by Jennifer Poindexter
Have you recently started growing succulents? They’re becoming quite trendy. Yet, one of the things gardeners want to know is how much sunlight do succulents really need?
There’s a fine balance when applying sunlight to succulents. Lighting needs also vary by the type of succulent.
If you’d like to learn more about caring for your succulent plants, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to walk you through what you need to know to ensure your succulents receive enough sunlight without overdoing it.
Here’s what you must know about providing adequate lighting for your succulents.
1. Lighting Basics for Succulents
There are a few general rules when providing light for succulents. Most succulents love light! They need full sun for approximately six hours per day.
You’ll know your plants aren’t receiving enough sunlight if their color begins to fade. As you provide sunlight, ensure you rotate your succulents.
If you don’t practice rotation, the plant will begin to lean to receive more sun on the unexposed side. Therefore, by rotating the plant, you ensure it grows straight and all sides receive sunlight equally.
This also helps produce stronger plants. Those which lean are typically weaker as they aren’t receiving what they need.
These are the basics when it comes to providing adequate lighting for your succulents. There’s more to learn, so let’s keep the discussion going.
2. Providing Light to a New Succulent
New succulents, whether baby plants or new to your growing space, need time to acclimate. You can’t throw them in a growing location with full sun and expect positive results.
In fact, if you do this, your plant will most likely scorch. Therefore, for new plants, it’s best to consider your growing space.
If you’re growing a new plant indoors, start with indirect light. You can add a sheer curtain to your window to ensure the light is filtered.
When growing a new plant outdoors, it takes multiple steps to ensure your plant receives the right amount of lighting.
To start, only allow the succulent to receive morning light. Each day, leave the plant a little longer in the sun before pulling it back to partial shade.
Eventually, it will work up to being able to handle decent amounts of sunlight throughout the day. These are a few examples of how you can adjust a succulent to its growing location without allowing your plant to become scorched.
3. Moving Indoor Succulents Outdoors
Depending upon your planting zone, there might be times when you want to move your indoor succulents outside.
When the time comes for this to occur, you can’t place them outside and forget them. Again, your plants could become scorched and ultimately die.
It only takes an hour, or less, for a plant to get in this condition. You must be mindful when moving your plants around into new lighting.
As suggested in our last section, you should start your plants off with only receiving morning sun. You can leave the plant longer and longer until the afternoon sun arrives.
At this point, it might still be wise to move the plant to where it’ll receive partial shade. The hottest and brightest portion of the day can still prove difficult on certain types of succulents.
Take these tips into consideration when allowing your indoor succulents to move outdoors during the appropriate times of the year.
4. Lighting for Outdoor Succulents
In some areas, you may be able to grow succulents outdoors year-round. If this is the case, you must slowly introduce them to their growing location.
However, there might be times during the year when these plants must survive scorching temperatures along with the bright sunlight.
This can prove problematic for many succulents. During times of scorching heat, it’s important to provide shade to your plants.
Succulents can survive in shaded locations, but it will hinder their growth. This is why it’s only recommended during times of extreme temperature shifts and not something that should be practiced on a regular basis.
You should also water your succulent, deeply, one time per week until the temperatures cool off. This will increase the humidity around the plant, and help it survive.
It’s also important that you don’t do anything to cause undue stress on the plant. This means that you shouldn’t propagate, change planters, or fertilize your succulents when temperatures are high.
As important as it is to ensure that your succulents receive enough sunlight, it’s equally as important to protect them during times of bright lighting and extreme heat. It can prove to be a deadly combination for some succulents, if not cared for properly.
5. Lighting Specifications for Indoor Succulents
When providing adequate lighting for succulents, how you go about it depends greatly on your planting zone and growing location.
If growing succulents indoors, they’ll need brighter lighting because it’s hard for the plant to receive light with the same strength as they would outdoors.
In nature, succulents grow in semi-desert locations. They’re smaller plants which grow low to the ground. Therefore, they’re provided with natural lighting. They are also offered protection from the taller plants surrounding them.
Indoor succulents aren’t provided the same bright light as they would be in nature. Therefore, the brighter the light, the happier the plant when grown inside.
When growing a succulent indoors, where you grow it will also depend upon your planting zone. If you live in a cooler planting zone, your plants will need more light.
Therefore, you should place them in a window that receives the most light.
If you live in a warmer planting zone, the sun is stronger. Therefore, you can get away with placing your succulents near a window which receives less light. You should never let your succulents touch a window as the heat can scorch the foliage of the plant.
It’s also wise to choose a succulent that grows better indoors. For instance, most succulents with lighter colors require less light and should grow better as an indoor plant.
You may also need to move your succulents around between summer and winter to ensure they still receive adequate amounts of sunlight.
The succulents might be able to handle a location with more sunlight when the temperatures are cooler.
Take these tips for growing locations and your planting zone into account when you’re deciding what’s best for your succulents, especially when growing them indoors.
6. Look at Your Succulents to Understand Lighting Needs
It’s time to get down to the specifics of lighting needs based upon the type of succulent. Though we can’t cover every variety, I can share a few tips to help you look at succulents and know what they need.
If you’re considering purchasing a succulent that consists of red, gray, blue, or is spikey, they’re going to desire plenty of direct sunlight.
Succulents which are mainly green, or other lighter colors, will do better receiving indirect sunlight. This will let you know which will grow best indoors or outdoors.
As another general guideline, if you wish to grow all succulents outdoors, try to pick a location with plenty of morning sun but has shade in the afternoon.
The succulents, with more flesh, will scorch if provided direct sunlight all the time. The foliage and stems contain water which leads to scorching.
This also explains why succulents with spikes don’t scorch as easily. They’re provided greater protection.
If growing succulents outdoors, partial shade is the way to go because if you provide too much shade, you run the risk of your plants becoming too saturated during watering sessions.
This can lead to root rot and ultimately the demise of your plant. Lighting makes the difference in the health of your succulents.
Too little light, the plant can rot. Too much lighting, and the plant will scorch. Use the tips provided here to help you find balance for your succulents.
7. Which Succulents are Right for You?
Now that we’ve discussed the different lighting needs based upon the different types of succulents, different planting zones, and different growing locations, let’s take the time to discuss which plants might work best in areas which provide different amounts of light.
Plants that would grow well outdoors or in areas where they receive ample amounts of full sunlight are:
· Crassula Campfire
· Paddle Plant
The succulents which grow best in areas with indirect sunlight or shadier locations are:
· String of Pearls
· Strings of Hearts
As you can tell, providing lighting for your succulents isn’t an open and shut case. There are many variants which can determine whether the area you’ve selected will work for the succulent chosen.
Hopefully, these tips will help you pick out the right location, inside or outside of your home, to supply what your succulents need to thrive.
More About Growing Succulents
Mr. Loren Wilshusen says
I have an indoor plant light for our three small succulents. I’m wondering how high above the plants the light should be positioned. Can you advise?