Succulent Series – What to plant in full shade

Succulents for Full Shade

Welcome to the Succulent Series. In a special three-week series we take you through which succulents are best for Full sun, partial shade and full shade. This week we explore the gorgeous selection of succulents which thrive in shadier areas.


Shade-loving succulents are a class of their own. They thrive and multiply happily in cooler shadier areas that most other succulents will not survive in. We show you which succulents will work, and how to plant them in a visually pleasing way in a large pot or in your garden.

Step one: Have in mind where you would like your shady succulent arrangement. Do you want to change a part of your garden? Or would you prefer to just pot up a small arrangement?

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Step two: Have in mind the size of your space. Select some rocks or boulders. They really anchor the succulents and create height, texture and visual interest.

Step three: Choose your succulents. We used a mix of:

  • Haworthia black prince
  • Senecio Rowleyanus
  • Echeveria (suited to shade)
  • Rhipsalis cereuscula
  • Echeveria Melaco
  • Crassula Blue waves
  • Echeveria Afterglow
  • Elephants food, variegated


Step four: Fill your area with soil. Add plenty of good quality cactus and succulent mix, to get a good aerated soil for your succulents.

Step five: Position your boulders. In a larger garden bed it makes sense to use reasonably large boulders- in a smaller area or in a pot, fairly large rocks are perfect.

Step six: Plant your chosen plants around the boulders, creating clusters of plants. Remember to create visual interest with plants of different colours, height, textures and sizes.

succulent series succulents full shade lifestyle home garden blog nursery plant shop johannesburg gauteng landscaping garden gardeningTake into consideration the growth of each plant. Some will grow taller (copper spoon), some will grow wider (echeveria species) and some will grow long stalks which need to be cut back (elephants food, ).

Step seven: Finish off your area with gravel or pebbles to create a finished look. A thick layer of gravel stifles weeds too, so it’s both functional and decorative.

Care tips

Once you have planted your selected succulents and finished with pebbles, give it all a gentle watering to encourage them to establish. As with all succulents, they do not need much water.

With certain succulents such as Echeverias, the outer bottom leaves may wither and die. If this happens gently remove them. As long as the inner leaves are growing well, the plant is happy.

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There are other choices…

Take note that the succulents used above are not the only succulents which will do well in shady spots. These will also perform well:

  • sempervivums
  • senecium varieties
  • string of pearls, variegated or round varieties
  • bromeliads
  • crassula ovata- jade plant
  • crassula campfire (will remain green in full shade, it will turn bright red in full sun)
  • Echeveria hybrid gibbifloras as well as many more delicate Echeveria varieties
  • Kalanchoe Copperspoon
  • Euphorbia Firesticks (these will remain bright green in full shade. They will only be orange-red in full sun)

Did you know?

Planting succulents closely together creates a knitted, meshed appearance over time where the plants appear to form a mosaic of colour. This does NOT stifle their growth and will not make them unhappy. It slows down their growth a little bit so that nothing bolts.

Will this really work in full shade?

Yes! Many succulents grow naturally in the shade of large crevices or boulders. Not all succulents are from the same origins and they all have different needs and growing preferences. Haworthia, for example, are extremely hardy, but need the shade of a large rock to grow well. See more about Haworthia |HERE|

Allow your creativity to guide you and enjoy the process.


Has this Blog been helpful?

We would love to see what you are up to in your garden with succulents. Tag us on Instagram using the hashtags  #lifestylehomegarden and #succulentseriesZA and the tag @LifestyleHomeGarden so that we can see your posts!

If you haven’t seen our previous Succulent Series, get updated |HERE|

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