7 Best Succulents for Low Light Environments

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 and thrive and 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 low light 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 low light succulents!

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 the low light succulents 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.

ALSO READ:

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!

Enjoyed learning about the 7 Best Succulents for Low Light Environments? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about Best Lighting Practices for Succulent Growth. With this ebook, you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

Thanks for reading, happy planting my friends!

Sedum Morganianum— the Burros Tail Succulent Plant

You’ll agree with me that in the recent years the popularity of succulents has grown in leaps and bounds. These little chaps are seen in almost everything, from hanging planters like the image below to boutonnieres. The succulent fandom is not only sweeping the internet, but also botanical gardens, home décor stores, and plant nurseries.

They’re not only idiosyncratic, cute little plants trending in gardens, but also being used as wedding and home décor nuggets.

The wide plethora of these unique plants leaves a succulent newbie literally spoilt for choice. From the “living pebbles” to the stoic saguaro cacti, succulents are one of the most diverse plant groups.

What if I introduced you to the world of the most sought-after and versatile succulents of our age? Ladies and gentlemen, help me welcome: Mr. Burro’s tail.

Hanging succulent planters
Hanging Succulent Planters @sassandbelle

Sedum Morganianum

The burro’s tail is a descendant of the genus Sedum, hailing from the Crassulaceae family. The scientists saw it fit to name it Sedum morganianum. It’s popularly known as the burro’s tail, horse’s tail, lamb’s tail or donkey’s tail. Burro’s tail was thus named because of its pendulous stems and overlapping leaves that resemble an animal’s tail.

This perennial succulent is native to southern Mexico and Honduras. Sedum morganianum has been cultivated since 1935, however, it’s true origin was discovered in 2008 by Mexican botanists in Tenampa, Veracruz. Best used as an indoor hanging plant, burro’s tail is extensively grown as a house plant in Northern America.

Sedum morganianum is an award-winning, ever-green, easy-to-grow succulent with trailing stems arising from the base that may grow up to 3 feet long or more. The burro’s tail scooped the Royal Horticultural Society’s award of Garden Merit in 1993 – even before it’s native origin was discovered!

This attractive succulent has long trailing stems completely covered by thick, lance-shaped leaves that are blue-green in color. Burro’s tail is best grown in suspended pots or containers so that the stems can freely cascade downwards.

Though rare, sedum morganianum produces small, unscented, star-shaped flowers which are pink, red or lavender in color during spring and summer.

This succulent, mostly thought to be a cactus, has brittle stems with loosely attached leaves that fall off at the gentlest touch. Due to its delicate nature, it’s advisable to keep it away from disturbances.

Sedum morganianum is sometimes confused with the Myrtle Spurge or the Creeping Spurge which is at times erroneously referred to as Donkey’s Tail plant. Myrtle Spurge is a highly poisonous plant which should be handled very cautiously.

The burro’s tail provides an intriguing texture as a houseplant or captivating green exterior in outdoors and landscapes.

Sedum morganianum burros tail
Burro’s Tail @succsgalore

What Makes the Burro’s Tail so Popular?

  • It’s trailing stems covered by fleshy, blue-green leaves overhanging a pot displays a one-of-a-kind indoor aesthetic.
  • The succulent is easy to grow with very little care needed.
  • Simple propagation technique.
  • One can grow it as a houseplant or a garden plant.
  • Sedum morganianum can be grown in a small pot as it grow’s vertically downwards hence little space is needed.
  • It is pet and toddler friendly.
  • It does not need a lot of water to grow.

How to Take Care of Burro’s Tail Succulent

The burro’s tail is an easy-care succulent, suiting the neglectful plant care lover or the novice gardener. Whether grown out on the garden or as an indoor plant, growing a burro’s tail is quite a snap.

The following conditions are ideal for a healthy Sedum morganianum.

Lighting for Burro’s Tail

These succulents love bright sunlight, either directly or partially. A minimum of four hours is recommended. Avoid setting them up in very hot sun as the leaves bleach out and turn yellowish instead of the original blue-green color.

Insufficient light will cause the stem to have longer internodes thus lack of leaf compaction giving it a skimpy tail.

When you grow it indoors, place it on a sunny window to ensure absorption of maximum light. Outdoor burros should be shielded from very hot sun during the growing season to protect them from leaf color bleaching and cringing.

Ideal Climate for Burro’s Tails

In tropical climate, burro’s tail can stay outdoors throughout the year. Pull them indoors during freezing winter as they can’t stand it.

Sedum morganianum will grow well in room temperatures during the growing season. Ideal winter temperatures should be anywhere between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Burros tail sedum morganianum
Sedum Morganianum @houseplantclub

Watering Burro’s Tail Succulent Plant

The burro’s tail is a succulent, which means it stores water mostly in its leaves. These plants use the stored water for its metabolic processes. They can use this water for quite some time. Therefore, the easiest way to kill a succulent would be overwatering it. Pumping a lot of water on succulents makes it more susceptible to root rot.

Use a watering tool like this to have better control for the amount of water you use.

The best way of ensuring safe watering of the burro’s tail is by using the “soak and dry” method. This is making sure the soil dries out completely in between watering.

Give it a generous, thorough watering once in two weeks and every week while in its growing season. Reduce watering during winter as these plants are inactive and don’t grow a lot.

A sure-fire way of knowing when next to water your sedum morganianum is by investigating the leaves. Once the leaves begin to shriven, then it needs a drink – a thorough one.

Best Soil for Sedum Morganianum

Like most succulents, the burro’s tail thrives on well-drained soil specific to cacti and succulents. You can create your own well-draining soil mixture by augmenting regular soil with equal parts of pumice or perlite.

Never use pure garden soil on succulents. They hate soaked soil and it is the major cause of root rot. Instead, use grainy soil or mixed garden soil because it’s well-draining and never holds water in. Here’s a great grainy and mixed bag of soil from Amazon that is highly rated.

To add a little bit of spice to your sedum morganianum, you can add worm castings to the soil. Burro’s tail fertilizer is really not necessary, but you can feed it twice or thrice only during its growing season. A weak solution of cactus fertilizer will get the job done.

Feeding it once a month is enough and during winter, don’t feed at all. Sedum morganianum doesn’t need any fertilizer during winter because it’s inactive.

Propagating Burro’s Tails

Propagating the burro’s tail is a very facile exercise. The plant can be propagated from stem or leaf cuttings. Propagating from leaves is the easiest. Simply pluck a few leaves from the burro’s tail stem and place them in moist soil.

After a few days, the propagated leaves will start to sprout. Once the baby burro’s tails are half an inch, you can transplant them in their own individual pots.

The stem propagation is also quite straight forward. Cut your desired stem-length. Remove the leaves a few inches from the bottom. leave the stem-cutting to dry for one week until it calluses.

Slightly moisten the soil and then plant the cutting. While planting, pin down your plant deep in the soil to avoid pulling off once it becomes heavy. The most important nutrient needed to grow sedum morganianum is lots of sunlight, therefore, place the new propagates near a window.

If you don’t have much experience with propagating succulents or plants in general, be sure to check our in-depth guide on how to propagate succulents successfully.

Last update on 2020-03-19 / Amazon

Repotting Burro’s Tail Succulent Plants

Repotting can always be done if the burro’s tail overgrows its pot or when the pot becomes too old to support the plant. Choose a pot with draining holes to keep your plants dry and easily breathing.

Before repotting, ensure the soil is dry. Gently remove the plant from the current pot. Identify the rotted roots and get rid of them together with the old soil. In case of any cuts on the plant, treat with fungicides. Put the plant in a new pot and cover with well-draining soil. Let the plant remain dry for a week. Slowly begin watering it lightly to prevent root rot.

It is not advisable to repot mature plants severally because of the brittle nature of the plant. Too much handling of the burro’s tail results in plant damage and loss of leaves as they’re very delicate.

Burro’s Tails Pests & Problems

Pests

The burro’s tail does not get attacked by a wide range of insects. The most common pests associated with burro’s tail is mealy bugs and aphids. You can hose them off with water or spray with a mixture of 1/5 rubbing alcohol to 4/5 water. If that fails to work, go for Neem oil which is an organic pest control alternative that is simple yet effective.

Root rot

Only caused by two things; overwatering or poor draining soil. Rotting may also graduate to the stem and crown. In case you notice such, collect the healthy leaves and stem tips and get rid of the rest of the plant.

Low light issues

Insufficient light causes the burro’s tail to have longer internodes with scanty leaves attached to the stem. Prune the weak parts and move the plant to well-lit area and ensure it receives four hours of bright sunlight every day.

Dropping leaves

Not really a problem but it’s nice to know that Sedum morganianum is very brittle and just a slight brush will cause the leaves to drop. Hanging the succulent is best done in places where objects or people can’t brush against it.

Poison Concerns

As per the ASPCA, the burro’s tail does not contain any poison and it’s therefore non-toxic to humans and pets alike. Caution should be taken however, not to confuse the plant with the poisonous Creeping Spurge or Myrtle Spurge which is erroneously referred to as the donkey’s tail.

Tips for Burro’s Tails

A healthy and mature Sedum morganianum plant will yield the longest stems, growing up to 4 feet in length. To grow your burro’s tail really long, observe the following best practices.

  • Give your burro’s tail plenty of Bright sunlight. Not “sun heat.”
  • Avoid overwatering your plant. Give a thorough watering once or twice a month.
  • Keep the plant away from places where people may brush against it.
  • Burro’s tail thrives best in room temperature and doesn’t like freeze winter. Therefore, keep it warm.
  • Use well-draining soil, preferably a commercial cactus mix or your own mixture of garden soil combined with pumice or perlite.

ALSO READ:

Sedum morganianum succulent burros tail
Burro’s Tail @shaughey04

Where to Buy Burro’s Tails

Sedum morganianum is easily available in plant nurseries and home garden centers. You can also find it online in sites such as Etsy and Amazon. Read our new article about where you can buy succulents for a full in-depth how to.

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Last update on 2020-03-19 / Amazon


There you have it, the Sedum Morganianum succulent plant, also known as the burro’s tail. Be sure to read our other articles if you liked this one. We have more specific articles in the works now, in the meantime, comment your favorite succulent and we’ll write in-depth about it!

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

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