Houseplant cacti and succulents

Low maintenance and drought tolerant, cacti and succulents make attractive and easy-to-grow houseplants. A few can also be grown outdoors in sunny, well-drained conditions. Readily available in great diversity, these often inexpensive plants are fascinating and highly collectable.


Cacti and succulents are easily recognisable by their fleshy leaves or stems, in which they store water. They come in a huge range of shapes, colours and forms, some covered in spines, others smooth or furry, some gently rounded, others angular and sculptural.


They enjoy lots of sun and free-draining compost, and thrive in our centrally heated homes where the air is quite dry. A few can survive outdoors over winter in well-drained sites, but most fare best under cover, protected from the rain.


These drought-tolerant plants don’t like damp conditions, especially in winter, and will rot if overwatered. Most are also sun-lovers and aren’t happy in poor light away from windows.

Did you know?

The succulent Aloe vera makes an attractive and potentially handy houseplant, as it is traditionally used to soothe mild sunburn.

Growing guide

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.