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Botany Experts Pick the Succulents You Need to Brighten Each Room in Your Home

Snake plants and mistletoe cactus and prickly pear, oh my!


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Transforming each room with plants and decorative succulents is one of the best ways to boost the energy in your home. The only problem is, there are quite a lot of succulents and succulent-adjacent plants (think: cacti, snake plants, etc.) and it’s hard to know where to begin. There are so many soul-enriching characteristics of plants—from healing aloe to the lightly fragrant Vick's Plant. To guide us through decorating each room of the house with various succulents, we consulted Netherlands-based botanist Thomas Nouwens, co-owner of tplants, a small succulent and cactus nursery, and Los Angeles-based Natalie Flores Blackner, SPY Garden Community Engagement Coordinator, who has been working in farming for 10 years.

These are the succulents our experts recommend for each room of your house:

Master Bedroom

Expert pick: Epiphyllum, String of Pearls, Mistletoe Cactus

“In your bedroom I prefer hanging succulents and cacti in front of the window,” says Nouwens.

For the bedroom window, Nouwens likes Senecio Rowleyanus, which is also known as a String of Pearls plant, Sedum Morganianum (or Donkey’s Tail), mistletoe cactus (“Rhipsalis”), and Epiphyllum, a beautiful orchid-eqsue cacti. Each of these four picks have a “calming effect,” says Nouwens.

Kitchen and Dining Area

Expert pick: Devil’s Tongue, Prickly Pear Cacti

“As long as you can still cook without poking yourself, I think it's one of the most hospitable places for your cacti,” says Flores Blackner.

Specifically, she recommends a burrow’s tongue near the kitchen stove. If your stove is near a floating shelf or a window, this is a perfect spot for your burrow’s tongue. “It loves the heat,” she says.

Nouwens recommends a similar family of cacti for the kitchen and dining area. Specifically, he says “many species of Opuntia cactus are edible,” which lends themselves well to livening the space where meals are created and enjoyed. Burrow’s Tongue technical name is Opuntia Humifusa—it’s also called Devil’s Tongue.

Nouwens also recommends Opuntia Ficus-Indica, which is known to us as a Prickly Rear Cactus. “Opuntia Ficus-Indica was thoroughly researched in 2006, and they found that the seeds or seed oil had anti-hyperlipidemic, cholesterol-reducing, and antidiabetic effects,” he says.

Home Office

Expert pick: Snake Plant, Vick’s Plant

Flores Blackner swears by having a snake plant as an office companion. It’s really the best coworker you can have in a home office.

Nouwens also favors Plectranthus Tomentosa, known as Vick’s Plant, because it “has a very mint-like smell.” The fragrance of succulents is usually very subtle—or often non-existent. And truthfully, fragrant plants don’t work in all rooms of the house. You don’t want certain plant scents interfering with your Alison Roman kitchen creations, to be sure. But mint is supposed to inspire calm and help with focus, making this plant ideal for your home office.


Expert pick: Aloe Vera

Flores Blackner recommends aloe for the bathroom, simply because “it's one of the best air-purifying succulents.”

But that’s not the only reason she likes it for a master bath. It’s also a perfect plant for the room you’re bound to take long, luxurious baths in. “I personally am partial to aloe as it's very healing for the body and beautiful,” she says.

Living Room

Expert pick: Blooming Cactus

First, keep in mind that there are ways to decorate with plants (even the prickly ones) and still ensure you’re cultivating a space that’s safe for young children. “I think the most important thing to take into consideration is if you have animals or kids that could potentially knock one over,” says Flores Blackner. “We have both so most of our plants have to go up high.”

Something a lot of succulent fans might not realize is that there’s more room to play with color than you might think. Flores Blackner and Nouwens both advocate for bringing some color into your succulent arrangements, which is perhaps best done in the living or family room, to inspire a sense of laid-back fun.

Flores Blackner gets fairly playful with her living room plants—she has “a string of bananas hanging from my bookshelf.”


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