Indoor Succulents

A special thing about succulents is the wide variety of physical forms they take. To accommodate as many of them as I can, I'm sticking to small plants. Here are the ones I'm growing indoors so far.

Although there is a wide range of growing media used by successful growers, I'm increasingly having best success with pure granular Turface (bonsai people know it as Akadama) combined with feet on my pots for ventilation through the bottom hole. When bottom watering, it soaks up liquid quickly to the depth of water provided then stops, so watering and draining are both quick and precise. It keeps air movement and drainage wet or dry because it doesn't swell when wet.

My indoor temperature is normally 21C, humidity 50% summer, 30% winter. Sun level is moderately low (north and north-west windows) so is supplemented by wide-spectrum LED lamps on timers.

Outside, I've half a dozen blooming Sedum; Opuntias basilaris var.aurea, 'Crystal Tide', humifusa, phaeacantha and Xcolumbiana have each survived a winter and a year of squirrel predation, but none have bloomed yet.


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Acanthocereus tetragonus originated from Central America. 'Fairy Castle' is a "miniature" cultivar (it can still reach 2 m height) with many curved branches. Sadly, the chlorophyl of two of these has died leaving them colourless; plants were firm and roots looking good until the end. Acanthocereus tetragonus
Adenium obesum is a caudiciform plant from south of the Sahara desert in Africa. Its sap contains cardiac glycosides used as arrow poison for hunting large game throughout much of Africa and as a fish toxin. Adenium obesum
Adromischus cristatus is endemic to the eastern cape of South Africa. Adromischus cristatus Adromischus cristatus
Aechmea fasciata is a bromeliad from south-east Brazil that can grow to 40 cm in diameter. It won't fit on my shelf by then :( Aechmea fasciata
Agave flexiflora is native to Arizona. As with all Agave, it dies after blooming but is supposed to grow for 100 years first. Let's hope! Agave flexiflora
Aloe 'Minnie Belle' is probably a selection of A.juvenna. If it is, it's native to Kenya. Aloe 'Minnie Belle'
Anacampseros filamentosa is native to the Karoo region of South Africa. It's leaves wiggle like Jello! Anacampseros filamentosa
Anacampseros rufescens is native to western South Africa; although this one looks dehydrated compared to most of its genus, it's growing well. Anacampseros rufescens
Anacampseros telephiastrum is also native to western South Africa. Anacampseros telephiastrum
Aeonium arboreum is native to the Mediterranean region; this is the 'Zwartkop' selection. Aeonium arboreum
Austrocylindropuntia subulata is from the Peruvian Andes where it grows to 4 m height; it's used for fencing throughout South America. I'll have to find a larger home for it long before then! Austrocylindropuntia subulata
Beaucarnea recurvata is native to eastern Mexico. It's slow growing but can reach 4 m with time and good light. Beaucarnea recurvata
Bowiea volubilis is native to areas of South Africa where soil is poor, moisture is minimal and heat is severe. Bowiea volubilis
Brasiliopuntia braziliensis eventually grows a slender erect trunk up to 8 m tall lined with flat segments. I won't have room for it by then! Brasiliopuntia brazilensis
Cephalocereus senilis is native to eastern Mexico; the wool is used there for sweaters. It has central spines, but they are very short and hidden by the radial "wool". It needs very sharp drainage to avoid rot. Cephalocereus senilis
Cereus peruvianus, the Peruvian apple cactus, has edible fruit when full size (up to 10 m tall). This is the monstrose form, which instead of growing from a single areole per branch, grows from random points to produce a plant that's asymmetrical and covered in knobby bumps. Hopefully it won't grow as tall as normal form. Cereus peruvianus monstrose
Cotyledon orbiculata undulata is a selection of a South African species. The white surface is a waxy layer that helps to protect the leaves from excess light. However, it also prevents the leaves from absorbing water directly, so is a climate-dependent tradeoff. Cotyledon orbiculata undulata
Crassula argentia 'Coral' is from southern Africa; many consider it a synonym for C.ovata. Crassula argentia 'Coral'
Crassula 'Buddha's Temple' is C.pyramidalis X C.perfoliata. Crassula 'Buddha's Temple'
Crassula marnieriana 'Hottentot' is from southern Africa; it's easy to multiply by cuttings. Crassula marnieriana 'Hottentot' Crassula marnieriana 'Hottentot'
Crassula muscosa is native to Namibia and South Africa. It's very susceptible to root rot. Crassula muscosa
Crassula perforata is from South Africa. As with many other Crassula, it absorbs water deposited on its leaves (fog and dew); they swell up to 20% of their thickness this way. Crassula perforata
Cylindropuntia subulata is native to the Peruvian Andes. The native form is tree-sized, but this form is supposed to stay pot-sized. Cylindropuntia subulata
Delosperma echinatum's name derives from that for the British hedgehog Echinus, prickly; the plant itself is native to South Africa. Delosperma echinatum Delosperma echinatum
Duvalia corderoyl is native to South Africa and has 5 cm flowers that attract carrion flies and beetles. Duvalia corderoyl
Echeveria agavoides is from Mexico. Echeveria agavoides
Echeveria minima is from Mexico and the smallest of its genus. Echeveria minima Echeveria minima
Echeveria setosa var.deminuta (E.rundelli) is also native to Mexico. Echeveria setosa var.deminuta Echeveria setosa var.deminuta
Echinopsis caulescens, one of the 'barrel' cacti, is from Bolivia. Echinopsis caulescens
Echinopsis obrepanda, known as the Easter Lily cactus from its blooming time, is from Bolivia. Echinopsis obrepanda
Euphorbia (formerly Monodenium) coccineum is native to Tanzania. As with all Euphorbia, the sap causes a skin rash for most people and is best avoided. Euphorbia coccineum Euphorbia coccineum
Euphorbia knuthii is from southern Africa. When older, it will develop an underground caudex. If the plant is potted with the caudex displayed above ground, the caudex stops growing. Euphorbia knuthii
Euphorbia tuberculata is also from South Africa. This one is still getting rooted. Euphorbia tuberculata
Fenestraria rhopalophylla aurantiaca is native to South Africa. Fenestraria rhopalophylla aurantiaca
Ficus retusa originates from the Malay Archipelago and is one of many tropical caudiciform trees that are popular for bonsai. Ficus retusa
Gasteria 'Little Warty' is a shallow-rooted hybrid from South Africa; it's susceptible to fungal infections so bottom watering is important. Gasteria 'Little Warty'
Graptopetalum pentandrum is from Mexico Graptopetalum pentandrum
Greenovia diplocycla is from the Canary Islands. It doesn't form offsets and each leaf rosette dies after blooming, so it must be propagated by seed. Fortunately it's self-fertile so I might manage to keep it. Greenovia diplocycla
Gymnocalycium denudatum is native to central South America. Gymnocalycium denudatum
Hatiora rosea from Brazil, known as the Easter Cactus from its blooming time, is an epiphyte in its natural habitat. When grown in soil, the roots need access to air or it rots. It needs a cool (but non-freezing) winter to bloom, cooler than most North American homes. Hatiora rosea
Haworthia cooperi is a variable species from the Eastern Cape of South Africa. It's known by many disputed names and varieties; this one seems best known as var.gordianum. Haworthia cooperi Haworthia cooperi
Haworthia pygmaea originates from South Africa where it grows sunken beneath the ground with only flattened leaf tops showing on the surface; its roots pull it down to that level. However, its flower stalk is 25 cm high, enabling bee-flies to find it. Haworthia pygmaea Haworthia pygmaea
Haworthia springbokvlakensis ("flat areas where springbok antelopes are found" in Africaans) comes from the dry interior of South Africa. It grows almost buried, in deep shade and covered with dust. Haworthia springbokvlakensis Haworthia springbokvlakensis
Huernia zebrina, known as a lifesaver flower, is native to south-west African deserts. Huernia zebrina Huernia zebrina
Hylocereus undatus is a climbing shade-tolerant soft-stemmed cactus that probably originated from the Caribbean. Hybrids and selections are now grown around the tropical world for fruit: pitaya or dragon fruit. Unopened flowers are also eaten as a vegetable. Most plants have 3-sided stems, but this one is 4-sided; 5-sided also exist. Hylocereus undatus
Kalanchoe daigremontiana from Madagascar only reproduces vegetatively from plantlets that develop on its leaf margins. Although it does bloom, no male plants have ever been found. It's nicknamed 'mother of thousands' for good reason. A too-easy succulent to grow and multiply. Kalanchoe daigremontiana
Kalanchoe hybrids based on K.bossfeldiana are widely sold. All parts of all Kalanchoe contain cardiotoxic bufadienolides to deter herbivores, so should be kept away from small children and pets. Kalanchoe hybrid
Kalanchoe beharensis has velvety leaves and is from Madagascar. Kalanchoe beharensis
Kalanchoe humilis is from the Tanzanian area of Africa. Kalanchoe humilis
Kalanchoe tomentosa is from Madagascar. The pot is from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy; to me it's a symbol of my love for plants and woods. Kalanchoe tomentosa
Kleinia stapeliiformis is native to the southern Cape of South Africa. Kleinia stapeliiformis
Ledebouria socialis is native to the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It's widely known as Scilla violacea (its original name) or Ledebouria violacea. It's a bulbous succulent in that its bulb is used both for food storage during dormancy and for water storage. Ledebouria socialis Ledebouria socialis
Lithops are native to southern Africa in arid stony environments. They're called 'living stones' for good reason: in their sunny arid native habitat they mimic the stones around them so perfectly that they're almost impossible to spot there except when they flower. The top surface is translucent, the photosynthetic parts are located inside the plant at its base. There are hundreds of named species; most are just populations locally adapted to the colours of the stony surfaces they live on. Lithops
Mammillaria bocasana is native to mountains of northern Mexico and often called "power puff" cactus. Unlike most cacti, its spines are hooked like burrs; instead of generating an electrical charge on the plant to attract fog droplets, they hook onto the fur of passing animals, pulling out a meristem at the hook base that can grow into a new plant. Mammillaria bocasana Mammillaria bocasana
Mammillaria longimamma from Mexico forms large clumps with age, has a fairly large tap root, and needs a deep pot. Mammillaria longimamma Mammillaria longimamma
Mammillaria pringlei is from Mexico; some consider it a subspecies of M.rhodantha. Mammillaria pringlei Mammillaria pringlei
Monadenium ritchiei is native to Kenya; as a deciduous succulent it needs frequent but light watering. Monadenium ritchiei
Opuntia ficus-indica (often called O.vulgaris) was probably originally from central Mexico. It's been a domesticated crop plant in Mexico for 9000 years, and is now grown world wide in arid climates for its pads, juice and fruits. This is a variegated form. Opuntia ficus-indica
Opuntia vestita, cristata form. The regular form is from South America; cristata forms rarely bloom. Tightly folded cristata cacti are sometimes called brain cacti. No one is sure what modifies the growing tip (meristem) to cause these mutations. Opuntia vestita cristata
Orbea speciosa comes from Natal and is also known as O.macloughlinii. Orbea speciosa
Oreocereus trollii is native to Peru; its long orange spines combined with "wool" identify it. Oreocereus trollii
Oscularia deltoides is a spreading succulent native to South Africa. I'm growing this one as a natural bonsai. Oscularia deltoides
Pachyphytum ganzhou is probably a hybrid, P.viride×Sedum craigii. Pachyphytum ganzhou
Pachypodium bispinosum's caudiciform stem is mostly below ground in its native South Africa, but is usually cultivated to show it off, as here. It's indistinguishable from P.succulentum when not in bloom. Pachypodium bispinosum
Pachypodium lamerei is from Madagascar. Despite its leaves, most of its photosynthesis is done by the trunk. Pachypodium lamerei
Peperomia graveolens is native to the Andes of southern Ecuador. Peperomia graveolens
Parodia leninghausii is native to southern Brazil. Parodia leninghausii
Pleiospilos nelii is from Africa; given its native green colouring, it presumably lives among ground mosses. Pleiospilos nelii Pleiospilos nelii
Portulacaria afra is a a soft-wooded semi-evergreen succulent plant from South Africa. It's popular for indoor bonsai; this is the variegated "Medio-picta" form. Portulacaria afra medio-picta
Pseudorhipsalis ramulosa (aka Disocactus ramulosus) is native to Central and South America. Unlike many succulents, it requires regular watering. It develops more red colouration with increased sun and age, but yellows in direct sunlight. Pseudorhipsalis ramulosa
Rebutia 'Sunrise' (R.heliosa X R.albiflora) parents are native to high regions of South America. Rebutia 'Sunrise'
Rhipsalis pilocarpa is from Brazil; as with many other unusual popular species, it's native only to a few isolated locations. It naturally grows as an epiphyte, but accepts acid peat-rich soil. Rhipsalis pilocarpa Rhipsalis pilocarpa
Schlumbergera x buckleyi is an epiphyte from Brazil known as the Christmas cactus from its blooming time in Canada. Schlumbergera x buckleyi
Schlumbergera truncata is an epiphyte from Brazil; it's often called Thanksgiving cactus but mine always bloom best in late winter. Schlumbergera truncata Schlumbergera truncata
Sedum 'Little Missy' is supposed to be hardy in Ottawa; time will tell. Sedum 'Little Missy' Sedum 'Little Missy'
Sedum morganianum is from Mexico. Sedum morganianum
Sedum sexangulare is from Europe & Asia and is hardy outdoors in Ottawa. Sedum sexangulare Sedum sexangulare
Sedum spurium is from the Caucasus and is hardy outdoors in Ottawa; this is a selected red form. Sedum spurium
Sempervivum arachnoideum forms a 'spider web' at its center. Sempervivum arachnoideum
Sempervivum 'Commander Hay' develops strong red and green patterns with age. Sempervivum 'Commander Hay'
Sempervivum 'Gold Nugget' is sold as being a brilliant gold with equally brilliant red tips. However, this is how it actually looks most of the year! Sempervivum 'Gold Nugget'
Senecio articulatus is native to South Africa. This is the beginning of a bonsai-inspired forest. Senecio articulatus Senecio articulatus
Senecio herreianus from southwest Africa forms long strings of succulent leaves. Senecio herreianus
Senecio pendulus is a succulent native to mountains of north-east Africa, often called "inchworm" from its growth habit. Its classification has bounced around among several genera. Senecio pendulus
Senecio rowleyanus, often called 'string of pearls', is also from southwest Africa and also forms long strings of succulent leaves. Senecio rowleyanus
Stenocereus pruinosus is abundant in Mexico where it's cultivated for its fruit. When full size it's a tree-like columnar cactus up to 7 m tall with many stems rising from the base. Stenocereus pruinosus
Tephrocactus papyracanthus is from western Argentina, the paper 'spines' are unique. Tephrocactus papyracanthus
Tephrocactus weberi is from Argentina; its 7 cm spines are spectacular. Tephrocactus weberi
Titanopsis calcarea is from South Africa. Titanopsis calcarea
Tradescantia pallida is native to northern Mexico and grown widely for its striking purple foliage. This one has more green than purple. Tradescantia pallida

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