Low Light Succulents 101

Succulents are all the rage right now. Once more people started staying home, many wanted to add more life or greenery to their homes. However, not everyone has a green thumb. So instead, of growing plants like herbs, fruits, vegetables or flowers, they are sticking to low maintenance plants like low light succulents. 

What are low light succulents? Low light succulents are succulents that do not need large amounts of sunlight to survive. These plants can thrive in darker areas like apartments, condos, townhomes and even bedrooms. 

Are you on the hunt for the perfect low light companion? Then, stick around because we dive into further detail about how much sunlight these plants need, the best ones for your home, why they are perfect for your environment and where you can find these succulents. 

How much light do low light succulents need?

Even though low light succulents can live in environments with low levels of sunlight, that does not mean they do not need a sufficient light source to stay alive. Remember, they are still living things and require sunlight to survive. Since low light succulent plants do not need to be under direct sunlight all the time, you can place them outside or near a window or light source for six to eight hours a day for them to survive. And in some cases, they can go days without sunlight (only in extreme cases). 

What are the best low light succulents?

Before going on a shopping spree or adding new plants to your home, you should know and understand the best low light succulents. Check out our detailed list below to discover about 11 low light succulents and how to care for them. 

Snake plant

The snake plant or the dracaena trifasciata, Saint George’s sword, mother-in-law’s tongue or viper’s bowstring hemp is a plant native to the tropics in West Africa from the east of Nigeria to the Congo. It is an evergreen perennial plant that forms dense stands. Mature snake plants are dark green with light gray-green crossbands. They can reach up to two meters in optimal living conditions.

You can use the snake plant to make bowstrings out of its strong fibers, but most people use it as a decoration home piece. It is a great filter for indoor air because it filters out four of the five main toxins in the effects of sick building syndrome. However, this plant is toxic to pets like cats and dogs. 

For individuals who forget to water their plants, the snake plant is perfect for you. During the winter, it only needs watering once every couple of months. During the summer, you can water it once every month. Be careful not to overwater a snake plant because it can rot if it obtains too much moisture. 

Echeveria

Have you seen those pretty light green succulent plants that everyone keeps grabbing as decorative pieces? Then, you may have noticed the echeveria plant. This plant is native to Central America, Mexico and northwestern South America. Discovered in 1828, the echeveria has about 150 species in the genus.

The echeveria is evergreen (green all year long) or deciduous (leaves fall off once it hits maturity). Flowers do bloom off this low light succulent and will disperse seeds many times throughout their life. The echeveria plays a huge environmental role for butterflies. It acts as a host for the butterflies to lay their eggs. 

Overwatering tends to be the biggest issue for the echeveria plant. You will need to let the soil dry out completely before watering it again.  

Panda plant

Known as the panda plant, chocolate soldier or cocoon plant, the kalanchoe tomentosa plant is a native low light succulent in Madagascar. It is a popular houseplant thanks to its easy maintenance, small size and dark-red rimmed foliage. This plant even won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. 

The panda plant grows about one foot tall and has furry light green leaves with dark-red spotted ends. It can produce flowers, but typically it will not bloom indoors. This plant is perfect for hanging or sitting on a shelf near the sun. 

This low light succulent grows best in temperatures around 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Just like the echeveria plant, you only need to water it when the soil becomes dry. Make sure to replot the panda plant every two years. 

Oxtongue plant

The oxtongue plant or the gasteria obliqua or lawyer’s tongue is a small low light succulent plant from South Africa. The leaves on this plant are dark green with white speckled dots. They grow about six inches in a pot and one foot in their natural habitat. 

You can take this plant outside for about two to four hours daily, but make sure to protect it during the hottest hours of the day. It also can survive in the shade for a little bit. You need to water this plant every time the soil dries. 

Aloe

A common succulent that many people know and have — the aloe vera plant — comes from the genus Aloe. The aloe genus contains over 500 flowering succulent plants. You can find aloe succulents all over the world, including Madagascar, Jordan, Hawaii, Australia, India, South America and more tropical places. 

Most aloe plants have a rosette of large, thick leaves. This succulent also varies in colors, including green, grey, yellow and pink. Some may even have stripes and spots. 

Many people use aloe as a decorative houseplant or for medicinal purposes. People use around 75 percent of aloe succulents for medical purposes like the aloe vera plant. Aloe plants treat burns, wounds and skin problems. In historical instances, aloe was the main ingredient in many herbal medicines. 

The care and maintenance of aloe plants are simple. You only need to water them once every couple of weeks, and you can prune them if they incur any damages or grow too large. Most aloe plants are small to medium-sized, but some plants like the aloe vera succulent can continue to grow if they are in optimal condition. 

Haworthia

The haworthia is a small succulent plant that looks like a miniature aloe. The feature that sets them apart is their distinctive flowers. Haworthia succulents originated in Southern Africa, more specifically in Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho and South Africa. 

These succulents only grow up to 50 centimeters tall and are green in color. They do change colors (red and purple) when they are lacking water. Therefore, if you notice your haworthia starting to turn red or purple, it is time to get it some water.  

Rhipsalis

Rhipsalis is a low light succulent that is part of the cactus family. It originates from South America, the Caribbean and Central America as well as parts of Africa and Asia. There are 35 different species of the rhipsalis succulent, including the mistletoe cactus that we discuss below.

These plants prefer bright indirect sunlight during the morning or evening. We recommend placing it a few feet away from a window. Rhipsalis plants are sensitive to overwatering, so you only need to water it once a week or whenever the soil is dry. 

Schlumbergera

Another cactus succulent is the schlumbergera plant. The difference between this plant compared to the other is its bright pink flowers. The schlumbergera succulent is also known as the Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, crab cactus and holiday cactus in the Northern Hemisphere. It originates from Brazil. 

The schlumbergera succulent grows naturally on trees and rocks. It thrives best in 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and under direct sunlight. You need to change the fertilizer every couple of weeks, and you only need to water it so the soil does not dry up. 

Hoya

Hoya succulents are a genus with about 300 species of tropical plants. They originate from Asia, more specifically Thailand, the Philippines, New Guinea, Vietnam and Malaysia. The plant’s name came from the founder’s Robert Brown’s late friend Thomas Hoy. 

These succulents grow best in pots with drains, so they do not overwater. They can stay in the same container for many years but need fertilizer changed every spring and summer. 

Zebra haworthia

Zebra haworthia or haworthiopsis attenuata is a small succulent from Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The plant resembles an aloe vera but with white stripes. It also can have green or purple leaves. 

These succulent plants need a pot with adequate drainage as well as bright light, but not necessarily direct sunlight. 

Mistletoe Cactus

Under the classification of rhipsalis, the mistletoe cactus or rhipsalis baccifera is a low light succulent found in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Sri Lanka and Florida. It is the only cactus found outside of the Americas.

You need to water the mistletoe cactus frequently in the spring and summer and less in the fall and winter. If the cactus incurs any damages, you can prune it with a sharp, sterile knife. 

Where can I find a low light succulent? 

You do not have to travel far to find a low light succulent. In fact, you can find one at your local home improvement store or supermarket. For more exotic or specific succulents, you can visit a local plant nursery. 

You can easily deck your home out with one of these low maintenance low light succulent plants. For more lifestyle tips, tricks and stories, check out our blog or contact us today. 

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