Many gardening websites recommend succulent plants as the best plants for indoors such as an office. It's true that they require minimal care with respect to water, but the websites usually don't tell you how much sunlight they need to live on.

The best scenario is an outdoor garden with full sun, comparable to the dry desert environment which most succulents can survive and thrive. However as the websites state that they are suitable to be planted indoors, can we just assume that they can accept minimal light such as the light from the fluorescent tubes (not the extra one, but the default one in the office) in a normal office? Of course not.

I think there maybe some succulents that can live in such environment. So what are some succulents that need a fair amount of sunlight to live on, and what others need relatively less sunlight?

EDIT: Office conditions

Hong Kong is a subtropical region which is relatively warmer than some other places. In winter, the outdoor temperature is above 10 degree Celsius and it's much warmer indoors in a sealed office with people moving around. I guess it's not below 15 degree Celsius.

For the light, the default lighting we have is fluorescent lighting. If the plant is placed on the windowsill, it'll get some sunlight through the glass.

  • I can't figure out why somebody voted on closing this. Doesn't we need more interesting questions to grow? Nov 17, 2011 at 15:47
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    it got my +1, it's a worthwhile question. I don't see how it is any less constructive than the other plant-recommendation questions we've had.
    – bstpierre
    Nov 17, 2011 at 18:47
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    It's a general question, and we usually strive for specific questions. ("I have a room that gets 6 hours of sun. What succulent plants should I put in there?") Otherwise, answers tend to be laundry lists and it's hard to pick a "best" answer. Nov 17, 2011 at 19:11
  • It is specific enough. I already stated the environment. Nov 18, 2011 at 1:54
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    I don't understand you guys. How can you attract the users to stay in such unfriendly environment where your question would be closed or downvoted without telling the reason? Thanks for those people helping us to create an unfriendly environment! Nov 18, 2011 at 2:04

1 Answer 1


Most succulents require a lot of sunshine. However, there are many that don't mind some shade. Grassland succulents are characterized by extremely long flower stalks that are meant to shoot up above grass. So the plants with long flowerstems are more tolerant of lower light. Plants like Gasteria and Haworthia will grow well on windowsills. The only thing is that lower light means the plants won't be at their most compact attractive form and will likely not develop any of the more interesting colours and will just stay green.

Plants like Echeveria, Sedum, Semperivums, Pachyveria(Echieveria x Pachyphytum), etc... tend to look pretty poorly if they don't get full sunlight.

  • Great information. At least I know which one I shouldn't plant. And two genius of plant I can choose from. Nov 18, 2011 at 3:38
  • I found a site contain a lot of information about succulents, do you think you can recognize more species which you are condifent in lower light environment from them? succulent-plant.com/succulent-plant-families.html#aloaceae Nov 18, 2011 at 3:51
  • I'm afraid haworthia and gasteria are the only low light plants I grow...
    – srboisvert
    Nov 24, 2011 at 17:30
  • This is a bit late but now that I notice that you are in Hong Kong, I should mention that you are in a region that has access to spectacular haworthia and gasteria cultivars. Also if you can import from Japan they have the most awesome coveted and valuable plants (and I will be officially jealous of you).
    – srboisvert
    Aug 8, 2013 at 17:18
  • @srboisvert I think sempervivums look better if they don't get full sunlight (for instance, if they're by a tree), personally (since they tend to grow some tall leaves to block it out if they get too much, and that affects the appearance). Lots of sunlight (as opposed to full), however, is good for them. Maybe our sunlight is different here, though. Nov 25, 2014 at 2:11

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