Succulents are famous for being drought-resistant plants that can go for days without being watered. Many plant enthusiasts are curious to know if they can be grown both outside and inside a home or building. Can these plants thrive in both types of conditions? Read on to get the details.
Are succulents indoor or outdoor plants?
Succulents are both indoor and outdoor plants because they can grow well in both environments. However, some varieties are more adapted to the indoors and some prefer the outdoors. This is usually seen in the vibrance of their colors and their overall health.
Things to know when caring for succulents
Here are some basic things to know when caring for succulents either indoors or outdoors:
Succulents need more water during summer.
Although these plants are popular for being drought-resistant, it does not mean that you can completely neglect them. They require more water during the hot season. If you live in an area with minimal rainfall, water in-ground plants at least once a week. Plants that are in pots or containers should be watered at least three times a week.
During fall and winter, you can water the plants occasionally.
Make sure to reduce the irrigation of plants during the fall and winter seasons for them to be able to withstand the lower temperatures. Overwatering them will result in soggy soil and soft, new growth. The plants tend to become damaged with freezes.
Use reliable sources to learn about the ideal succulents to grow in your area.
If you are unsure what type of varieties will thrive well in your region, gather information from reliable sources. These would be local suppliers like nurseries, botanical gardens, and succulent plant groups. They are certified experts in the field of succulents and they will be more than willing to help you get started with your succulent collection.
Succulents that are best for indoors
These are the succulents that tend to grow best indoors:
1. Burro’s Tail
Burro’s tail or donkey’s tail is also known as Sedum morganianum and has stems that can reach up to three feet long. It is a trailing succulent that is ideally placed in a hanging basket or a container sitting on a plant stand or shelf. It has gray-green leaves that resemble the size and shape of plump rice grains.
The leaves have a pale sheen which, when touched, will show your fingertips. They also fall easily so avoid handling the plant too often. The plant is endemic to Mexico and favors bright light so it can grow well.
2. Christmas Cactus
Also known by its scientific name, Schlumbergera, this plant has no sharp spines. The plant prefers more moisture than its close cousin the cactus, so always water the topsoil in the container if it is dry. It has fleshy, flat, segmented stems that can reach a few feet in length. These stems seem to drape the plant, which have earned it the moniker “crab claw cactus.” Keep this plant near a window where it can have bright light. It usually blooms during the winter season.
3. Hens and Chicks
There are two kinds of succulents that have the same name, although they look quite different: Echeveria elegans and Sempervivum tectorum. Both plants produce chicks, or small and identical plants that are slightly offset from the mother plant (the hen). Echeveria elegans have flat, flowerlike rosettes with rounded edges. The plant grows bell-shaped blooms yearly.
Sempervivum tectorum also has rosettes, but the leaves are flatter and more pointed and have tiny star-shaped flowers. These succulents come in various varieties and shapes. Both plants do well with bright light near a window. Allow them to dry between waterings to avoid root rot.
4. Jade Plant
The jade plant is also called Crassula ovata and has stocky, branched stems with thick and glossy leaves that are oftentimes tinged with red on the edges when exposed to full sun. Some varieties, such as the Gollum, have leaves that look like green monster fingers. If grown indoors, they stay about a foot tall and can become top-heavy, so it is ideal to plant them in terra cotta pots. Keep the soil dry between waterings to keep your jade plant healthy.
5. Aloe Vera
This plant has a cluster of long, slender leaves and a short stem. It eventually produces more clusters called offsets that can fill a whole container. It is known for its miracle sap that treats wounds and sunburn. It also has sharp, teeth-like edges, so always handle the plant with care. It prefers to grow in dry soil and likes to be near a bright light.
6. Panda Plant
The panda plant, or Kalanchoe tomentosa, has fuzzy, gray-green leaves with soft, silvery hairs. It has brown or rust-colored spots and can reach about two feet tall, although it grows very slowly. Water the plant at the base and do not include the leaves so they won’t rot.
7. Snake Plant
Snake plant, or Sansevieria trifasciata, has thick, stiff, pointed leaves that grow straight up. This plant can survive weeks without water or light and eventually multiplies into a thick clump that fills the whole pot. The plant prefers medium to bright light and only needs a little water when the soil is dry.
Succulents that are best for outdoors
These are the succulents that usually grow better outdoors:
This plant is a native of the Canary Islands. It prefers more moisture than other varieties. Darker varieties tolerate the sun more than lighter varieties. It usually grows in the form of rosettes and flowers and looks dainty in container gardens and landscaped areas.
This plant is a favorite plant for landscaping. The leaves can be smooth, toothed, sword-shaped, or in rosettes. The in-ground varieties grow more quickly and produce more flowers compared to those placed in pots or containers.
This plant resembles a palm, but it is a succulent plant. The leaves are usually green, greyish, or blue-green and have small, sharp teeth-like growths along the edges. Its small trunk can become woody and it can grow in the desert, although it also prefers some water now and then.
This plant is a native of Baja, California and the Southwestern United States. It has rosette-shaped flowers with fleshy petals that can be green, grey, purple, red, or a mixed variety. Dudleya is perfect for patios and pergolas, as well as rock gardens. The flowers can be pink, red, yellow, or white, and they attract many birds.
This plant resembles the cactus. Some varieties are globe-shaped, and others are great garden accents. It is also known as spurge. There are around 1,000 species of the euphorbia family. Poinsettia is a famous variety that can be grown into a shrub or tree in areas with mild climates.
Succulents are easy to cultivate and propagate. They can both be planted and kept as indoor or outdoor plants, although there are varieties that prefer to be kept indoors while some prefer the outdoors. Some types of succulents that prefer the indoors include the snake plant and Christmas cactus, while those that like the outdoors include the agave and euphorbia.
Image: istockphoto.com / Jusakas