Succulents are unique plants that typically don’t require an abundance of water, since they retain water in their thick, fleshy foliage. They come in a wide array of shapes, colors, sizes, and care requirements.
There are over a thousand different types of succulents and some even do well in shady areas, which means these low light succulents work well in areas of your home that don’t have an abundance of sunlight shining in.
Keep reading to find some of the best big and small low light succulents that will thrive no matter where you put them!
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Best low light succulents
Keep in mind that just because the following low light succulents can grow in lower lighting conditions, doesn’t mean that is the best option for them. In fact, most succulents need some sun for the best growth.
Nevertheless, it’s true that this may not always be possible. For example, maybe your desk is too far from a window or you really want one next to your bed, but your bedroom is on the shady side of the building.
If that’s the case, these succulents will still do well even if they’re not getting their absolutely ideal amount of sun.
1. Sedum morganianum
Also known as the burro’s tail or donkey tail, this succulent is native to southern Mexico and thrives in partial sun and even bright shade, which means it can tolerate some low light conditions.
It produces long, trailing stems covered in bluish green foliage that resemble the tail of a donkey, making it a great option if you’re looking for a low light hanging plant for your indoor space.
Furthermore, if you’re looking for low light succulents that are safe for cats, the burro’s tail may just be your best option. According to the ASPCA, burro’s tail is not toxic to cats or dogs, which means you don’t have to worry if your kitty nibbles on this plant.
2. Senecio radicans
Most commonly known as a string of bananas, this succulent has a trailing nature with oblong-shaped leaves that look similar to a banana.
They can handle low light conditions, but will grow the best in filtered sun. They should never, however, grow in direct light as this can damage their foliage.
Senecio radicans is native to South Africa and is actually in the same family as the non-succulent flowering plant called Asters.
3. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is a beloved succulent grown for the medicinal benefits that the sap found in the foliage provides. It is one of the most commonly grown low light succulents (you can get your own aloe vera plant here). This plant can live for over 12 years if given the proper care.
There are actually a few different Aloe varieties that work well as low light succulents. If, however, you have pets, you may want to steer clear of this popular succulent since it is toxic to dogs and cats.
4. Aloe variegata
This variation of the aloe vera has a similar appearance as its parent plant, but with variegated leaves.
If you’re looking for small low light succulents, the aloe variegata may just be the right choice for you, since it is a dwarf variety that reaches 10 to 12 inches tall.
You can even check the latest price here of a pack of five aloe vera plants, included variegated ones to really give some variety to your collection.
5. Aloe aristata
Called the lace aloe, this succulent features raised white spots on its foliage that give it the appearance of being covered in lace.
The lace aloe is another small low light succulents that typically grows no taller than 5 inches. This makes it ideal for compact areas that don’t have access to a lot of light – get your own lace aloe here.
6. Euphorbia milii
This succulent is known by many names, including the Christ Plant or Crown of Thorns.
A perennial shrub, it has bright green leaves and greenish flowers. However, the flowers are enclosed within bright red or yellow “casings” that last for ages and give some great pops of color to this plant. You can check the latest price of one here, including to see how the flowers look.
Euphorbia milii is native to Madagascar. In tropical regions, this succulent has been cultivated as an ornamental evergreen shrub.
7. Haworthia margaritifera
This stunning succulent is sometimes known as the pearl plant and is a relative of the Aloe vera plant.
It produces dark green foliage that is covered in small white bumps that look like pearls. It is native to South Africa and its low-growing size (check out the cute version you can get of this plant here) makes it ideal for anyone looking for small low light succulents.
8. Euphorbia tithymaloides
This succulent is known by many names, including the devils backbone, red slipper spurge, buckthoon, redbird cactus, Christmas candle, and zigzag plant.
When grown outdoors, it can reach 8 feet or more tall. However, this plant doesn’t get that tall when grown as an indoor plant.
9. Senecio rowleyanus
Senecio rowleyanus is one of the most popular low light succulents, grown for its long, trailing stems covered in pea-shaped foliage. You can check the latest price of one here.
The foliage resembles a string of pearls, which is what most people call this plant. Like other succulents, however, the string of pearls is susceptible to overwatering.
Like its closely related cousin the string of bananas, Senecio rowleyanus is a member of the aster family and is native to southwest Africa. In its native habitat, its long stems can reach several feet in length and can creep along the ground, rooting in the soil to create a dense ground cover in dry areas.
10. Rhipsalis baccifera
When looking for low light succulents, why not consider the mistletoe cactus?
This stunning succulent produces long stems that can reach lengths of around 10 feet long. It also produces white flowers in clusters and works well when grown in a hanging basket.
Rhipsalis baccifera is native to South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean and even Florida. You can also find this cactus in tropical areas throughout Africa and Sri Lanka.
11. Haworthia attenuata
Commonly known as the zebra cactus, the Haworthia attenuata closely resembles the pearl plant but instead of raised spots, it produces raised stripes.
(And if you want to get the zebra cactus with the gorgeous pot in the picture below, you can grab both of them here.)
Both of these plants, however, have the same growing requirements, which means the zebra cactus can also grow in low light conditions.
Haworthia attenuata is native to one province in South Africa called the Eastern Cape Province. It is a species of small low light succulents that, because of its short stature, can grow well in areas with limited space.
12. Sansevieria trifasciata
Commonly known as the snake plant or mother in law’s tongue, the Sansevieria trifasciata is a hardy succulent that is difficult to kill. It also does well in low light settings.
It produces long, erect leaves that are pointed at the tip, and is available in a few different cultivars, including a variegated type. You can get a variegated snake plant here, for example.
Sansevieria trifasciata is native to the tropical regions of Western Africa. This stemless succulent grows as an evergreen perennial in its native habit and can live for up to 25 years with the proper care.
You may also be interested in: 23 Best Indoor Trees For Low Light Spaces (That Look Great)
13. Schlumbergera opuntioides
The Schlumbergera opuntioides, sometimes called the claw cactus, is in the same genus as the more popular Christmas cactus, but not as commonly grown, nor is it as readily available.
(You can grab one here though, where they’re currently available for sale.)
It is native to rocky regions and humid forests found in Brazil, and can grow in various lighting conditions including low light settings. It looks similar to the Christmas cactus and is often confused with that succulent.
14. Crassula ovata
Crassula ovata, most commonly known as the jade plant, is one of the most popular low light succulents grown in homes throughout the world (check the latest price of one here to see just how affordable they are).
It produces vibrant, deep green foliage, but can grow fairly slowly indoors.
The jade plant is a classic choice for small low light succulents, and even works well for beginner gardeners just starting their journey through the world of houseplants.
15. Ceropegia woodii
While not a full succulent, the Ceropegia woodii is a semi-succulent plant that produces heart-shaped leaves and small buds that look similar to rosary beads.
These features have resulted in the plant being called the rosary vine or string of hearts. This low light vine plant grows well in a hanging planter or window box in low light settings.
16. Cotyledon tomentosa
The bear paw plant is named so after its fuzzy bear-like foliage that is rather compact in size. And as you can see from this bear paw plant that’s for sale, you can definitely tell where it gets its name from!
When mature, this plant only reaches about 12 inches tall and is semi-dormant in the summer months. The bear paw plant can thrive in partial sun and is tolerant of low light conditions.
Gasteria plants (like this one you can grab) have a similar appearance as the Aloe vera, but are plumper and more compact, and can handle low light conditions.
It produces dark green foliage that has white raised bumps at the leaf’s center. These raised bumps extend to the leaf margin as well.
Gasteria is considered a rare succulent native to South Africa. It grows to heights of 4 to 24 inches, with the Gasteria acinacifolia being the tallest of the species.
Known as green ice, the gasteraloe is a hybrid of the gasteria plant and the aloe vera plant. It is a stunning low light succulent that is hardy, easy-to-grow and features the best qualities from both of its parent plants.
Because Gasteraloe is a nursery hybrid, or cross between two different plants, it does not exist in nature and is actually considered fairly rare. Both of its parent plants, however, are native to Africa.
19. Gasteria batesiana
The Gasteria batesiana, known by its common name ox tongue, is a variegated cultivar of the gasteria plant that features rough-textured foliage that has a triangular shape.
Like the gasteria plant, the ox tongue grows well in partial to almost fully shaded areas.
20. Beaucarnea recurvata
The elephant foot plant is also called ponytail palm even though it is not a palm at all. This plant produces palm-like foliage but is actually a succulent that stores water in its trunk.
While the elephant foot plant grows best in full sun, it can also handle low light conditions and even partial shade. Another great thing about the ponytail palm is that it is one of the few low light succulents that are safe for cats.
21. Zamioculcas zamiifolia
This plant is called the ZZ plant or Zanibar Gem, and it is one of the best options for low light succulents. It features rhizomes at the base of its stems, which appear a little swollen when it stores water. Because of these water stored stems, the ZZ plant doesn’t need frequent watering.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia is in the same family as the peace lily, which is another beloved houseplant. It is native to East Africa and produces a spadix-like flower that looks similar to the flower of the peace lily, although the Zamioculcas zamiifolia’s flower is much smaller in size and harder to see.
22. Kalanchoe tomentosa
This low-light loving succulent is known as the panda plant and features extremely soft foliage that are grayish blue in color with reddish brown tips. It has a low-growing plant, and its compact form makes it ideal for gardeners looking for small low light succulents.
Kalanchoe tomentosa is native to Madagascar and is available in a wide array of varieties. Each cultivar has its own characteristics, although the main different between them is typically the color of their foliage.
23. Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
Known as flaming Kate, this succulent features vibrant orange blooms that are long-lasting and simply striking. It is a member of the holiday cactus family, and can be grown in low light conditions after it has flowered.
If you want the plant to produce those stunning blooms, however, you will need to grow the plant in indirect sunlight.
24. Aeonium kiwi
The Aeonium kiwi is a hardy succulent that can handle hot climates and shady areas. Like other succulents, it can tolerate drought, but that also means it is susceptible to root rot caused by overwatering. The Aeonium kiwi produces spoon-shaped leaves in a compact rosette-like form.
Aeonium kiwi is native to Morocco and the Canary Islands, although it is often found growing outside of its native areas in locations that have similar climates.
That is why it is not uncommon to find this plant growing wild in Southern California since this region has similar climates to the Aeonium kiwi’s original home.
25. Agave attenuata
This plant has a few different monikers that it goes by, including foxtail agave, lion’s tail, and swan’s neck.
It is a hardy succulent that produces rosette leaf formation and thrives in shady conditions, which makes it a wonderful choice for low light succulents. Keep in mind, however, that it is rather tall and can grow up to 5 feet.
26. Agave bracteosa
Agave bracteosa is an unusual looking succulent that resembles a squid, which is why most people call this plant Squid Agave.
It is a compact plant that can tolerate shade, which makes it a wonderful option for anyone looking for small low light succulents. In fact, the Squid Agave is often grown in containers or rock gardens.
27. Epiphyllum oxypetalum
The orchid cactus, which is also called Dutchman’s pipe cactus, is a succulent that produces fragrant white blooms in the right growing conditions. While it does need the bright morning sun or direct sunlight to thrive, it can do well in low light settings the rest of the day.
This plant is native to Southern Mexico, but it has been cultivated throughout the world and has even escaped from cultivation in areas with a tropical-like setting. Because of this, the Epiphyllum oxypetalum has become naturalized in China, India, the Caribbean, and the Galapagos Islands.
28. Sedum ternatum
Commonly called stonecrop, Sedum ternatum is a low-growing succulent that can thrive in conditions that other plants perish in. In fact, this succulent grows well even in gravelly or rocky soil.
Stonecrop grows best in shady, cool areas and is often grown as ground cover.
Because of its short stature, stonecrop is a wonderful option if you’re looking for small low light succulents. It also works well as a desk plant or in a home with limited space.
29. Hoya finlaysonii
Hoya finlaysonii is a member of the wax plant family, which is a group of popular succulents mostly grown indoors.
This variety is a climbing plant, producing trailing stems covered in green foliage with a vein-like pattern. Unlike some other members of the wax plant group, the Hoya finlaysonii thrives in low light conditions.
30. Asplenium fern
This plant is commonly referred to as the Bird’s Nest Fern due to its tight clustered foliage located at the top of a trunk. In fact, it’s both a fern and a succulent.
A member of the epiphyte succulents, which is a derived from a different ecosystem than traditional succulents, the Bird’s Nest Fern is a fairly easy going plant that can tolerate low light conditions.
For those looking for low light succulents that are safe for cats, look no further than the echeveria. This succulent produces compact rosette-like foliage that comes in various hues. It is native to Mexico, South America, and Central America.
Echeveria are low light succulents that are safe for cats and dogs, and can be grown in a cat-loving home. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should let your pet chew or play with the plant.
After all, even if a succulent is non toxic to your feline friend, your cat can still damage the plant if you allow them to bother it.
32. Crassula ovate ‘Gollum’
Called the Gollum Jade, Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ is a member of the Jade plant family that produces tubed foliage with a red tinged tip, which makes the plant look similar to ogre ears.
Gollum Jade grows the best when it has partial sunlight, but that doesn’t mean it cannot grow just fine in low light conditions. Keep in mind, however, that the lime green foliage will change to a deeper green when grown in shady settings.
33. Gasteria prolifera
Another member of the Ox tongue plant family, the Gasteria prolifera is a wonderful choice when it comes to low light succulents.
Not only does it handle shady areas without missing a beat, but it also produces thick, broad foliage that emerges two at a time from one central point. Additionally, this plant is covered in interesting markings and is easy to c
34. Schlumbergera truncata
Also known as the Christmas cactus, the Schlumbergera truncata is a coastal succulent that thrives in higher levels of humidity. It can also tolerate low light and shady environments.
The Schlumbergera truncata produces attractive blooms, but these will only occur when the plant is exposed to bright, indirect light. With that said, however, the plant has to go through a period of darkness before the flowering process can begin.
35. Hoya carnosa
Hoya carnosa is another Wax Plant that is by far the species most commonly grown indoors as a houseplant. While these non-fussy succulents do best when they are placed in a bright location, they can also do just fine in areas with shade or low levels of light.
Which succulents need the least amount of light?
String of bananas and string of pearls are two trailing succulents that need little light to thrive. In fact, these low light succulents can thrive in the shade and look amazing in hanging baskets. The Burro’s tail plant is another option that requires only a little amount of light.
Agaves, Haworthia, and aloes are a few other low light succulents that could work for your home.
Keep in mind, however, that even though a succulent can tolerate low levels of light, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need any light at all. In fact, most succulents do require some amount of sunlight or artificial light like LED grow lights to grow the best.
Which succulent plant can thrive in very low light conditions?
There are several low light succulents that thrive in shady areas that are extremely limited by the amount of sunlight they get. A few options include the snake plant, bear paw plant, Christmas cactus, ponytail palm, aloe vera, and zebra cactus.
Remember that even if the plant can handle low levels of light, it may not grow the best or as fast as if you placed it in an area where it would receive more light.
Do succulents do well in low light?
There are several different succulent species and varieties that do well in low light conditions. Remember, however, that most plants need some amount of light, and trying to grow any plant, even low light succulents, in full shade could result in stunted growth.
Since each species and variety of succulent has their own specific growing requirements, it’s always best to research the plant you want to grow. Check to ensure it can grow well in low light before bringing the plant home and to avoid any signs that your plants are not getting too much light.
Do any succulents do well in shade?
Some succulents do quite well in shady areas, though some light will be needed. Sansevierias are a succulent that can handle much lower levels of light than other succulent species, but it still cannot grow properly in full shade and so some light is needed for it to grow.
If you’re looking for a plant that can tolerate full shade, succulents may not be the right choice for your needs.
The Dracaena, for example, is a shade-loving houseplant that does just fine in extremely shaded areas. It will, however, have a slower growth rate than if it was placed in a sunnier area.
Can succulents grow in office light?
Succulents are a wonderful desk plant that can thrive in the artificial light of your office. In fact, some succulents actually grow better under office light, since you are able to control the amount of light it gets, as well as for how long.
Additionally, some low light succulents also have a compact size, which makes them ideal for desks and cubicles. No matter where you place the succulent in your office, make sure to only water the plant when the soil starts to feel dry.
Most succulents don’t require a lot of water, and can quickly decline if you overwatering them. In fact, root rot, which is caused by soggy soil, is the leading disease among most succulents. The good news, however, is that root rot is preventable.