If you’re a tiny bit neglectful as a plant parent, we’ve got the solution: Why not try succulents? These low-maintenance plants don’t need babied and come in an amazing array of colors, sizes and forms. With more than 10,000 species, these plants have adapted to harsh growing conditions by developing fleshy stems and leaves that retain moisture to survive heat and drought conditions. Many succulents make great houseplants and are equally sturdy in a sunny spot in your garden, too.
If you’re planting outdoors, read the plant tag or description to ensure the variety is perennial and can survive winters in your USDA Hardiness zone (find yours here). Or pot up and bring ‘em indoors before chilly temps arrive. Most importantly, avoid the biggest killer of succulents: overwatering. Succulents prefer to dry out— they do have their own water reserves after all—so don’t water them until the soil feels dry when you push a finger into the pot an inch or so.
Here are a few of our favorite succulents for home or garden:
This succulent resembles a rose with its spiral of pointed leaves that come in various shades of green, pink and burgundy. It’s low-growing and can be planted in ground or in containers, but it also does well indoors in a sunny window.
2. String of Pearls
This darling plant has tiny round leaves that dangle on a long stem, resembling a beaded necklace. Find your brightest window and then leave it be; the stems can reach several feet long but break easily when moved. If a piece does fall off, push it into damp soil to create a new plant. This plant’s relative, string of bananas, is equally fetching and looks like— you guessed it— a string of tiny bananas!
3. Snake Plant
Yes, this old favorite is a type of succulent, and it’s tough-as-nails. You’ll find upright forms with sword-like or cylindrical foliage, and dwarf varieties, which have a more clumping appearance. It’s one of the easiest succulents to grow and will live for decades with the right conditions. In some parts of the country, it can be grown outdoors (though it should be placed in a pot sunk in the ground, because it can become invasive in warm climates).
This tiny, spikey succulent is one of the cutest houseplants ever. Some look like tiny aloe vera plants, while others have stripes. Display it by itself or grouped together in a shallow dish. It does best in bright indirect light.
5. Hens and Chicks
These old favorites probably grew in your Grandma’s garden because they’re low maintenance and multiply quickly in the right conditions. The “hen” is the mother plant, while the “chicks” form around it. There are tons of different species, and many thrive even in the coldest climates.
There are many types of sedum including low-growing types and upright forms that have sturdy blooms that appear late in the growing season when your garden is winding down for the year. Most are quite cold-hardy, but read the tag to be sure.
7. Pilea Peperomioides
Also known as coin plant, UFO plant or Chinese money plant, this cheery little plant has fun, rounded leaves and makes a striking accent for your end table or windowsill. It also can go outdoors in the summertime, but keep it out of direct sunlight or it will get sunburned. It makes “pups” that pop up around the base, which you can pinch off and pot for new plants.
8. Jade Plant
Fat, shiny oval leaves make this succulent look like a tiny tree. They’re extremely slow growers, but they’re not fussy, so they’re good for beginners. Give them bright light, and they’re happy.
9. Ice Plant
Also known as delosperma, the ice plant is the perfect addition to garden beds, rock gardens and hillsides. It comes in many gorgeous jewel tones and blooms from spring to frost. It shouldn’t be confused with another plant that’s also called ice plant, which is a different and invasive species with the botanical name, Carpobrotus.
10. Aloe Vera
This succulent, with plump leaves fanning out from a central base, lives for years indoors. It also can grow outdoors in warm climates. Because the gel-like sap inside each leaf has anti-inflammatory properties, you can break off an outer leaf and use the substance on minor sunburns or poison ivy rashes. It likes bright, but not direct, sunlight.
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