7 Best Succulents for Low Light Environments

Kelvin M. Kelvin Mwathi on

So, maybe the architect who designed your house or apartment never took into consideration that one day, you might want a house plant. You have windows, but the light is never really enough to keep a sun-lover alive, with most plants screaming “Heck no, we won’t grow!”

Do you give up all together on the dream of being a plant parent?

Heck no! We won’t let it be so!

There are a variety of succulents that you can maintain in low light environments that will brighten up your home or office, and have you feeling like a proud plant parent.

Here are 7 succulents that thrive in low light environments so that you too can get the opportunity to chant: “Heck yeah! We can grow!”

Best Succulents for Low Light Environments
Low light succulents @_abbiewilliams_

Sedum Morganianum—Burro’s Tail

Named after the Spanish word for donkey, Burro’s Tail is indigenous to Southern Mexico and Honduras. It also goes by Lamb’s Tail and Horse’s Tail. True to its name, this succulent does resemble a braided tail, as it cascades in an overlapping pattern from hanging pots or the edge of a balcony. You can get your burro’s tail own on Amazon! Check it out, here.

Burro’s tail have thick, fleshy leaves that look like long, fat grains of rice, in shades of dark green, green-grey and even blue-green. The leaves look like they have been dusted with a waxy, pale blue powder called epicuticular wax (say this 10 times fast), which helps the plant retain moisture and protect it from sun exposure. The plant’s luxurious stem is heavy because the leaves retain moisture and they can grow up to 24 inches long.

As pretty as the succulent looks, it can be extremely sensitive. This is not your regular touchy-feely plant.  The leaves can fall off very easily with the slightest brush, and sometimes even when you just give the plant an evil eye. This makes it an obvious and massive mistake to try and re-pot this succulent.

You will be left holding a bare stem, unfortunately.

Burro’s Tail however has minimal needs in terms of care. It only requires about 4 hours of light daily and it should not be direct sunlight, as this will make its leaves start to turn yellow. It should be watered only when the soil is completely dry. Too much water can cause the stem to rot or even kill your succulent. Think your succulent may be rotting? Check out our article “Why is My Succulent Rotting?” to find out what you can do to salvage it!

Let your Burro’s Tail brighten up your indoor space with its unique appearance, and remember to place it somewhere away from passing traffic, where you can look but not touch. Hanging planters like these will look marvelous and complement your burro’s tail quite well, without the worry of someone bumping into them!

Best Succulents for Low Light Environments
Flourishing burro’s tail @mountainorganicsbotanicals

Haworthia Cuspidata—Star Window Plant

The Haworthia cuspidata is a cross between Haworthia retusa and Haworthia cymbiformis and is prevalent to the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

This exceptional succulent has plump, boat shaped leaves that range in color from lime green to greenish-grey. The leaves form as a tightly-packed rosette and with the right amount of light bouncing off the succulent, the leaves tends to look translucent, almost see-through, giving the plant its other name, the Star Window plant.

Some species have a white or red tip running along the outside edge of the leaves which are filled with aloe. The Star Window plant only grows between 3 and 5 inches, making it a perfectly compact plant to fit in an old tea cup, like this one!

This succulent, likes areas away from direct sunlight and should not be allowed to sit in water for any amount of time. It does well in dry, well-draining soil, and because it grows in clusters, it can be propagated easily from offsets or leaf cuttings. Take a look at our guide on how to propagate succulents successfully, here.

The aloe found in the leaves of the Haworthia Cuspidata has been known to have some therapeutic effects on sunburns, cold sores, itching and inflammation. It is also famous for being a resilient plant and is therefore safe to have with curious pets. Try out the magic of aloe, here!

Best Succulents for Low Light Environments
Baby star window plant @live.love.plant.grow

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia—ZZ Plants

The Zamioculcas zamiifolia stems from Kenya in East Africa and has been spotted sprouting roots right down to Northern parts of South Africa. This tropical perennial was commercialized by the Dutch in 1996 and is known around the world as ZZ, Zanzibar Gem, Zuzu Plant, Emerald Palm and Eternity plant.

ZZ is a stunner, boasting naturally waxy, glossy green leaves, protruding from a stem that can reach up to 3 feet long. It can occasionally be seen spotting tiny flowers that grow at the base of the stem, but these are difficult to see as they are usually covered up by the leaves.

This no-fuss plant, which is also available on Amazon here, is a popular in-house feature because it grows well, albeit slowly, in areas with low to bright indirect light. Like most succulents, you have to be careful about how much water you give ZZ. The good thing is it has an in-built indicator. When you spot the leaves starting to drop, ZZ needs more water. If the leaves start to turn yellow, ZZ has had too much water. Get yourself a beautiful, indoor planter, here, for your ZZ plant!

There are rumors that this particular plant, if ingested, could be harmful to inquisitive children and pets. Whether or not this rumor is substantiated, it is advisable to keep it at a distance from wandering fingers and mouths.

That being said, did you know that ZZ is an air purifier? It cleans airborne toxins, like Toluene and Xylene, from indoor air and restores oxygen levels in the room. Spend one evening with this plant and you will increase your oxygen levels, lower your blood pressure and reduce stress, all in one!

Best Succulents for Low Light Environments
ZZ plant goals @zzbotanicalandhome

Beaucarnea Recurvata—Ponytail Palm

This is the Ponytail Palm, but unlike the name, this is not a palm tree. Thanks to its ability to store water in its bulbous trunk, Ponytail Palm falls more towards succulents. The bulging stump gives root to a thinner stem that ends in long, slender, hair-like leaves that look like they have been tied in a ponytail. Yes, Ponytail Palm!

This Mexican beauty also goes by Elephant Foot and Bottle Plant while its scientific name is Beaucarnea recurvata. An enthusiastic sun lover, Ponytail Palm can grow up to 30 feet (9.14 meters) high if given the chance, and back home in Mexico, you could find some that are over 350 years old! However, this totally forgiving plant will let you control its growth movements by keeping it in low light environments.

Ponytail Palm, like any succulent, needs soil with good drainage and can last for up to 3 weeks without a drink. As tempting as it may seem to give Ponytail Pat a haircut, do not do that. The edges of the leaves will turn brown and start to dry up. For more insight on what the best potting soils are for your succulent babies, read on with this article!

Fun fact: The ASPCA approved Ponytail Palm to be non-toxic to cats, dogs, children, and horses! To ensure your pets’ safety, here’s 7 succulents that are poisonous for pets— keep your fur babies safe!

Best Succulents for Low Light Environments
Growing pony tail palm @allaboutthemroots

Gasterias—Little Warty

A distant relative of the haworthia’s and aloes, the Gasterias is a perennial succulent that is a local inhabitant of South Africa. This plant honestly has a very weird look, but then again, weird is underrated.

Gasterias has long fleshy leaves that are shaped like a tongue and have outgrowths that look like warts on the surface. This makes the leaves have a rough texture like sandpaper. This feature relates to its other names; Little Warty, Ox Tongue, Cow’s Tongue or Lawyer’s Tongue. Get your own, here!

Unlike the rosette arrangement of most aloe’s, the leaves of Gasterias grow opposite one another along a central axis and the stem tends to spiral as the plant develops, sometimes getting to 3 feet tall. Get yourself the perfect-sized pot for your Little Warty, here!

Little Warty usually blooms between spring and summer, with flowers appearing on branched inflorescences that grow pretty high above the foliage. The flowers are usually pinkish-reddish in color and have a sac-like shape that resembles a stomach – probably where the name Gasterias is derived from (Latin for stomach).

This unique looking succulent is a happy camper in cool rooms with limited sunlight and prefers well-draining, sandy soil.

Best Succulents for Low Light Environments
Perfect gasteria @smartplantapp

Schlumbergera—Holiday Cacti

Technically, this is not one plant, but 3 diverse species that are summed up under the name Schlumbergera. Don’t worry, allow us to explain.

  1. The Schlumbergera truncates is called the Thanksgiving cactus and has pointed leaf margins.
  2. The Schlumbergera bridgesii is known as the Christmas cactus has smaller, smooth, segmented edges.
  3. The Schlumbergera gaertneri is identified as the Easter cactus and has bristles at the end of each leaf.

These names are as a result of the holiday closest to the dates when their flowers bloom and the main difference being the shape of the leaves. Isn’t that pretty cool, so thoughtful if you ask me!

This spineless cactus has leaf-like pods that look like they have been stapled together, while the stems act as photosynthesis organs for the plant.

Large, bright and colourful flowers pop up from areoles on the tips of the stems and range in color to include yellow, orange, white, pink, red, scarlet, salmon and magenta. Depending on the species you choose, you could get upward facing flowers or downward facing flowers. Let your vivacious cacti steal the show, and plant them in these minimalistic pots!

Dawning from the coastal mountains of South Eastern Brazil, the Holiday Cacti do well in cool and shaded areas with high humidity levels. Thinking of brightening up your home before the holidays, this is a sure way to go.

Speaking of cacti, we’ve gotten the question “are cactus thorns poisonous?” quite a lot. To answer your curious question, we answered your question in this article!

Best Succulents for Low Light Environments
Happy holiday cactus @gowetyourplants

Haworthia Margaritifera—Pearly Dots

Known as a close cousin to the aloe plant, these small, rare beauties are a sight to behold.

Growing in tightly packed, stem-less rosettes, the Haworthia Margaritifera has chunky, blue-green leaves that are covered all over in small white bumps, giving the succulent a distinct appearance that you cannot miss. These bumps led to nick names such as Pearly Dots, Pearl Plant and Cushion Aloe.

This succulent tends to bloom early in the summer and produces tiny, brownish-white flowers. They can grow to be about 4 inches tall and 6 inches wide. Pearly Dots is not a picky plant and it prefers medium to indirect light with minimal watering. It should never sit in water, and like most succulents, it does well in either sandy soil or a cactus mix.

This South African native looks stunning in unusual containers, maybe one like this, and can be gifted to anyone starting out as a green thumb.

Best Succulents for Low Light Environments
Magnificent pearly dots @flowers.cactus

Are you excited to complete your home and office with these new succulents?!

Before you do… We wanted to share that we’ve teamed up with Amazon. And to celebrate, they’re offering a FREE 30-day trial of their Amazon Prime Membership! That means free 2-day shipping on THOUSANDS of items— perfect time to stock up on all your new succulent gear! Click this link to find out more and sign up today.

And don’t forget, we’re on Pinterest! For gorgeous and inspiring succulent videos, like propagation guides and jaw-dropping gardens, check it out here!

Thanks for reading, happy planting my friends!

Want to learn more?

7 Best Succulents for Low Light Environments
  • Perfect timing. Excited to try a couple of these. I had to move my just purchased succulents outside because of too little light. They were stretching towards the sun ☀️