There are thousands of easy succulents beginners can try growing but only a small number will also grow well indoors long term. Most succulents are sun lovers and need at least a few hours every day but luckily, there are shade-tolerant plants out there too.
Easy Beginner Succulents For Indoors
Haworthia Fasciata (and other Haworthia)
Gasteria Bicolour (and other Gasteria)
Grafted Cacti (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii)
Haworthia Fasciata (and other Haworthia)
Haworthia is a genus of small growing succulents that are shade tolerant. Most will require a bright spot when indoors (by the window) but will grow in the middle of a bright room too, especially the Haworthia Fasciata species such as the Zebra.
Many Haworthia are also slow growing which makes them perfect for small pots and even terrariums, though do be careful as succulents are not really keen on living in terrariums due to lack of fresh air.
In general, brighter the spot nicer, more compact the plant will be.
This plant has earned a nickname Mother in Law’s Tongue due to its long leaves. All species within the Sansevieria genus are shade tolerant and will grow easily grow indoors. From experience, Trifasciata is the best of them, quite inexpensive and will tolerate low light too.
These succulents can grow quite tall (depending on the species) and will need to be repotted once every year. Sansevieria Trifasciata may end up needing quite a large pot.
Sansevieria can be mildly toxic if eaten as so are not recommended with small children or plant nibbling pets
Ceropegia Woodii Variegata
Ceropegia Woodii and its variegated version are a real gem that will do well indoors. They are also very easy to look after. The variegated version of Ceropegia Woodii aka The Chain of Hearts is one of the most popular hanging plants out there and looks simply stunning with its heart-shape, pink-cream-green leaves.
The best colours will be achieved when the chain of hearts is positioned near a window.
In order for the plant to grow long vines, it will need to be repotted into bigger pot once rootbound. Fertlizing in spring will also help with growth.
Gasteria Bicolour and other Gasteria are a fantastic choice for the house. Some grow a bit larger (over 20cm wide and tall) and some stay quite small. Most will grow very slow indoors unless they have a super bright spot or are under growing lights.
The appeal of Gasteria comes from the pattern on their leaves which are usually dotted with spots and lines of a contrasting colour.
Rhipsalis aka the Mistletoe cactus are another good choice for indoors. The leaves are usually cylindrical, think and will eventually hang out of the pot.
These interesting succulents originate in humid areas and jungles and so are one of few that should not have a problem surviving in humid areas of the house, such as the bathroom.
Rhipsalis species can grow over a meter long. Bigger the pot, longer the plant.
This is a cute cactus with a spreading habit and it is very hardy. The spikes are quite soft and the plant will flower if placed in a very bright spot.
Echinopsis Chamaecereus has a trailing habit and will hang out of pots. It is very tolerant of being rootbound, but can look spectacular if repoted regularly.
Grafted Cacti with a Gymnocalycium Mihanovichi head (the colourful, round ones) are superb indoor plants, but they will need a well lit spot without any hot sun hitting them.
While I’d still class them as suitable for beginners they can get a little touchy if watered too often. But that’s good news for those of us who get a bit forgetful when it comes to watering.
To learn more about these amazing, human made succulents see one of my other articles on grafted cacti.
Tips For Keeping Indoor Succulents Alive
Succulents, even the shade tolerant species, do like lots of light so brighter the spot, the better the plant will grow. A bit of morning sun won’t hurt them either. One reason why indoor succulents can fail is closing the blinds/ curtains.
Fresh air, and lots of it will help indoor succulents grow better as they like good air flow.
Succulent potting mix should be used and a sprinkle of slow release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.
When it comes to watering, keeping the plants on the dry side is a good idea. Never spray indoor succulents as a form of watering. Instead a good soak ever 2-3 weeks will be sufficient. The potting mix should be dry before watering again.
Easy Beginner Succulents For Outdoors
We grow quite a few of these plants both in our gardens and also for the nursery and I can’t say that we have ever had any trouble with this species whatsoever. Crassula Ericoides will live through horrendous heatwaves (45C/113F), loads of rain and have even survived mild frosts.
Crassula Ericoides is quite unassuming but attractive in its own way, with small triangular leaves and slightly similar to the super popular Crassula Buddhas Temple.
It will survive sun and shade, though best results are achieved if the plant is exposed to at least 4 hours of sunshine.
Graptopetalum Paraguaynese is another favourite of mine due to its toughness and ever changing colour. When the weather is cold and the plant is exposed to the sun, the rosettes on this spreading succulent turn shades of pink. The leaves have a powdery coating also called the Farina.
This and the pale colour in the warmer months have earned the Paraguayense a nickname- ‘the Ghost Plant’.
You won’t be disappointed as this plant is very attractive and also hardy (not frost tolerant though).
Also called the Jelly Beans or Pork and Beans, this cute little succulent is a fantastic groundcover/ hanging plant that will turn bright red in the cold months but will lose a lot of its colour in summer.
Tough as old boots, the Sedum Rubrotinctum is a perfect beginner plant and will survive in most positions and soils. They are not, however, frost tolerant.
Echeveria Prolifica is a spreading succulent that really lives up to its name. The Prolifica is hardy, a fast grower and incredibly cute with its dusty blue-grey leaves arranged in a rosette shape and pinky tips in winter.
If you’re a beginner but also keen to try leaf propagation, this succulent has pretty much 100% strike rate and will grow from even the tiniest of leaves.
Arguably the most common succulent out there, Crassula Ovata is a winner for the beginner. It should even survive indoors, but may have trouble staying compact.
Outdoors, this succulent will shine and you will hardly need to lift a finger. There are several variations of Crassula Ovata and all of them, except for the variegated versions that may be a bit troublesome in the wrong spot, are very hardy. Try the Gollum or Hobbit for a funky leaf.
Portulacaria Afra or the Elephants bush is also very hardy and has lots of similarities with the Crassula above. It is a very good beginner succulent and should survive both indoors and outdoors.
The leaves are small, round and the whole plant looks very cute. It is also considered lucky and many call it the Jade Plant (other succulents with round leaves are also the Jade Plant, so it can be a bit confusing).
This gorgeous plant is a winner in the garden, but will also grow well in big pots. It forms large rosettes and grows into a small tree in time. Aeonium Arboreum, unlike many others, is summer dormant and grows in the cooler months.
Because it is so hardy and can spread rapidly some parts of the world consider it a weed. Check your local weed guide before planting Arboreum in the garden.
Tips For Keeping Outdoor Succulents Alive
It is hard to give universal advice on this as plants may not behave the same way in different climates.
One thing that succulents dislike is direct, hot sun during heatwaves if they are in pots and can’t cool their roots. Once temperatures start climbing over 35C/95F it is best to protect the pots (bring into shade or pitch a shadecloth over them. Remember that the temperatures that you see in the weather forecast are shade temperatures, so if it says it is 35C/95F it is likely to be somewhere around 40C/104F in full sun. Plants in the ground should survive this, though there may be burns to the leaves.
Most succulents are also not frost hardy so if you live in cold climate with harsh winter, they will need to be brought indoors or in a greenhouse.
If you are just starting out with succulents get some good quality potting mix and pots with holes.
It may be a good idea to re-pot succulents once a year in spring.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a plant can be lost but, that is just life and it has happened to most of us growing succulents.
Hope you’ll have lots of fun on your succulent growing journey.