The pitfalls of being a plant parent are legion, particularly if you weren’t blessed with a green thumb. Fortunately, even serial houseplant killers can successfully keep a succulent alive. This category of plants is famously low maintenance in that they require relatively infrequent watering and no special attention. (We’d go so far as to say they’re begging to be neglected!) If this sounds like a good fit for your home, we suggest you read on for the full scoop on the different types of succulents—courtesy of Erin Marino, plant expert and editorial lead at The Sill—before you hit the garden center.

How many varieties of succulent plants are there?

There are thousands of succulent varieties, but a precise number is hard to identify because, Marino explains, “succulent is an umbrella term that can be attributed to any plant that has evolved adaptations to survive arid conditions [and] does not refer to any specific family of plants.” What’s more, Marino tells us that it’s possible for non-succulent plants to become succulents, or at least more succulent, in response to changes in their climate conditions, so the number of varieties isn’t even fixed. That said, all succulents do share some common characteristics: They hail from hot and dry climates, require less watering than your average houseplant and possess some “physical characteristic that relates to their moisture-storing capacity (be it plump leaves, thick stems or rhizomes).”

RELATED: 10 Shrubs You Should Never Prune in the Fall

Types of Succulents 1
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How do I know what kind of succulent I have?

Given the vast number of succulent varieties out there, and the fact that they don’t all belong to the same botanical family, it should come as no surprise that it can be quite difficult to determine what kind of succulent you have on your hands. If you’re curious about yours, Marino suggests bringing a photo to your favorite plant shop and having an expert weigh in. Of course, you can also just type a physical description of the plant into your search bar and take a stab at it yourself. (Or use your phone to take a photo using Google Lens and see what it reveals.)

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What is the most common type of succulent?

“Aloe, Haworthia, Echeveria, String of’s—String of Pearls, String of Dolphins—assorted cacti, Snake Plant, ZZ Plant, Jade Plant, and some Hoya varieties,” are among the most popular succulent house plants, says Marino. (More on those—and more—as you scroll.)

Do indoor succulents like sun?

The answer to this question is an unequivocal yes. Succulents typically come from hot, sunny and arid environments, so it’s particularly important to ensure they get enough light when you bring them indoors. In fact, “all plants, aside from a few unique exceptions, require light [because] it’s an essential part of their photosynthesis process,” says Marino. As such, it’s not a question of whether or not you should give your succulent some sun, but rather what kind of sunlight it prefers (i.e., direct or indirect).

If you’re not sure what degree of light your plant requires, Marino recommends playing it safe with a spot that receives bright, indirect light. Your succulent will let you know if it’s getting too much direct sun: “If your plant is turning pale and yellowish-green, or scorched areas are visible, it could be a sign it...needs to be moved further into your space, away from the window.”

17 types of succulents you should know:

So you’re ready to spruce up your pad with an easygoing succulent, but feel a tad overwhelmed by all the options. We get it, which is why we’re sharing our favorite types of succulents.

The Sill

1. Haworthia

This pet-friendly option is a petite succulent with textured, spiky leaves. It thrives in bright indirect to direct light but can tolerate more medium-indirect light than other common succulents. As with most of the succulents on our list, Haworthia should be watered every two to three weeks—more often in brighter light and less often in lower light—while allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.

Buy it ($45 for Haworthia and Echeveria bundle)

Bloomscape

2. Aloe

Aloe plants prefer bright direct light but can tolerate bright indirect light—just be sure to water them every 2–3 weeks when the soil feels completely dry to the touch to keep their thick, fleshy leaves healthy.

Buy it ($39)

The Sill

3. Echeveria

Echeveria plants come in an array of different shapes and colors, but they all stand out for their striking rosette appearance. (Note: Most Echeveria varieties are pet-friendly, too.) These guys do best in bright direct light but can handle bright indirect light as well. Water them every two to three weeks in direct light, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.

Buy it ($45 for Haworthia and Echeveria bundle)

Amazon

4. Jade Plant

Jade plants, also known as Crassula if you want to be scientific, look a little bit like miniature trees, and their attractive appearance has made them a very popular decorative option. Best of all, they’ll survive a very long time so long as you keep them in bright direct light—they can tolerate bright indirect light, too—and water them every two to three weeks.

$13 at Amazon

The Sill

5. Snake Plant

A medium-sized succulent that’s sure to make a statement, the snake plant can grow six to twelve inches tall when given medium to bright indirect light. These particularly hardy houseplants are also drought-resistant and nearly impossible to kill. That said, it’s best to water them every 2–3 weeks and allow the soil to become completely dry between waterings.

Buy it ($57)

The Sill

6. ZZ Plant

With its wide, dark green leaves, the Zamioculcas zamiifolia, or ZZ plant, is an especially attractive indoor plant. Avoid intense, direct sun and opt for medium to bright indirect light with this one. As for watering, once every two to three weeks is all it takes to keep the drought-resistant ZZ plant healthy.

Buy it ($65)

Plants.com

7. String of Pearls

The dainty trailing beads of this perennial succulent make it an eye-catching option for a hanging house plant—just be sure to place it near a window, so that it gets six to eight hours of bright, indirect light each day. (If the light is too direct, move your string of pearls a little farther away from the window to protect it from sunburn.) It’s also important not to overwater this succulent: Only give it a drink every two to three weeks when the weather is warm and mild, and once a month in the winter.

Buy it ($58)

The Sill

8. Hoya

The Hoya plant is a flowering vine with long tendrils, thick, waxy leaves and, when the conditions are right, clusters of fragrant blossoms. However, it’s worth noting that this exotic house plant can be a bit trickier to care for than some of the other succulents on the list. As such, you might consider starting with a leaf clipping (as pictured above) for a low-maintenance option that will be sitting pretty so long as it gets bright or indirect light, and water every two to three weeks.

Buy it ($32)

The Sill

9. Sempervivum

Sometimes called houseleeks or ‘hen and chicks,’ the succulents of the Sempervivum genus are distinguished by their rosette shape and brightly colored, pointy leaves. This pet-friendly plant is both cold hardy and easy to care for indoors—just provide it with bright direct to indirect light and water it every two to three weeks and you’re good to go.

Buy it ($45)

The Sill

10. Peperomia

This genus of tropical plants includes the ‘baby rubber plant’ (pictured above)—a low maintenance succulent with thick, juicy leaves. Bright indirect to low light and watering every one to two weeks is recommended for this pet-friendly house plant. Show it some love, and it might even return the favor with a yearly display of white flowers.

Buy it ($38)

Etsy

11. Kalanchoe

These thick-leaved tropical succulents are favored for their eye-catching, brightly colored flowers. To ensure your Kalanchoe blooms, place it in a spot that receives lots of bright, indirect light and water it generously every three weeks (and only when the soil has dried out).

Buy it ($49)

Bloomscape

12. Dracaena

A dramatic addition to any indoor space, the Dracaena is a large, tree-like succulent with woody stems and drooping, bright green leaves. This low-maintenance looker prefers low-to-bright indirect light and should be watered roughly every one to two weeks, or when the top soil is dry to the touch.

Buy it ($199)

Succulent Market

13. Gasteria

The wide, thick and sometimes textured (read, warty) leaves on dark green succulent bear a resemblance to those of the aloe plant. The gasteria plant needs lots of bright light, but not too much intense sun to thrive. Like all the succulents on our list, this one needs minimal water—simply give it a drink when the soil has dried out and it will be happy.

Buy it ($7)

Wayfair

14. Euphorbia

Although this funky succulent looks a whole lot like a cactus, it actually belongs to an entirely different family. The euphorbia blooms easily, displaying small white or yellow flowers, and needs very little. Give this plant plenty of time in full, direct sunlight and water it only when the soil is completely dry, and it won’t give you any trouble.

Buy it ($86)

Etsy

15. Agave

You’re probably familiar with the popular sweetener that’s sourced from this South American succulent, but it can be enjoyed as an attractive house plant, too. Indeed, the spiky agave plant will take kindly to a container, provided you water it when the soil has completely dried and place it in a spot that receives at least six hours of direct sun.

Buy it ($20)

Etsy

16. Ice Plant

Often used outdoors for ground cover, the ice plant can also be planted in a hanging basket as a trailing indoor succulent. If you spring for an ice plant, water it every two weeks and make sure to find it a spot where it gets full sun.

Buy it ($29)

Etsy

17. Moonstone Plant

This small to medium-sized succulent has a distinctive appearance, boasting pastel-colored leaves so plump they look like little eggs. Moonstone succulents need lots of light, so a sunny windowsill is an ideal spot for these guys. In terms of watering, the moonstone, like most succulents, is drought-resistant and sensitive to overwatering—simply hydrate them every two weeks, or when the soil is totally dry, and they’ll be satisfied.

Buy it ($10)

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