Musings

10 Succulents For Low Light Environments

by Barbara-
Donkey tail
Image by flora-file

Succulents are so easy to fall in love with. I always say there is so much succulent variety that there is one to appeal to everyone’s taste. I love succulents and can’t seem to have enough of it. Succulents prefer bright sunlight and this may be a deterrent (at least for me) in acquiring  succulents if you have a low light situation.  As I wrote in a previous post, succulents that do not get enough light tend to stretch out and lose their original shape. Luckily, I have discovered some succulents that do well in low light environments. By low light I mean, north facing windows. That is the position with the lowest amount of sunlight (in the northern hemisphere) especially in winter. Below is a list of succulents I have found to do well in my north facing window.

donkeytail2 Sedum morganiunum

This plant like that in the featured photo above, trails down and looks good in a hanging basket. Because it naturally grows long, it does not look any more stretched out when the light levels are not too bright. It also has a light green colour which means it needs less light than other colourful succulents. This is one of my favourite succulents!

 haworthia new  Haworthia margaritifera

This plant keeps its shape even in low light.  I notice though that it leans towards the window and so I rotate it to keep its shape and growth even. I also have 2 other species of Haworthia and Gasteria. It may be too early to tell, but their shape have not been distorted which makes me think these plants may also be good for low light levels.

 kalanchoe Kalanchoe tomentosa

Another favourite. It has a soft fuzzy feel with dark brown edges which turns brick-red in the summer when there is enough sunlight in my window.  I have seen different varieties of this plant, where some are more compact and bushy.  Its leaves are also very easy to propagate. It has a few pups around it which grow aerial roots. This also makes it easier to propagate the pups.

 fang  Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’

Just like the Kalanchoe above, this one has also maintained its shape. It naturally grows tall. It gets its name fang from the ‘fang’ like projections on the underside of the leaves. I find myself running my fingers on the under side of its big velvety leaves every time I water it. Contrary to its name, the projections are not at all sharp. It’s just too beautiful.

 Thanks giving cactus  Schlumbergera truncata

The famous thanksgiving cactus, also known as claw or crab cactus is usually confused with Schlumbegera buckleyi, the christmas cactus. I wrote about the differences between the two in a previous post and you can read about it here if interested. My thanksgiving cactus (and I would imagine the christmas cactus as well), keeps its shape even in low light. I was even able to get a few blooms this past December. 

 FullSizeRender (34)  Rhipsalis pilocarpa

This epiphytic cactus also does not require bright sunlight to maintain its shape. I assume because it is normally found in jungles, it is used to indirect bright light. It managed only one bloom for me this winter. Although I imagine it would bloom more profusely if it was in a more bright area.

 FullSizeRender (38)  Rhipsalis cereuscula

Just like its sister above, this one has maintained its shape. It grows bushy in all directions and does not seem to need bright light to maintain its shape.

 IMG_3386  Crassula gollum or is it hobbit?

I can never remember which is which. They say the leaves of gollum look like suction cups and that of hobbits are more tubular. It is not clear in this picture but I have both shapes of leaves on this plant. Whichever one this is, it maintains its characteristic leaves in low light. The leaf tips remain green in the winter time but turn red in the summer when I have more sunlight.

 jade  Crassula ovata

Also known as the Jade plant. This plant has also done well for me despite being kept in a north-facing window. It has maintained its shape.  The tips turn red in bright light but stays green in low light. This plant will likely not bloom in low light conditions. Mine hasn’t done so yet.

 crassula perforata  Crassula perforata

Also called baby’s necklace or string of buttons. This plant does not grow too compact so low light does not change its shape too much. As you can tell from the picture it moves and curves towards bright light.

And there you have it. 10 succulents you can have even in not so bright environments. Other succulents that I think will do well are Aloe vera and Senecio rowleyanus. I have two baby Aloe veras but it’s too soon to tell how well they will grow. Senecio rowleyanus aka string of pearls is also a trailing plant and so probably does not need much light to maintain its shape. This plant is on my plant wish list and I’m on the hunt for it. I hope this helps you in your next succulent shopping.

Do any of you have other suggestions of succulents for low light conditions? Please share in the comments section below.

sign off

Barbara

Hi, I’m Barbara and I’m a little obsessed with house plants. I share my house plant adventures in the hopes of inspiring you to continue to enjoy the greens in your home. And if you have no plants (yet!) I hope this blog inspires you to add some green to your home. So go on! Try it! I think you might quite like it. And who knows? You may end up being … obsessed too.

9 Comments

  1. Angel

    Enjoyed reading your comments since I’m obsessed too. I have a variety (20) of regular house plants and 10 moth orchids and one cattleya. My fear is my low light condition which I can’t do anything about. I’m on a fixed income and grow lights might up my electric bill. Have any ideas other than prayer. One last question. I have a Xmas cactus about 15 years old that no longer blooms (that’s OK I still love and keep her.) Anyway, I started a “new” plant from her cutting about 3 years ago and it will not bloom also. Is it “like mother, like child”? I did the moving it from light and dark. Any other ideas for my 3 year old! Please respond through my email – I don’t have a fancy phone. Thanks…

    19 . Jul . 2018
  2. Marcia

    Are any of these plants toxic to cats? Thanks.

    02 . Apr . 2018
  3. Renee

    Thankyou, I just bought my first little “burito” donkey tail. It’s so cute. But, I’m scared of doing something wrong. I have a really green thumb normally, but succulents have gotten me. I’m obsessed with their shapes and beauty. I’ve bought cactus soil and all the things I intensively read about. I only have a ton of aloe plants from a large mega producing aloe plant. But, still transferring them into another object has been 1in 3. I don’t water too much. I have tons of indirect light. Maybe it’s not enough. I want the donkey tail to flourish. Any suggestions?

    08 . Feb . 2016
    • Barbara

      Hi Renee, I’m glad you share in the joy of succulents. Keep it in the brightest spot you have available. Usually the leaves begin to shrivel when they are totally dry and that is when I water, especially in winter. There are very hardy and hard to kill in my opinion u like other succulents. All the best with your succulent growing.

      08 . Feb . 2016
  4. Kirsten

    I have the thanksgiving cactus and the kalanchoe as well in a north east facing window. I get no sun in the winter and maybe 1 hour sunlight in the summer but they are surviving. I may add a few of those mentioned above. Great post!

    06 . Oct . 2015
    • Barbara

      Thanks. I still have these plants although now they enjoy some west sun as I moved. But they did as well in a north facing window so don’t hesitate to get some more

      07 . Oct . 2015
  5. Esi

    This is great! I just got a succulent garden and I’m always fretting about them not having enough light. I leave the light on when I go to bed but they’ve started to shoot out weird sprouts in weird directions making them look not so pretty 🙁

    06 . Feb . 2015
    • Barbara

      Esi, unfortunately that is succulents for you. They love bright light. If you have a window put them there. I don’t know how long they will survive with a regular artificial lighting. If you get a chance to buy more succulents, try the ones in this post instead granted you have atleast a north facing window. The succulents I’ve written about are from my personal experience (as with everything else on here) and would do great in a window like that. Try a donkey tail or thanksgiving cactus. How about Rhipsalis? You have a few to choose from. Enjoy!

      06 . Feb . 2015

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