldiers, the Panda plant is native to Madagascar, an island country southwest of Africa. With its red, small-sized and rimmed foliage, the plant has become a favorite for gardeners and succulent enthusiasts.
The Panda plant needs plenty of sunlight, about six hours of exposure. As such, planting it inside a container and putting it near the window will work just fine. When watering the Panda, keep it to the minimum, only doing so each time the soil feels dry to avoid too much water affecting its roots. The Panda can grow up to 61 centimeters or 2 feet in height.
4. Snake Plant (mother-in-law’s tongue)
This evergreen perennial plant with upright green leaves and yellow edges might as well be the most famous of all the houseplants. During the night, the Snake plant converts carbon (IV) oxide into oxygen; an impressive feat for such a small plant. It is also named Saint George’s sword and viper’s boasting hemp.
The snake plant is touted to have cancer-fighting capabilities by absorbing pollutants from the environment. This is in addition to being a snake repellent.
This succulent prefers indirect sunlight and can do well in the shade, albeit with a slow growth rate. Exposing the plant to too much strong sunlight will kill it as direct sun rays burn its leaves.
5. Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)
If you are a Christian, the term Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus is not alien. This plant is believed to have been part of that crown that Jesus wore just before his crucifixion. Native to Madagascar, the plant has tear-shaped leaves, sharp thorns, and deep red bracts. It adapts to warmer climates where it can grow up to 150 centimeters or 5 feet.
The Crown of Thorns thrives when exposed to direct sunlight, and so three to four hours of sunlight daily is enough to get the blooms all year round. Make sure to place it near the window, and move it if you must when the sun moves. This ornamental houseplant is a real gem for any succulent enthusiast looking to improve their indoor décor.
6. Christmas Cactus ( Schlumbergera truncate)
Colors like white, yellow, purple, and pink are always common during the holidays, and that is what this plant, a native of the tropical rain forest in Brazil, is all about. The Christmas Cactus has branches that can grow up to 90 centimeters or 3 feet long. The plant also goes by other names like Thanksgiving cactus, Holiday cactus, and Crab cactus. Considering its native lands, the Christmas cactus prefers a humid environment.
Direct sunlight may burn leaf segments; so be sure to place it in areas that do not experience direct sunlight around the house. You can water this succulent every 2 to 3 weeks to allow the soil to dry fully.
7. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
Wonder what else can come out of the Arabian Peninsula apart from oil? Well, the Aloe vera that grows wild in arid climates is native to the Arabian Peninsula. It’s quite a popular succulent, if not the most popular of them all. Thanks to its juice, some consumer products have been given a lifeline. The benefits ascribed to this wonder plant include:
• Healing burns,
• Promoting better oral health
• Clearing acne
• Improving digestion
• Improving indoor decor
For lovers of home décor, you can kill two birds with one stone by improving your indoor outlook while getting medicinal values whenever needed.
Aloe vera has thick green or sometimes grey-green serrated leaves, and it grows well away from direct sunlight, preferring instead just the brightness of the sun. With the right conditions, it can grow up to 100 centimeters long or a little over 3 feet.
You might be wondering why the name Hens-and-chicks for a plant. Well, this succulent is a member of the alpine family that has this habit of producing a flock of offspring that stays closer to the mother plant. It is known by many other names, including houseleeks, hens, and semps. Remarkably, they are known to survive both falls of snow and frost; an impressive feat among succulents.
Hens-and-chicks grows well in dry conditions and is thus easy to care for as a houseplant. This explains why it is popular among the busy succulent lovers
9. Ponytail Palm
The word ponytail brings to mind a kind of hairstyle, but this plant is far from that. With a stem that looks like an elephant’s trunk and leaves capping the stem, the plant looks so interesting. The ponytail is native to Mexico and grows to about 3 feet as a houseplant. Otherwise known as the elephant foot, this succulent plant has become popular in the last few years as a houseplant, and it’s easy to see why. Its popularity stems from the fact that it thrives on neglect, meaning you need to do very little.
Succulents are slowly taking center stage in home décor. The need for much greener and eco-friendly interiors has seen many succulents enthusiasts opt for these plants for their indoors. Even with his, it is important to consider the growth conditions of your chosen houseplant by ensuring it corresponds with that of your region. Whether you are looking for flowering succulents or simply yearning to see green at home, succulents are your best bet. The fact that they do not need much attention makes it the best choice for busy individuals or frequent travelers.