Updated/Fact-Chacked on February 25, 2022 by John
Succulents are popular plants that can be grown easily indoors with minimal fuss. They thrive in warm, dry climates and most can sit happily in a sunny spot for years. Succulents also do well in open terrariums, as the glass container provides the plants with additional warmth.
There are hundreds of varieties of succulent plants, some can even survive outdoors in extreme conditions. In this post, we are going to concentrate on indoor succulents. We have divided them into these popular genera: Aloe, Aeonium, Crassula, Echeveria, Gasteria and Haworthia. There are more succulent genera, but these six can be easily purchased in the UK.
Aloes are succulent plants that can be found in South Africa, Madagascar and Arabia. They have fleshy leaves with medicinal properties, producing a gel-like substance high in vitamin c, which is beneficial for burns or skin conditions.
Aloe vera juice can also be drunk and is reported to have many health benefits including liver detoxification and helping constipation. Aloe vera is the most commonly used variety of aloe plants that you can find in most garden centres.
Aloes grow in a range of climates and will do well indoors. They prefer bright light but can also survive in partial sun conditions if you want to place on a north-facing window sill. Aloe plants need nutrient-rich and fast-draining soil, so use a cactus mix or add sand to your potting soil.
Types of Aloe Succulents
There are so many types of aloe plants to choose from, so here are the top 5 to get you started:
Aloe vera is a popular aloe plant that you can use to treat minor wounds, sunburns and other skin conditions. It grows best in bright light but can be kept in medium light conditions. Aloe vera is the most commonly used aloe plant all around the world. It has a lot of medicinal benefits and is easy to grow.
Aloe arborescens is a beautiful plant with long thin leaves, and it grows to a height of around three feet. It is also known as the candelabra aloe plant because of its branched form; the common name is ‘Torch aloe’. Aloe Arborescens has a long history of use as a herbal remedy, and it is widely popular around the world today.
This makes a stunning house plant as it can grow to a height of 4 metres and flowers in May-June. The flowers are a deep red colour and look very similar to kniphofia, which we covered in our autumn flowering plants article.
This variety of aloe plants (found in South Africa) will grow large rosettes with short, stiff leaves that are serrated along the edges. It has a shorter stem than aloe vera and grows red or orange flowers. Aloe ferox has a long history of use as a herbal remedy for skin conditions.
This compact variety of aloe plants is ideal for those with limited space in their home or garden because it spreads horizontally as well as vertically. Aloe Cadabra is a beautiful plant with long thin leaves, and it has been used medicinally for centuries in South Africa, where it grows naturally.
This variety of aloe plants (found in Madagascar) will grow large rosettes with short, stiff leaves that are serrated along the edges. It is a more temporary plant than aloe vera and grows red or orange flowers. Aloe Plush has been used as a herbal remedy for centuries to treat cuts, burns and skin rashes.
Cone-shaped Aeonium plants with rosettes of fleshy leaves form beautiful colours throughout the year. This succulent variety is drought-resistant and easy to grow indoors, requiring little sunlight but does well in bright light.
Aeonium plants are native to the Canary Islands, Morocco and Madeira, where they can survive hot, dry climates with little water for months at a time. They require some care when growing indoors because the humidity tolerance tends to be lower than most aloe plants.
Aeonium plants prefer sandy soil with good drainage and they need to dry out between watering. You can feed aeoniums once in a while during their growing season, but it is not necessary if you’re keeping them in bright sunlight most of the time.
Types of Aeonium Succulents
There are so many types of Aeonium plants to choose from, here are just a few:
Dark-coloured rosettes with short leaves form into white flowers in the spring. This variety will grow up to three feet tall and two feet wide when planted outdoors. It needs plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil.
This variety of Aeonium plants (found in the Canary Islands, Morocco and Madeira) has rosettes with short leaves that form beautiful colours throughout the year. It is drought-resistant and easy to grow indoors, requiring little sunlight but does well in bright light.
One of the most popular types of Aeonium plant (found in the Canary Islands) has rosettes with lovely coral-coloured leaves. Once maturity has been reached (2-3 years), this succulent can flower with a red spike and many smaller flowers. These succulents are quite rare, so you will need to find a dedicated succulent website that grows them
Aeonium undulatum is a succulent shrub with wavy, somewhat metallic-green leaves arranged in large rosettes on stout stems. It grows over 3 feet (1 m) tall and is more significant than most species of Aounum that can grow up to 10 inches long when they’re fully expanded during the daytime.
The Aeonium simsii is a succulent plant that branches prolifically to form the dense cushion of ground-hugging heads. It has relatively small rosettes, which can grow up 4 inches (10 cm) tall and resemble those found on Sempervivums as opposed to many other species where they generally have more elevated forms with leggier habits more often seen in plants such as this one.
This succulent variety has fleshy leaves that are green, yellow or red in colour. They can grow into a cluster of short stems with small flowers, and it spreads quickly to form large clumps.
Crassula plants are native to South Africa, where they live among rocks on hillsides. It is not necessary for them to have direct sunlight during the winter but should be kept in bright light during other seasons.
Crassula succulent plants are easy to grow indoors, especially if you fertilize them once in a while during their growing season. They make wonderful house plants because they can thrive on neglect, and it is not necessary for the soil to dry out completely between waterings.
Types of Crassula Succulents
Here are a few types of crassula to choose from if you decide to grow them in the home or office.
One of the most popular succulent houseplants with thick stems and fat, glossy leaves that often look like they’re covered with wax. The plant is slow-growing and can reach a height of 12 inches (30 cm) but is more commonly seen in its dwarf form.
Crassula Ovata Alba
This variety is a stronger grower, with yellow variegated leaves surrounded by pink edges. The plant requires bright light and well-drained soil to thrive indoors. Crassula ovata alba forms a large, shrubby mound that can be as much as three feet (one meter) in diameter.
Crassula Mini Kitty
This succulent variety of Crassula (which is known as the friendship tree) has pale green leaves that are edged with pink. The plant can grow up to 18 inches tall and produces small white flowers in the spring, which turn into red berries during summer if pollinated.
The crassula dubia has small, pointed leaves that are brilliant green in colour. This succulent variety is an easy houseplant to grow and can add accents of greenery to your home or office all year round. Its soft branches and interesting foliage also make it a popular choice for bonsai.
This succulent variety has a very unique form and appearance with its thick, fat leaves that can grow up to five inches (12 cm) long. The crassula congesta is drought tolerant and an easy plant species for indoor growth requiring bright light but not direct sunlight.
One of the most popular types of succulent plants to grow indoors, echeverias come in a variety of shapes and colours. They can be used as houseplants on their own or as an addition to dish gardens, where they’re often combined with other drought-resistant varieties such as sedum and sempervivum.
Echeveria succulent plants are native to Mexico and the American Southwest, where they live among rocks near dry streams. The echeverias can be found growing in U-shaped clumps with fleshy greyish leaves that lie close against the soil surface. These interesting varieties of Echeveria produce rosettes ranging from three to six inches (seven to 15 cm) in diameter.
The flower stalks may rise above the foliage, producing pink to red blooms from spring through autumn. They require bright light and a well-drained soil mix for succulent plants to thrive inside your home or office.
Types of Echeveria succulents
Echeverias are grouped into many varieties based on their size, shape and leaf colour. If you decide that echeverias are the perfect succulent plant for your home or office, here are a few varieties to choose from.
Echeveria Black Prince
This variety of Echeveria (known as “Mexican Hens & Chicks”) has dark green leaves variegated with grey or silver markings. The plant can grow up to 16 inches tall and produces pink blooms in the spring if pollinated.
This variety of Echeveria has bright pink leaves with a silvery sheen. The plant’s fleshy green rosettes can grow up to six inches in diameter, and it requires bright light but not direct sunlight for succulent plants to thrive inside your home.
Echeveria Princess Blue
Echeveria ‘Princess Blue’ is a charming, perennial succulent that forms rosettes of deep blue-green leaves with flushed tips in both pink and purple. The flowers appear on tall stems from summertime through fall months (up to 10 inches tall).
The Echeveria nodulosa is a beautiful succulent with rosettes of green leaves that are marked in shades from purple to apple-green. The stems can grow up 8 inches (20cm) long and bear unbranched red inflorescences throughout summer, usually only half an inch tall at most.
Echeveria minima plants are perfect either alone in containers or as part of a group of showy succulents. These small, easy-to-grow plants make great houseplants for people who are looking for low maintenance succulents.
This genus of succulent plants is native to the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa.
Gasteria is a relatively slow-growing, clump-forming herb that can grow up to 18 inches tall and wide when fully mature with leaves that curve inward towards their centres. They require bright light but not direct sunlight for succulent plants to thrive inside your home.
Gasteria is known for its showy, spherical clusters of thick leaves that bear dark or light green markings. Gasterias come in a wide range of sizes and foliage colours (which vary depending on the species).
Types of Gasteria Succulents
There are many different types of gasteria plants to choose from. Some popular varieties of Gasteria include:
Gasteria disticha is a small succulent, up to 9 inches (22.5 cm) tall, with strap-shaped leaves in 2 opposite rows. The green and white spotted leaves are usually arranged irregularly across the plant’s surface but can also appear as wavy margins on occasion due to its carefree nature of growing anywhere available; they’re often 6 – 8 inches long or more depending upon variety.
Gasteria gracilis is a small, succulent plant with slightly bulbous leaves that grow up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. The fleshy texture makes it easy for the tongue-shaped petals to be smooth and shiny green or speckled light greyish greens on top.
However, they can also have vivid colour variations, including dull reds at midwinter through springs when flowers emerge from these plants’ stems, among other colours too.
Gasteria Aramatsu is a highly decorative succulent that produces chunky leaves and dark-green colours with grey markings. While it can vary in appearance as the plant grows, Gasteria still maintains its unique style due to numerous offsetting abilities, which must be removed while young for best results.
Gasteria pillansii is a stemless succulent with strap-shaped leaves in two opposite rows, and it’s very variable. The rosettes can grow up to 8 inches tall, but they’re usually around 16 inches wide at their widest point – which means that this plant won’t take up much space on your desk. In addition, these succulents have flowers measuring 1/3 of their length (about 4 or 5 mm) from the base towards the tip; those blooms are light green, surrounded by dark brown stripes when viewed head-on.
Gasteria rawlinsonii is one of the most unusual species in Gasterias, including velvet-leaf succulents such as Echeveria pulvinata. It has erect stems with drooping branches up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall.
Its leaves are fleshy and accordion-like before they start growing upward like sheets on an inflorescence composed entirely of pink flowers arranged at different distances from each other – 0.8 inches apart or 2 cm for some individuals.
Haworthias are best grown in dry regions and can be easily propagated. The window sill is a good place to keep them, but they need some bright light. They’re also not too sensitive about the soil or water conditions either.
Haworthia are small succulents with rosettes of leaves arranged in a spiral at their growing tips. These make them look like miniature aloes, and they come in various shapes, sizes and colours.
Types of Haworthias Succulents
There is an array of species within this genus, and it can be difficult to tell the difference. Some popular species of Haworthia include:
Haworthia cooperi is a succulent with tiny rosettes at the bottom of its stems. It grows slowly, forming clumps of stemless or short-stemmed rosettes up to 3 inches (8 cm) across.
The leaves grow out from these, and they can be either light green with darker lines running through them for added beauty, dark green on top but lighter underneath, so you see this wonderful transparency when viewing it close-up.
This plant always has some form of pellucid teeth along their margins, too, which give off an airy feel while looking at them because we’re used to seeing such clean edges all around.
The Haworthia zantneriana are stemless succulents with rosettes of light green to brownish-green leaves. The plant has white longitudinal markings and margins with faint keels.
Leaves can grow up to 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter. At the same time, offset freely forming dense clumps of plants which only get smaller at their base where it narrows slightly before widening out into a sharply pointed tip that is typically 4 – 6 mm wide though sometimes more like 8mm+.
Haworthia Nortieri is a small plant. It forms stemless rosettes of green leaves with translucent spots and short spines on its keel. Its variable species has many local varieties in appearance.
Some resemble an upside-down bowl, while others can take on almost any shape at all! The leaves grow up to 2-6 inches (5-15 cm) long depending upon variety/form but are either erect when young or more often ascending older plants with age.
Haworthia aristata is a small plant that grows in your home garden. They are dark green or bluish-green with very little translucence, and their leaves are entire or spined.
The leaves can grow up to 3 inches across, making them perfect for a home garden! They also have the ability to have many large flowers on simple short stems during winter months, just like December through March.
Haworthia variegata is a small plant. It has no stem, and it looks like it has leaves. They are dark green with spines on the edge or keel. The plant can grow up to 2 3/4″ (7 cm) in diameter, producing offsets from its base as well as forming clumps.
When mature enough, leaves are erect or spreading depending on the individual variety but always lance-shaped and measure about 1 inch (~2 centimetres) long by 0.3 inches (~0.7 centimetres wide).
John Green is a 46-year-old graphic designer living in Durham. John is RHS level 3 certified and owns an allotment in Durham.