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Connecticut Garden Journal: Indoor succulents are easy to care for and make great houseplants

jade plant
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Jade is a popular houseplant and well-known succulent.

Indoor succulent houseplants are very popular. You see them arranged in small pots as centerpieces or growing by themselves in shallow bowls. They're easy houseplants because most are slow growing, shallow rooted and don't require regular watering. But they do need a brightly lit room.

Probably the two most popular succulents are aloe and jade. Aloe vera is a well-known succulent for the skin soothing gel that's inside the leaves. We like having one around for those occasional burns I get while cooking. Aloe vera can grow fast into a large plant that will flop over. That's why we've moved onto other species of Aloe that stay smaller in the pot such as Aloe saponaria.

Jade is a popular houseplant and well-known succulent. The fleshy leaves and stems are good clues to not water this baby too much. Jade is a slow growing succulent but can live for decades. My sister-in-law had one that was over 30 years old and it looked like a tree! They're easy to propagate by taking a short cutting, letting it callous over for 5 days, dipping it in rooting hormone powder and growing it in a small pot.

Some easy to grow succulents are truly unique. My non-gardener brother had an African Milk Tree given to him. This euphorbia family plant grows straight up 6- to 8-feet tall with thorns. In Africa it's used as a living animal fence and hedge. But when you prune it, arms form along the trunk giving it a saguaro look. My brother barely cared for this plant in his dimly lit home and it still thrived.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.