25 Types of Succulents That Make Great Houseplants

Whether you need to fill a low-lit corner or a sunny sill, there’s a stunning—and perhaps, quirky—succulent that’s perfect for your space.

types of succulents

Photo: istockphoto.com

A succulent is a type of plant that stores water in its leaves or stem. Succulents come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and leaf patterns, and some even bloom with beautiful flowers. Since succulents are adapted to survive in dry climates with little water or soil moisture, they are excellent houseplant choices; they even require less frequent watering than other plants.

With so many different types of succulents out there, however, it can be difficult to establish which ones will thrive in your home. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular succulent types that grow well indoors—you’re sure to find the one that’s perfect for your pad!

1. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller)

aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller) miller plant on window sill

Photo: istockphoto.com

Aloe vera is one of the best-known types of succulent plants due to its long history of use in folk medicine. The gel found in aloe vera’s plump, serrated leaves is a popular ingredient in moisturizers, shaving creams, and other cosmetics because of its soothing qualities and purported ability to heal minor wounds and burns.

Caring for an aloe plant is easy, as long as you’re not prone to overwatering your houseplants. Because it is native to arid climates, aloe is quite drought-resistant, so it will survive even if you neglect it for a while. In fact, it only needs to be watered twice a month in the summer and once a month or less in the winter when it’s dormant.

Best For: Harvesting soothing gel to treat minor burns and sunburns.

2. Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata) on window sill

Photo: istockphoto.com

Did you know that snake plants are actually succulents? Because of their long, upright leaves, they definitely look different from many of the other popular succulents out there, but their care requirements are quite similar. Their leaves are meant to hold water, making them drought-resistant, and the biggest mistake you can make with a snake plant is watering it too frequently.

If your snake plant’s leaves start to turn yellow or become limp, it’s a sign you’re watering it too much. Succulents generally thrive in direct or indirect sunlight and snake plants are no different, but one of their primary advantages is that they also can survive in shady areas that receive little natural light. This makes them perfect for offices or the corners of your home where other plants often go to die.

Best For: Low-light corners of your home.

3. African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona)

african milk tree (Euphorbia trigona) in a pot

Photo: istockphoto.com

It’s a misconception that succulents can’t have traditional leaves, and the African milk tree is one example that disproves it. The plant grows quickly and propagates easily outdoors in its native climate in Central Africa, but it also can be an excellent houseplant. In fact, it can grow as high as 4 feet tall indoors, setting it apart from many other low-growing succulents.

In appearance, the African milk tree looks more like a cactus than anything else, but its small sprouting leaves set it apart. In the U.S., it can survive outside in the warm climates of Zones 9b through 11, where it will produce pretty white flowers in the summer.

Best For: Xeriscaping outdoors in warm climates or as a unique, decorative houseplant in colder areas.

4. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

jade plant (Crassula ovata) in a pot

Photo: istockphoto.com

Jade plants are popular as ornamentals because their thick, dark green leaves make them look like tiny trees. They’re considered to bring good luck in many cultures and are often passed down through families because they live so long. Indoors, they can grow to up to 3 feet high after several years.

While many plants prefer indirect sunlight, jade plants need at least 4 hours of direct sun every day, so they’ll do best on a bright windowsill or in another area that gets plenty of sun. Try a south-facing window for the ideal light conditions. Be careful when watering your jade plant, because they’re prone to root rot. It’s best to only water them when the soil is dry to the touch.

Best For: Placing in sunny south-facing windows.

5. Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)

burro;s tail in a hanging basket (Sedum morganianum)

Photo: istockphoto.com

Sedum morganianum, also known as burro’s tail or donkey’s tail, is a gorgeous succulent that’s popular as a hanging plant because of its striking tendrils. It’s native to the south of Mexico
At nurseries, burro’s tail typically sells as a small plant, and it takes lots of TLC to help it grow to maturity. It needs access to bright, direct light, and must be planted in well-draining soil to prevent root rot.

The tiny succulents lining the plant’s tendrils are incredibly delicate and can fall off if anything comes into contact with them. Because of this, it’s best to keep them on a high shelf or in a hanging basket in a safe location. This fragility also means you should handle the plant as infrequently as possible.

Best For: Experienced succulent owners who are up for a challenge.

6. Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)

panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) in a pink pot

Photo: istockphoto.com

The Panda plant, scientifically named Kalanchoe tomentosa, has a distinctive look with fuzzy, red- or brown-rimmed leaves. It’s also nicknamed the pussy ears plant because its triangular leaves look like a cat’s ears. Panda plants are quite small, with a maximum height of 1.5 feet, and are native to Madagascar, where they flower when grown outdoors.

These plants require a lot of sunlight and do best in warm environments between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite their feline appearance, however, panda plants are actually toxic if consumed by household pets like cats and dogs. Like most succulents, panda plants don’t need to be repotted often; every 2 years should suffice.

Best For: Pet-free households because they’re toxic to cats and dogs.

7. Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

flaming katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) plants

Photo: istockphoto.com

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, better known as flaming Katy, is a succulent that will produce colorful flowers even when grown indoors. One of the plant’s most unique features is that it blooms in the winter, which earns it the nickname of Christmas kalanchoe.

Appreciate the flowering season while you can, because it only lasts a few weeks. To encourage more blooms, deadhead the ones that have died off. This is a delicate plant that must be handled with care because its leaves are brittle and prone to snapping. After 2 to 5 years, expect your flaming Katy to reach heights of about 1.5 feet.

Best For: Bright cold-weather blooms.

8. Pincushion Cactus (Mammillaria)

(Mammillaria) pincushion cactus bird's eye view

Photo: istockphoto.com

The pincushion cactus is native to Mexico as well as parts of Central America and the southern United States. This genus has more than 200 subspecies, and is among the most common succulents in the Cactaceae family. While some of the popular varieties are round, they can also have conical or cylindrical shapes.

Though they usually remain quite small, pincushion cacti can ultimately grow to over a foot in height. The succulents produce flowers in a rainbow of colors, which eventually develop into fruit that looks like a red berry. It’s easy to care for, making it great for cactus and succulent novices.

Best For: Beginners who want an easy-care cactus that produces colorful flowers.

9. Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)

zebra plant closeup photo

Photo: istockphoto.com

Aphelandra squarrosa, or zebra plant, produces bright yellow flowers at the end of its growing season in the fall and has striped green leaves year-round. Indoors, these are slow-growing succulents, reaching a maximum height of 2 feet after 3 years or so. While they are pretty, they’re also quite finicky.

Zebra plants need bright light, but it must be filtered to prevent the leaves from burning. Too little light, however, and the plant won’t bloom. Unlike most other succulents, zebra plants require moist soil, so they should be watered frequently. Be careful not to overwater them, though, or they’ll wilt. They also thrive in a humid environment, with humidity of 60 to 70 percent.

Best For: Experienced gardeners who are willing to put up with the zebra plant’s temperamental nature.

10. String of Pearls (Curio rowleyanus)

string of pearls (Curio rowleyanus) plant in a pot

Photo: istockphoto.com

Curio rowleyanus, better known as string of pearls, is a succulent that’s actually part of the daisy family. It’s gratifying for home gardeners because it grows so quickly and is easy to propagate. It has quite particular light requirements, preferring bright light in the morning and shade in the afternoon. In nature, this succulent prevents exposure to direct sunlight by growing under other plants.

String of pearls plants prefer low humidity but can tolerate higher humidity than some succulents. Choosing the right pot size, however, is a key consideration; the plant doesn’t like to rest in damp soil.

Best For: Green thumbs looking for a quirky, cascading houseplant.

11. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) in a white pot

Photo: istockphoto.com

The ponytail palm, or Beaucarnea recurvata, gets its name because its long, curled leaves look like strands of hair. Despite its name and appearance, it’s actually not a palm at all, but rather a member of the agave family. Its thick trunk makes it look like a miniature tree, creating a unique appearance.

One of the ponytail palm’s most appealing qualities is that it’s extremely forgiving, and will bounce back even if it’s neglected, so it is a good choice for beginner home gardeners or black thumbs. Its primary requirement is bright light in the summer, so it’s best to bring it outdoors if you can. Bring it back inside before winter, however, where the plant can tolerate low-light conditions.

Best For: Black thumbs looking for a succulent that’s sure to survive.

12. Christmas Cactus  (Schlumbergera bridgessii)

christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii)

Photo: istockphoto.com

The Christmas cactus is so named because it blooms in the winter with vibrant flowers. Interestingly, it’s also related to the Thanksgiving cactus (S. truncata) and confused with the Easter cactus (Hatiora gaertneri), similar looking plants named for the time of year they typically bloom.

Christmas cactus is popular for gifting around the holiday season, and you can easily propagate it by cutting a piece from the tip of a stem. It’s easy to care for without any complex maintenance requirements but will produce more flowers if exposed to bright light in the daytime but at least 12 hours of darkness at night. With the right conditions, it might even produce flowers throughout the year.

Best For: Gifting as a holiday present.

13. Bunny Ear Cactus (Opuntia microdasys)

bunny ear cactus (Opuntia microdasys) in a pot

Photo: istockphoto.com

Opuntia microdasys, better known as bunny ear cactus, often grows with two matching, ear-shaped pads, which is where it gets its nickname. It grows naturally in Mexico, where it can reach up to 2 feet high. Due to its native habitat, this succulent needs a lot of direct sunlight—about 14 hours a day—which can be tricky in many indoor spaces.

Keep your bunny ears happy and thriving by supplementing natural light with white fluorescent light. As with all cacti, it’s important to exercise caution when handling or repotting it because of the spiky bristles that cover its pads.

Best For: Cactus lovers with access to plenty of direct sunlight.

14. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

zz plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) in a pot by a patio door

Photo: istockphoto.com

Native to East Africa, ZZ plants are some of the hardiest houseplants around. They require minimal care and can survive in low-light conditions, so they are a perfect choice for anyone who loves houseplants but doesn’t have a green thumb. ZZ plants are low maintenance and can live for years with minimal attention.

Since they don’t have stringent light requirements, ZZ plants can grow in nearly any area of the home. They are also known for their air-purifying properties, and their resistance to pests and disease; the only potential problem with ZZ is root rot from overwatering.

15. Elephant Plant (Portulacaria afra)

multiple elephant plants (Portulacaria afra) in a row

Photo: istockphoto.com

The elephant plant, or Portulacaria afra, is a species of succulent shrub that is native to South Africa and is a popular snack for the region’s elephants. It’s also popular among gardeners due to its low maintenance requirements and attractive foliage. The leaves are small, fleshy, and often tinged with shades of red and purple. They are shaped like the leaves of a jade plant but are much smaller.

The elephant plant will grow in a variety of conditions, from full sun to partial shade, and can reach heights of at least 15 feet in its native environment. It requires minimal water and maintenance, making it a great choice for beginner and experienced gardeners alike.

Best For: A houseplant that doubles as a conversation starter.

16. Mother of Thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana)

mother of thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) plant

Photo: istockphoto.com

Also known as Devil’s Backbone, Mother of Thousands is a unique plant species. This succulent is native to Madagascar, and its attractive foliage makes it a popular houseplant. Kalanchoe daigremontiana easily recognizable by its distinctive leaves that are covered in tiny plantlets. Because the plantlets are easy to propagate, this succulent is a great choice for anyone interested in growing multiples of the same plant.

Although it is relatively easy to care for, this kalanchoe should be placed in a bright and sunny spot in order to thrive. This type of succulent is toxic to cats and dogs, so it is not a good choice for pet owners.

Best For: Green thumbs who are interested in propagating their own plants.

17. Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii)

moon cactus (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) closeup of multiple plants

Photo: istockphoto.com

This spiny, globe-shaped cactus that’s native to South America is easily recognizable due to its bright colors and distinct shape. Though the Moon Cactus is small and doesn’t usually live more than a couple of years, it packs a punch with its stunning colors. These succulents prefer to be watered thoroughly, then allowed to dry out completely before being watered again.

Since Moon Cactus is a desert plant, it thrives in drier environments, and doesn’t do well in humid ones. With its vibrant colors, easy care requirements, and interesting shape, the Moon Cactus is an excellent choice for anyone looking to add a bit of color and character to their home.

Best For: People looking to add a pop of color to their homes.

18. Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense)

ghost plant closeup view (Graptopetalum paraguayense)

Photo: istockphoto.com

Ghost Plants, also known as Graptopetalum paraguayense, are unique and beautiful succulents native to Mexico. They can be found in rocky outcrops or crevices, on hillsides and mountainsides, or even in dry riverbeds. These low-maintenance plants have striking rosette-shaped leaves that come in shades of pink, purple, gray-green, and bluish-green. The arrangement of the foliage creates an almost ghostly effect, hence their name.

This drought-tolerant plant is perfect for those who don’t have much experience with gardening—or much time for maintenance. Ghost plants are also quite hardy when it comes to temperature changes; they can tolerate temperatures ranging from 20 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit without any issues.

Best For: Climates with fluctuating temperatures.

19. String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii)

Ceropegia woodii) string of hearts potted on small table in living room

Photo: istockphoto.com

Ceropegia woodii, better known as string-of-hearts plants, are beautiful trailing succulents with heart-shaped leaves. Native to South Africa, these perennials love bright, indirect light and thrive in slightly humid environments. They’re easy to propagate from stem cuttings and look gorgeous in hanging baskets or wall planters. They prefer temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and can be sensitive to extreme fluctuations in either direction.

To keep your string of hearts plant healthy, make sure to provide plenty of air circulation around the plant and avoid direct sunlight that could scorch its delicate foliage. To ensure adequate moisture for the roots, use a well-draining potting soil mix with adequate water-retaining capacity.

Best For: Those looking for a pretty, trailing succulent.

20. Calico Kitten (Crassula pellucida ‘Variegata’)

(Crassula pellucida 'Variegata') calico kitten succulent

Photo: istockphoto.com

Calico Kitten plants, also known by the scientific name Crassula pellucida ‘Variegata’, are among evergreen succulents that are native to South Africa. This is a popular houseplant, prized for its unique variegated foliage and trailing habit. The leaves of the Calico Kitten plant are small, ovate-shaped, and arranged in pairs along the stem. The succulent usually has a combination of purple and green leaves, creating a striking contrast that gives it its distinctive name.

The stems of this succulent can become quite long, a feature that leads to their popularity as plants for hanging baskets. When grown as a houseplant, these succulents need bright light but should not sit in direct sunlight; this will cause burning and fading of the colors.

Best For: A colorful cascading effect in a hanging basket or wall planter.

21. Bear’s Paw (Cotyledon tomentosa)

(Cotyledon tomentosa) bears paw

Photo: istockphoto.com

The Bear’s Paw succulent, also known by its scientific name Cotyledon tomentosa, is a species of perennial shrub native to South Africa. It is an evergreen shrub with thick fleshy leaves that grow in pairs along the stem. The leaves are roughly triangular in shape and range in color from silver blue to light green with furry texture and pointed tips that make them look like little claws.

With their unique shape and texture, these succulents make a bold statement when planted in any garden or home setting. They need lots of indirect light every day, so be sure to place them in a sunny spot.

Best For: A truly unique-looking succulent to feature in a bright home or office.

22. Agave Blue Glow (Agave attenuata x ocahui)

(Agave attenuata x ocahui) agave blue glow closeup view

Photo: istockphoto.com

The Agave Blue Glow is a stunning succulent with striking blue foliage that adds a touch of vibrancy and life to any garden or living space. Known for its ease of care, this plant can add beautiful color and texture to your home. Its thick, leathery leaves are arranged in an attractive rosette form, and its deep blue hue adds unique visual interest.

In addition to its eye-catching looks, the Agave Blue Glow has several interesting characteristics. For starters, it’s drought-tolerant and requires infrequent watering, a nice feature for anyone who wants an easy-to-maintain houseplant. The plants also are deer-resistant, so they can sit outside in their pots in summer in gardens often decimated by the local deer population (or remain outside in USDA Zones 9 to 11).

Best For: Outdoor gardening in deer-heavy areas.

23. Irish Rose (Aeonium arboreum)

(Aeonium arboreum) irish rose

Photo: istockphoto.com

The Irish Rose succulent plant (Aeonium arboreum) is one of many species of the Aeonium family. These attractive, perennial succulents are native to the Canary Islands and are much admired for their unique shape and hues. Typically, they have beautiful rosette leaves that come in shades of green, red, purple, or yellow.

When it comes to care and maintenance, this variety of Aeonium is not difficult to look after. They prefer bright light with some direct sun but can tolerate medium light conditions as well, so long as they get adequate moisture. The succulent requires well-draining soil and should be watered only when the soil has dried out completely between waterings and even less in winter. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues from which the plant might not recover.

Best For: Anyone who isn’t prone to overwatering their plants.

24. Ox Tongue (Gasteria spp.)

types of succulents ox tongue

Photo: istockphoto.com

Ox Tongue plants, belonging to the Gasteria genus, are native to southern Africa. They take their name from their thick fleshy leaves, which resemble a cow’s tongue in shape and texture. These succulent plants are popular for indoor spaces due to their low maintenance needs and attractive foliage. Their leaves vary in color from light green to shades of gray or silver with a glossy finish and often are patterned with white spots or streaks.

Ox Tongue plants prefer bright light but need protection from direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day. They can also tolerate some shade, however, this will cause them to grow more slowly and lose their attractive colors and patterns over time. When growing indoors, place them near a sunny window where they will benefit from indirect sunlight throughout the day.

Best For: People with sunny homes.

25. Fairy Castle Cactus (Cereus tetragonus)

types of succulents fairy castle cactus

Photo: istockphoto.com

The Fairy Castle Cactus (Cereus tetragonus or Acanthocereus tetragonus) is a unique species of cactus native to the desert regions of Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia. As the name implies, the knobby branches of this cactus resemble castle towers, which lends it much of its charm and whimsy.

This is a columnar cactus that can grow up to 6 feet tall with arms branching from its base. When mature, the Fairy Castle Cactus produces beautiful pink flowers in the late summer months. The flowers have an aromatic scent that attracts insects, birds, and bats for pollination purposes.

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