One of the trickiest things to do, whether you live in a small apartment or just want some vegetation inside your home, is to find and grow indoor-thriving plants.
Most people know succulents are low-maintenance (cacti, for example, which survive in arid deserts, are a type of succulent), but it can be surprising how easy it is to care for these houseplants.
However, there are some common mistakes made by the amateur – and sometimes even the professional – gardener.
To help create a beautiful garden inside your home, this article will cover the various succulents that prefer low-light conditions, how to properly water your indoor succulent, and things to avoid when caring for your new plant.
Types of Succulents that Do Best Indoors
Not all succulents are the same. For succulents to live indoors, choose one that thrives in a low-light condition, such as:
- Zebra plants
- Snake plants
- Jade plants
- Aloe vera
- Christmas kalanchoe
- String of bananas
Other succulents that do well in low-light conditions are the Christmas cactus, Panda plant, String of pearls, Hens-&-Chicks, Pencil cactus, and Burro’s tail.
What is a Low-Light Condition?
Most people mistake low-light conditions as a no-light condition. But even an indoor plant needs sunlight to survive. Without enough light, even a heavy-duty succulent will die.
Low-light conditions are spots without direct sunlight, like a wall perpendicular to or opposing a windowsill. Bright and filtered light is not low light, just as a closet does not qualify as a low-light condition.
Other low light areas are the areas in the house darkened by shadows from the outside. For example, if there’s a huge tree blocking the sun, casting shadows in your room, that is a low-light area.
How to Care for Succulents Indoors
Growing succulents in your apartment, or anywhere with very little sunlight, is more than possible. You just have to be mindful of a few things.
Place the succulent in the right spot for indirect light
As said earlier, low light doesn’t mean the absolute lack of light. Place your succulents in a spot near windows or on the opposite wall where it will receive indirect but bright light. Ideally, you want your succulent to get about 8-10 hours of bright indirect sunlight throughout the day.
Consider the Directions Your Windows Face
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. This common-known fact is a big help for arranging your succulents indoors.
North-facing windows: This window gets the least amount of sunlight, especially in the winter. It isn’t likely that your succulent will receive the required 8-10 hours of indirect light if your only source of light is coming from a north-facing window.
If you only have a north-facing window and are worried about your plant getting enough sun, move it as close to the window as you can and make sure it isn’t blocked by shades, curtains, or outside trees.
South-facing windows: This window gets strong light intensity. Plus, windows often magnify sunlight. Succulents do well in indirect light coming in through south-facing windows.
Due to the intensity of the light coming through a south-facing window, consider keeping the plants further back in the room.
East-facing windows: An east-facing window is a bit like a north-facing window, except with slightly more sun.
This makes putting succulents close to an east-facing window a safer bet, though it still won’t be as well-lit or nourishing as a south-facing window.
When using an east-facing window as a light source, keep your plants closer to the window.
West-facing windows: Like south-facing windows, west-facing windows are great for providing sunlight.
Putting plants in a room with west-facing windows is a great idea, and you don’t have to have the plants right up against the window.
In fact, if you have them too close, there is a chance of burning your succulents or drying them up.
Use the draught and flood method to avoid overwatering
To promote healthy root growth in you succulent avoid watering it everyday, instead follow the “draught and flood” technique.
First, soak the soil in water fully. Then let it dry completely before watering again. Repeat this process.
This method allows succulents to grow strong, deep roots and helps them to go long periods without water.
Avoid containers that don’t drain
Succulents don’t like to sit in wet soil for very long, so avoid using a glass pot, or any pot that doesn’t have a drainage hole.
Plus, using well-draining soil in a pot that has drainage holes prevents any root rot.
Some people believe you can place a layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot to create drainage, but this isn’t true and it can lead to a malnourished succulent.
To guarantee proper drainage, we recommend using unglazed pots, such as terracotta pots, because they are so porous the water evaporates easily.
Provide breathing space
When your succulents are outside, in full sun, it is okay to keep them crowded with other plants.
But if you are placing them indoors, they need room to breathe. Proper airflow and spacing between the pots is the key to growing healthy and happy succulents.
Know your colors
Green succulents can do better in low light than other colors like grey, purple, and orange.
This is true for most varieties of succulents. So, when you are out shopping for succulents, make sure you pick up the vibrant green one even if you want a purple one.
Use the Right Potting Soil
For the right potting soil for your succulent, you want to recreate their natural environment (a sandy, well-drained piece of land). We recommend a DIY soil mix.
Evenly combine soil and sand in your pot. If you want to test to make sure you’ve got it right, just add water and then grab a chunk of the mixture in your hand and squeeze.
When you open your first, it should fall apart and not stay clumped together. If it falls apart, you are good to go. If it stayed clumped together, try again.
Even those born without a green thumb can have happy and healthy succulents in their home.
Just stick to the guidelines laid out above, such as looking for a pot that promotes evaporation, placing the succulent in an area of your room that gets 8-10 hours of indirect sunlight, and watering your succulent using the “draught and flood” technique.