Succulents are a cheap and low-maintenance indoor plant that can liven up your living space and reduce stress.

Though it may not feel like it, spring is less than a month away, which means that it is the perfect time to freshen up your interior decor. And while it may not be economically feasible to buy new furniture every season, indoor plants can be a relatively inexpensive way to liven up just about any living space.

While taking a full course load and working on the side, it can seem intimidating to add one more responsibility into your daily routine. But with certain plants, and especially succulents, maintenance is incredibly easy. Many of the most popular and widely available succulents, such as aloe vera and echeveria elegans, only need a sunny spot on a window sill and a very occasional watering. In fact, succulents thrive in dry, well-drained soil. So, if you’re transplanting multiple succulents into a new pot, make sure there are holes in the bottom, and if you can put chunky rocks or gravel at the bottom, even better. The key is to keep the roots from sitting in water—a sure-fire way to kill the plant. With succulents, less is more.

Aloe Plant - Photo by Isadora Kuipers.
Aloe Plant - Photo by Isadora Kuipers.

But besides adding some much needed greenery to your living space, indoor plants have been shown to improve mental health. Keeping plants nearby in workspaces has also been shown to increase creativity. And some succulents, like aloe vera, are actually edible. Larger aloe plants can be harvested for their gel which, when eaten, can soothe digestive ailments, such as constipation, as well as improve dental health and prevent diabetes¹.

This video shows how to harvest the leaves and extract the gel, which can be consumed by itself or blended in smoothies.

Though one of the great benefits of keeping succulents is how little maintenance they require, the satisfaction that accompanies caring for another living thing and watching it grow can be extremely rewarding. When I first got my aloe vera plant, it was about the size of my hand. A year later, it stands about a foot tall. My little Home Depot succulent has outgrown its original plastic sleeve and now lives in a large terracotta pot in my bathroom by the shower. Being a plant dad has been a wonderful experience, and extremely easy (I’ve even knocked it on the floor, almost destroying it, and it has bounced back perfectly). For under fifteen dollars, my aloe plant has offered me atmosphere, entertainment, and, as sad as it may sound, companionship.