Do you like the look of succulent plants? Succulents have big, juicy leaves that come in a range of shapes and colors. Many succulents make excellent houseplants, and some come with advantages like cleaning the air.
If you’re living in an apartment that has low-light conditions, or your home has dim lighting or north-facing living areas, succulents are the ideal indoor plants. They don’t require much sunlight to thrive, but they grow large and wild if they get full sun.
Keeping them indoors makes the plants mature at a smaller size, ideal for keeping around the home. This guide gives you ten ideas for succulent plants suitable for growing in low light conditions.
How Much Light Do My Succulents Need to Survive?
Before we jump into our top ten picks, it’s important to understand the light requirements of succulent plants. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, then south-facing windows get the most sunlight throughout the day.
East-facing windows get the most sun during the morning, and north-facing windows get the least amount of sun streaming through them. Therefore, if you have sun-hungry plants, you’ll need to have southern-facing windows for the plant’s needs.
Succulents suit all positions in the home, even north-facing windows. So while the plants won’t thrive and get huge in low-light, they maintain their size, growing slowly over the course of years.
What are the Best Succulents to Grow in Low-Light Conditions?
While succulents generally throve in all light conditions, there are a few that require the full sun, or they’ll perish. If you live in an apartment with no windows, consider purchasing a small grow lamp for your succulents to get some light.
These grow lamps are available in tabletop sizes for your plants, producing a full-spectrum light that gives your plant all it needs to survive. In addition, some light setups come with a stylish design to suit the décor of any apartment.
Stationing a grow lamp over your succulent produces some interesting results. First, the plant’s growth rate change is somewhat astounding, with a six to eight-hour light cycle each day. Second, purchasing a timer helps you ensure that the plant gets sufficient light throughout the day, without the need for you to turn the light on and off while you’re away from home.
However, for the purposes of this post, we’re going to assume you have an east or west-facing window in the room where you’re growing your succulents. If that’s the case, our top ten choices for the best succulents to grow in low-light conditions are your best options for indoor growing.
Display the plants anywhere you like, with desks, hanging baskets, tabletops, counters, shelves, and bedside tables being popular placement options.
1. Snake Plant
The snake plant also goes by the moniker of the “mother-in-law’s tongue.” This plant is native to Africa, specifically South Africa. It’s one of the hardiest and durable succulent plants out there, and it also comes with a secondary advantage for homeowners.
The snake plant is one of the few succulents classed as an official “air scrubber.” The plant breathes in the air in the room, changing it for oxygen. During the chemical change, the snake plant naturally filters out the impurities in the air.
The snake plant will grow in the most dimly lit conditions, such as rooms with north-facing windows. The snake plant comes in a range of varieties, with plants reaching anything from a few inches to up to four feet in height.
The snake plant produces long, slender, flat leaves. The foliage features a variety of patterns and variegation, depending on the variety. Most plants have green or white involved in the color scheme and horizontal V-shaped patterns of white against the green background.
Typically, the leaves have a dull, dusty look, but they are self-cleaning and don’t require much maintenance to keep them looking great. In addition, the snake plant is hardy and drought-resistant, only requiring watering once a week in low light conditions.
The echeverias are one of the most recognizable succulent plants available for the home. It comes in a range of leaf shapes and colors, with the grey/blue varieties performing better in homes with low-light conditions than the pink, purple, and green-leaved types.
If the echeverias don’t get enough sunlight, the center stalk elongates, stretching towards the sun or the window. Therefore, home gardeners should aim for a location in the home that receives around four hours of sunlight each day.
To prevent your plant from stretching to one side, give the container a quarter-turn once a week, and the plant will keep tracking vertical growth. Besides the occasional turn, these succulents don’t require much maintenance from the indoor gardener—water when the soil feels dry. Stick your finger an inch into the soil; if it feels dry, water; if it’s moist, give it a few days.
The plant is somewhat drought-resistant, and they grow in room-temperature conditions without any issues.
3. Lace Aloe
The lace aloe is another top choice for indoor growing in low light conditions. Also known as the aloe aristate, this plant grows slowly over the years, with the mother plants producing “pups.”
The pups are small growths coming from the base of the plant. The gardener can harvest the pups and use them to start new plants. You can divide up the plant or share the pups with friends. The mother plants keep producing, even in low-light conditions.
This succulent is a great choice for smaller areas around the home. When mature, the plant only reaches around eight inches in height, making it ideal for apartment dwellers. The lance aloe, like other aloes, produces thick, fleshy leaves, sought-after for its healing ability and antimicrobial effect in the aloe juices.
For the indoor gardener, the lace aloe requires planting in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Cacti mixes make for the best substrate options with this plant. In addition, it’s an ideal candidate for container growing with a shallow root system.
When watering, make sure you keep the leaves dry and let the soil dry out between watering for the best results with this succulent.
4. Zebra Haworthia
This succulent is the ideal plant for beginners growing in low-light conditions. The zebra plant handles all types of lighting conditions, and some indoor gardeners swear it’s near as hardy as the snake plant. The zebra Haworthia produces long, slender, fleshy leaves with a spike on the tip.
These succulents feature tones of green in the foliage, with white edging. The plant resembles a dwarf aloe, and it produces small “offsets,” which are similar to the pups we talked about with the aloe.
The zebra plant is a slow grower, and they tend to lean towards the light source in low-light conditions. However, as discussed, a simple quarter-turn of the pot once a week is sufficient to keep the plant’s growth tracking straight.
The zebra doesn’t like wet soil, and it will develop root rot with overwatering. Therefore, keep the watering sessions to a minimum, using the finger soil test we talked about earlier. Most zebra plants only require watering around once a month. As a result, they are some of the lowest maintenance houseplants available.
5. Ox Tongue Plant
The ox tongue has a unique shape to the succulent. The broad, fleshy leaves emerge from the base of the plant in pairs. The long leaves give the appearance of a tongue, hence the name. When potting the plant, make sure you use a coarse, well-draining potting mix with plenty of nutrients.
The ox plant is native to Africa, and it prefers growing in the partial shade. Therefore, indoor gardeners can adapt them to low-light growing conditions around the home. The leaves often feature intricate patterns and markings, creating a point of interest in the plant.
Like other succulents, it’s important to let the soil dry out between watering. Then, these plants enter a dormancy phase in the winter where they don’t require any water until the following spring. Some indoor gardeners highly prize the variegated varieties of the ox tongue, with yellow streaking or variegation on the leaves.
6. Panda Plant
The low-light succulents are ideal for home growing, with the plant’s foliage covered in a light fuzz. Touching the leaves gives you a silky feeling at your fingertips, making them irresistible to pet from time to time.
The panda plant is easy to grow, making it a suitable choice for beginners. Like other succulents, this plant is drought-resistant, preferring long dry spells between watering.
The plant reaches heights of around 18-inches, with its short stature making it ideal for placing on shelves around the home. The plant spreads to around the same diameter as its height, providing an asymmetrical look. The leaves feature a grey-green coloring and brown accents near the tip of the leaf.
7. String of Hearts
If you’re thinking about succulents suitable for use in hanging baskets, consider the string of hearts. This succulent loves growing in low-light conditions, and it’s a vigorous grower in the full sun. In addition, the plant has a unique look, matching its name. It produces string-like stems cascading down to delicate, fleshy trails.
The string of hearts also goes by the moniker of the rosary vine since it has the look of the large beads connected in a rosary. The plant stems produce small bulbils along the lengths, creating the visual likeness of beads on a string.
The string of hearts is an easy houseplant, offering the beginner gardener a forgiving project. The plants produce tiny pink and brown trumpet-style flowers, with the vines reaching up to three feet in length. Unfortunately, some gardeners find they have to cut the vines back once a year.
8. Mistletoe Cactus
The mistletoe cactus produce long, skinny leaves that look like fingers. However, the cactus doesn’t have any needles with a fleshy appearance. Instead, the fingers cascade down from the center of the plant at the base. This succulent is native to the South American rainforest, and the cacti grow in treetops as epiphytes.
Unlike other terrestrial-based cacti, the mistletoe cactus doesn’t enjoy the sunlight, and it needs a steady amount of water to survive. These succulents prefer the morning or late afternoon sun, and several cultivars make excellent houseplants.
Watering the plant is the biggest challenge for new indoor gardeners. First, make sure the soil is moist but not wet or soggy. Waterlogging the soil could result in the onset of root rot in the cacti.
9. Burro’s Tail
Also known as “sedum morganianum,” these succulents do well in low-light conditions. They are easy to grow and propagate, even in rooms with north-facing windows. Every leaf that falls from the plant ends up growing roots, developing into another plant.
This succulent likes moist soil, but avoid overwatering that can cause root rot., as discussed. Ensure the pot has drainage holes and a layer of pebbles in the bottom of the container to ensure proper drainage.
Reduce your watering by half during the wintertime. The fleshy leaves on this plant come in a dusty green color, and the stems trail over the sides of the container. As a result, it’s an excellent choice for a hanging basket placement in the kitchen, lounge, dining room, or on the patio.
The tails on the plant are fragile, and they break away easily. However, these tails grow readily, and you can turn them into new plants with some care.
10. String of Pearls
Not to confuse the string of hearts, the string of pearls is another classic indoor succulent that handles low-light conditions.
The string of pearls is a close cousin to the string of bananas and the string of tears. All of these succulents produce strings of vines and buds that produce spectacular indoor displays as they cascade off the sides of planters.
Try growing these succulents on the top of a bookcase with the tendrils hanging down the side for a dramatic effect. The plants need minimal water to survive and even less in the winter.