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Can Succulents Grow Indoors?

Updated: Feb 2

Succulents look absolutely fabulous in pots and can beautify any space. There is however a small problem with growing these plants indoors.

Most succulents cannot grow indoors as they need exposure to direct sun for much of the day. Succulents that can grow indoors will need a bright spot and plenty of airflow to stay alive.

Unfortunately, the great majority of succulents that people try to grow 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, fresh air and increased humidity.

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. A full wall of glass with at least 4-5 hours of direct sun, 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 Echeveria, 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:

  • Aloe

  • Ceropegia

  • Crassula Ovata species

  • Epiphyllum

  • Haworthia

  • Gasteria

  • Lepismium

  • Rhipsalis

  • Sansevieria

  • Selenicereus

These are succulent genera that grow in shaded positions in their natural environment. There may be others such as Peperomia, trailing Senecio (Senecio Rowleyanus for instance) that will grow indoors as well. I have written another article on beginner indoor succulents, if you'd like to learn more.

Although a lot of shade tolerant succulents will stay alive in darker spots, further away from the windows, their leaves will grow longer, light shade of green and the growth will altogether be very slow. It is unlikely they will grow offsets.

A little bit of sun won’t hurt them indoor succulents and is extremely beneficial for their growth. 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. However, 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 succulents can grow indoors with little sun to no sun.

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