Succulents are plants that store water in their tissues, enabling them to live in severe environments such as a desert. Many succulents thrive with full sun exposure. Once some varieties become accustomed to a low light environment, however, they can remain there indefinitely as long as they are cared for properly. Because succulents retain moisture in their thick foliage, they require soil that drains well and less water than typical houseplants.
Originating in central Africa, Mason’s Congo (Sansevieria masoniana) can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall by 2 feet (60 cm) wide. As an indoor plant, it requires little light or water. Its wide, dark-green leaf stalks are covered with lighter green spots, providing a statement in any office, and the plant is simple to maintain. Mason’s Congo is hardy outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zone 10.
The Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) is a popular indoor plant. It requires minimal watering and is known in Japanese folklore as the Money Plant. According to legend, it can lead to financial success. The thick trunk and branches give this plant a tree like look similar to a bonsai tree. If planted outdoors, the jade plant is considered a perennial succulent, thriving in sunlight to partial shade in areas where it is hardy, USDA zones 10a to 11a.
The Gasterias (Gasteria sp.) grow well indoors. Similar to the Aloe plants, Gasteria has long, spiny, green leaves that grow in a rosette or spiral form. The leaves are spear-shaped and, as true with all succulents, swollen with water-storing tissue. Gasteria is named for its stomach-shaped flowers. The largest Gasteria grows up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall. Gasteria is hardy outdoors in USDA zone 11 in sandy soil.
Zebra Plant (Haworthia fasciata) doesn’t take up much room and needs even less care. It’s the ideal succulent for busy lives. Hailing from South Africa, plants perch on soil and sport a tidy form with leaves that boast striking horizontal white stripes. Zebra Plant is hardy outdoors in USDA zones 9 through 11.
Perhaps the most commonly known succulent is Aloe vera. It can be grown in low-light environments, although it thrives in sunlight. Aloe vera is hardy outdoors in USDA zone 9.
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