Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
While it is true that many succulents prefer full sun, there are a number that will thrive in less sunny situations. This applies to indoor plants as well as those that are grown outdoors.
Several of the hardy stonecrops are adapted to lower light conditions. These include Sedum rupestre, which is known as the blue spruce stonecrop.
For outdoor shady gardens, nothing beats the shade loving spurges. Several species are adapted to partial shade.
Cushion spurge (Euphorbia epithymoides)
This is hardy to zone four. It was originally native to Europe. Suited to woodland gardens, this is a spring blooming species. During the spring the plants are covered with delightful, yellow-green floral bracts.
This evergreen has foliage that can become reddish-tinged during the autumn. This plant can reach 1½ feet in height. It forms a clump that can become more open as the plant ages. There are several cultivars, including one with purple-tinged leaves.
Wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides)
Originally native to Europe, this is an excellent choice for woodland gardens. This hardy perennial can reach 2¾ feet in height. An evergreen, it blooms during the late spring to early summer. It has colorful yellow floral bracts. There are several excellent cultivars, including ones with purplish-red foliage. This species is hardy to zone six or so.
Indoor Plants for Lower Light Conditions
The wax plant (Hoya carnosa) doesn’t require quite as much sun as some succulents that are grown as house plants. The common wax plant is only winter hardy to zone ten or so. Elsewhere, it needs to be brought indoors for the winter months. This twining vine needs a support. It was originally native to China. This has attractive, thick, leathery leaves that are opposite. This is much loved for its sweetly scented blooms, which have a waxy appearance.
One of the snake plants is adapted to low light conditions when grown as house plants. Sansevieria trifasciata will thrive without bright light. Originally native to tropical Africa, this species is winter hardy to zone ten or so. Under good growing conditions, this snake plant can reach four feet in height. This species has spreading, creeping rhizomes from which new shoots emerge. Very stiff and erect, the dark green leaves are marked with lines of light green. There are a number of cultivars and varieties of this species. These include the bird nest snake plant.