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How to Identify and Care for Popular Indoor Succulents

Renee Valdes
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Succulents in containers

Learn how to identify and care for popular indoor succulents, especially if you’re looking for easy-care plant options that require little maintenance.  

Succulents add drama and texture and can be clustered together in containers. Because succulents store water in their stems and roots, they require very little H20. Just give succulents a sunny spot in your home and water when the soil is completely dry.

Succulents will reward you with beauty and durability.

How to Identify popular indoor Succulents

Echeveria "Gorgons Grotto" is a cool succulent with rosy edges.

The best way to identify succulents is by their leaves. Succulents feature plump leaves in bright shades of green, pink, deep red, orange, purple, gray and blue. Sometimes, they’re a mix of several colors.

Read on to find out more on how to identify specific types of popular succulents, including gorgon’s grotto echeveria (shown above).



Succulents in a pre-made planter

Echeverias look waxy and have thick rosette leaves that, when touched, can leave marks. Echeveria make great indoor plants when they get lots of sun.

Examples include the purple and powdery pale gray variety (shown above) and the colorful gorgon’s grotto, both extremely drought-tolerant echeveria succulents.

Gorgon’s grotto looks ornamental with its large leaves with crinkly rose-colored edges.


Mini jade has much smaller or compact leaves than typical jade.

Jade may be the most popular and well-known crassula. Jade plants look like mini trees with woody stems. Its leaves look oval-shaped and are the color of jade, though some varieties, such as elephant bush, boast leaves with rosy edges (shown above). Unlike other succulents, jade plants prefer moist soil in the growing season of spring and summer and dry soil in fall and winter.

Jade plants last a long time and are considered to be a symbol of good luck. 


Donkey's Tail is a succulent that looks great spilling out of a container.

With so many sedum varieties, it’s the ones with bright green leaves (sometimes with red edging) that thrive as houseplants. Donkey’s tail succulents (shown above) are a type of sedum that grow in long, hanging bunches of small, blue-green bean-shaped leaves.

Long stems look beautiful hanging over planters as a spiller. Just a word of caution: Its leaves can fall off easily. Plant and don’t disturb donkey’s tail, except when occasionally watering. And if a few leaves fall off, not to worry. It will thrive anyway.


Paddle plant is a succulent that boasts wide leaves with red edging.

Kalanchoe offers a wide range of options as houseplants, from flowering to non-flowering varieties. The most popular succulent is the trendy paddle plant.

With big paddle-like leaves, paddle plants’ leaves get brilliant red edging when exposed to sun. Another popular and trendy kalanchoe variety is the panda plant with its fuzzy gray-green leaves and rusty brown edging. Water sparingly when soil is dry. Both can take indirect sun.

How to plant succulents in containers

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium ll The Home Depot Garden Club

  • Containers. Use planters with drainage holes to create a succulent dish garden or container filled with a variety of succulents. Another option: terrariums. The self-contained environment keeps conditions dry and warm. Get ideas for decorating with terrariums.
  • Potting Mix. Fill a container 3/4-full with a potting mix made for cacti and succulents.
  • Winning combos. Combine arching, spreading and towering plants for a winning combo in containers.
  • Topping. Top with decorative elements, such as stones, gems, crushed glass or rocks. 
  • Arranging. If you’re not into planting your own, buy prearranged succulents already planted in a container.

How to care for succulents indoors


If you’re busy, travel frequently or are guilty of houseplant neglect, succulents are for you. There’s only one rule: Don’t overwater! They will rot.  

Be sure your containers drain well and use cactus and succulent potting mix to help with the process.

Tip: When you’re growing succulents indoors, be sure to look for signs of trouble.

  • Combining. Design your container using arching, spreading and towering plants. Mix cactus plants with succulents using the smaller beneath the taller ones. You can also try a variety of succulents together.
  • Feeding. Feed with a half-strength solution of water-soluble plant fertilizer and be sure to water well.
  • Lighting. Cactus and other succulents love light and can withstand direct sun. They need light to stay healthy. Place in a sun-filled window or a window that receives southern exposure.
  • Watering. Water sparingly, only when the soil is dry. Avoid the temptation to water too much. Too little is better overall.

If you’re interested in gardening with succulents in your outdoor space, read about succulents that work best outside.

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