BEST TYPES OF SUCCULENTS TO GROW INDOORS
Succulents are gaining ever-increasing popularity to grow in indoor conditions due to their unique features and beautification properties. This article is focused to give a basic understanding of succulent plants, care, management, and indoor maintenance.
Best Types of Succulents to Grow Indoors
Euphorbia Milli (Crown of Thorns)
This succulent gets its name due to longer thrones covering the whole stem. It offers year-round blossoms by minimal care but is in the category of underrated beauty. This plant has gained significant popularity in recent years and breeders have developed varieties of this succulent that can produce more blossoms.
Aphelandra Squarrosa (Zebra Plant)
The Zebra plant is pretty and petite and is an important succulent for space-limited conditions. It produces stripped flashy leaves and large-sized golden flowers during the early autumn or late summer seasons. It is a true tropical plant and thus it requires abundant sunlight, moisture, and warmth for survival.
Sedum Spurium (Roseum)
It is shamelessly cute and low-growing succulent and is an ideal plant for indoor growing. The pots containing roseum can be easily placed in the windowsills. It produces pink-colored rose-like blooms in the summer season followed by optimal care and management.
Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana (Flaming Katy)
This succulent is well known for producing good flair. This plant is native to Madagascar and produces blooms ranging between red and vibrant mauve and therefore make it an ideal choice for windowsill adornment and hostess gifts. It can produce blooms multiple times in a year in indoor growing conditions.
Sansevieria Trifasciata (Snake Plants)
Snake plants have fewer requirements for sunlight as compared to other succulents. Snake plants can ideally grow in partial shades but can also tolerate full shade conditions. These plants are slender and tall and are the best option to add architectural elements to small living places. Snake plants do not produce regular blossoms, but it produces blooms after few years that offers tubular size, white color, and good fragrance.
Aloe Vera (Aloe Vera)
Aloe vera is a beginner-friendly, easy-growing, and pleasant succulent. It can easily grow in bright rooms and sunny indoor conditions. However, it is sensitive to freezing and its exposure to below freezing conditions for only one night can cause the death of the plant. This succulent is well known for its sap and soothing properties.
Kalanchoe Tomentosa (Panda Plant)
Panda plant produces blue-green, fuzzy, and thick leaves and adds vibrant organic texture and beauty to the living spaces. This plant grows well in the presence of good sunlight and must be placed on conservatories and windowsills for indoor growing. However, it is a toxic plant for cats and dogs and can cause intense irritation in their throat and mouth causing vomiting sickness, and difficulty in swallowing.
Crassula Ovata (Jade Plant)
This is no fuss and hearty succulent and can grow well in indoor conditions. Often it survives for various generations and can grow to a height of about 3 feet. It is highly sensitive to overwatering so the excessive application of water must be avoided. Moreover, it adds significant beauty to the indoor places by producing Emerald green and glossy leaves.
Sempervivum Tectorum (Hens and Chicks)
Indoor growing of this succulent is getting trendy due to low requirements for maintenance and care. It is especially an ideal choice for those who just love to plant and then forget their gardens and growing plants. The mother rosette has a connection with the chicks with a delicate small rooting system that can easily penetrate the smaller cracks.
Sedum Morganianum (Burro’s Tail)
This succulent has trailing tendrils and can grow to a height of three feet. It is an ideal choice for the growers who love to have hanging plants and vegetation. It can also add a good greenery spill to the shelves. It is native to the Mexican conditions and requires bright light for survival. However, its direct placement in the intense sunlight can cause the burning of foliage. Usually, it rarely produces blooms but sometimes it produces red or pink colored blooms in the late summer.
Christmas Cactus (Crab Claw Cactus)
This succulent has segmented, fleshy, and flat stems. It grows well in moist conditions, so it needs frequent watering. It does not produce sharp spines and its segments have spiky nature than the scalloped. It produces pink-colored flowers followed by the right care and management.
What are succulents?
Succulents are specific groups of plants having good capabilities to store water and to grow and survive under water-deficient conditions. There are different types and kinds of succulents and all of these plants do not have the same properties and growing behavior. These plants grow best in dry climatic conditions and their growth is ceased in the presence of higher humidity in the environment.
Most of the succulents have broader or deeper root systems because these plants are native to the semiarid regions and deserts. Generally, all succulents have one common adaptation that is the opening timings of stomata on their leaves. Stomata are small pores or mouthlike structures found on the surface of leaves and stems. These stomatal openings help to absorb carbon from the environment and allow the escape of oxygen and water to the surroundings. Stomata of other plants are open during day times and are closed at night. While the stomata of succulent plants open at night and are closed during day times. Therefore, succulents offer a modified form of photosynthesis and carbon fixation.
Usually, succulents have modified leaves and are well known for having specific sap. Water is the primary constituent of this sap and has significant importance for skincare. Succulents can be easily propagated from fallen leaves and using parts of growing plants.
Succulent’s term is used for a wide range of species and genus of the plants and has different shapes, colors, and textures. Usually, these plants have thicker fleshy tissues, and some plants can store water in the stems while a majority of succulents store water in the leaves. The succulents storing water in the stems do not have proper leaves or have smaller leaves that cannot favor the water storage.
How often do you need to water succulents?
Although watering requirements of succulents are significantly low as compared to the other plants. Still, they need watering in lower amounts and proper watering can significantly boost their growth, development, and flowering. Succulents can tolerate extended drought periods in natural conditions by depending on the stored nutrients and water in their leaves. However, watering needs should be monitored regularly in indoor conditions to reduce any drastic effects of drought on growing plants.
The roots of succulents are greatly sensitive to wetting and high moisture retention in the growing media. Therefore, the selection of the right grow media, and pots are essentially important to ensure good drainage. The pots should be provided with 1-2 holes to allow drainage of excessive water. Moreover, the use of clayey soil should be avoided as clay has a high water holding capacity and may cause root rotting and the development of certain diseases on growing succulents.
Reduced watering may also cause color changes in the succulents and their leaves may appear dull green in the color. Generally, succulents have a full blushing range in different colors such as red, black, purple, orange, and pink. So, their blushing nature and attractive colors can be maintained by keeping a good eye on the soil moisture levels and plant needs for watering.
Most of the succulents grow well in warmer temperatures and their growth and development are negatively affected by the freezing. So, growers should never apply cold water to the plants as it can affect their metabolism and biochemical reactions. Their direct placement in the cold and freezing conditions should also be avoided as it can lead to mushy leaves and plant death. Some succulent species can tolerate below-freezing conditions, but their growth and development are significantly more in the warmer growing conditions.
How much sun do succulents need?
Succulents need good sunlight to grow well and these plants must be placed at sunny spots to allow their exposure to sunlight for at least six hours a day. However, their direct placement in the extremely hot, and scorching heat should be avoided. Improper exposure to sunlight can make growing succulents, discolored, distorted, and weak.
Exposure of indoor succulents to the sunlight may be a significant challenge if growers have space-limited conditions or are living in areas where sunlight is not enough due to prevailing climatic conditions. Growers can use light-emitting diodes and artificial lighting systems to provide heat and specific radiations to the growing succulents.
Different types of grow lights or artificial lights are available in the market and are specifically made according to the lighting requirements of different indoor plants. These lights work best as supplemental lighting systems as these are designed to provide color spectrum according to plant needs.
Growers must select grow lights with the desirable color spectrum, wattage, and lighting intensity to get maximum benefits for improving the growth and development of succulents. However, the direct contact between grow lights and plant foliage should be avoided as it can cause the burning of foliage and reduced growth.
How to Care for Succulents
Although succulents need minimum care and management, the provision of optimal growing conditions can greatly improve the growth and production by multiple times. Followings are some important measures to care for succulents.
Succulents are sun-loving plants and must be placed at such a spot where they can receive sunlight for six hours a day. Newly planted and young succulents are more prone to sunburning so they should be gradually exposed to full sun conditions. Alternatively, these plants can be placed in partial shade conditions as direct exposure to scorching heat may cause stunted growth and death.
Although succulents require direct interaction with the sunlight but keeping the plants on the same spot for many days may cause uneven distribution and absorption of sunlight by the plants. Moreover, succulents can lean towards the sun and therefore rotation is essentially important to keep growing plants straight.
Succulents have fewer requirements for watering and the watering needs of growing plants are greatly dependent on the prevailing conditions and properties of growing media. Usually, succulents need more energy and water during their growth stages. While the watering requirements are also high during the summer and spring seasons, but minimum water is required during winter and fall conditions.
The moisture levels in the soil can also be tested by inserting a finger in the soil or grow media. Growers must water the growing plants when the upper 2.5 inches of the soil are dry. Both overwatering and underwatering can kill the plants therefore watering intervals and frequency should be carefully decided.
Water should be applied to such a level that it starts coming out of the drainage/seepage holes. Water spraying on the succulent foliage is not recommended as wetting can lead to the development of diseases. These pots can be placed in the waterpots so that water can be reabsorbed to the grow media.
Maintain Clean Conditions
Succulents must be grown in neat and clean growing conditions as the presence of contaminants and pollutants can negatively affect their growth. Gently wiping off the spines and leaves with slightly damp clothes is a good approach to remove dust and other particles.
Select Right Soil or Grow Media
Succulents grow well in well-drained, pollutant-free, and healthy soil so growers must select good quality soil after proper soil testing. The addition of the appropriate amount of organic matter, compost, and peat is also important to maintain the physical, chemical, and biological health of the soil.
Insect Pest Control and Disease Management
Usually, insect pest attack is not a big problem for growing succulents, but these plants may be prone to bugs. However, overfertilization, overirrigation, and environmental contamination may favor the outbreaks of diseases and pests. The probability of diseases and insect pest attacks can be greatly reduced by regular monitoring and measuring the threshold levels of insect pests.
Growing succulents does not require a high number of fertilizer applications but slight feeding in the summer and spring season with organic fertilizers is a recommended approach. The use of inorganic fertilizers is not a good approach as synthetic fertilizers are designed to release nutrients immediately and any over-application can exert drastic effects on succulents. Severe toxicity and overdosage may also cause plant death.