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Neglectable Houseplants

Succulents are commonly known as "neglectable plants" for their ability to thrive in otherwise inhospitable conditions of little water and sunshine.

Succulent Red Cactus

Photo: Randy Son of Robert

Succulents such as this succulent red cactus are known as "neglectable plants" for their ability to thrive with little water and sunshine.

In her book, Making Things Grow—a Practical Guide for the Indoor Gardener, Thalassa Cruso calls succulents “neglectable plants.” All fleshy-leaved succulents are slow to lose the water stored in their leaves and can go into dormancy as a way to conserve water during drought. Cruso says that is why succulents make such good houseplants–they thrive in the hot dry conditions in our homes which allows us to, on occasion, neglect them. Of course the degree of succulence in the tissues of plants varies but the amount predicts just how long a plant can go without any water.

With all succulents, always repot using a dry soil mix and never bury any of the leaves. These plants require less water than other houseplants, and they will rot if they become waterlogged. Water sparingly: only when the soil is quite dried out in the pot. Succulents are durable plants and can usually be left at home alone while we vacation.

Here are just a few examples of succulents:

  • Gloxinias
  • African violets
  • hoyas
  • sempervivums
  • sedums
  • various types of cacti

A Note on Cacti

At this time of the year, the Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus plants are getting ready to delight us with their colorful flower displays for the holidays. Some experts advise us to withhold water from these plants for the month before their expected season of bloom as a way to precipitate dense flowering.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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  • Ptlomagirl

    I can't find the red, pear-shaped succulent shown here. Can you give me the name of it?

  • Shahrzad Rahmani

    what should i do in order to keep the color red????

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