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Guide

How Much Sun Do Succulents Need?

Succulents tolerate a wide range of light conditions, though many popular species need six hours of direct sunlight daily. Determining how much sun a succulent needs varies depending on the species.

Is It Possible To Grow Succulents Indoors?

It is possible to grow succulents indoors.

Many succulent species thrive as indoor houseplants, provided they receive the right amount of light, water, and soil. One of the key factors in growing succulents indoors is finding a spot where they receive bright, indirect sunlight for at least a few hours each day.

Choosing the right type of soil and pot for your succulent is also important to ensure adequate drainage and prevent root rot from overwatering.

Do Succulents Grow Better In Sun Or Shade?

The amount of sun a succulent plant needs depends on the species, but according to Paris Lalicata, Plant Education + Community Engagement Associate at The Sill, "Most succulents will grow best in direct sunlight but can tolerate bright indirect light. The more direct sun you can give to a succulent the more vigorous and compact it will grow."

When growing succulents indoors, it’s best to understand what directions your windows point. "South and West windows are ideal, but some can tolerate Eastern light which gets morning direct sun. South is the most ideal exposure for Succulents indoors. Avoid Northern windows which don’t get direct sunlight," says Lalicata.

On the other hand, placing succulents in deep shade inhibits their growth and causes them to stretch and become leggy.

"There are some succulents that will prefer more shade and not the strong, afternoon direct sun a South window provides like Haworthia, Schlumbergera and Rhipsalis to name a few," adds Lalicata.

Finding the right balance of sunlight is crucial for succulent plants to thrive as indoor plants.

Can Succulents Get Too Much Sun?

Some types of succulents, such as Sedums and Echeverias, tolerate more direct sunlight and can be placed in areas with brighter light. However, too much direct sunlight can still damage these plants.

"If you’re someone who moves your succulents outdoors for the Spring/Summer they can get too much light and become scorched if not acclimated to the sun gradually (since outdoor light is stronger than indoor light)," advises Lalicata "Therefore, it’ll be best to actually move Succulents outdoors in full shade to start and over the weeks gradually introduce partial sun.

Monitoring and adjusting their placement is important to ensure they receive the right light for optimal growth.

"Some succulent species that are impacted by too much sun include Haworthia, Schlumbergera, some species of Kalanchoe, and Rhipsalis. It’ll be best to give these plants bright indirect light or only a few hours of direct sun," adds Lalicata.

How To Know If Your Succulent Is Getting Enough Sunlight

Signs your succulents aren’t getting enough sun include:

  • They stretch toward the nearest light source and become leggy. This is called etiolation.

  • The leaves may lose their vibrant colors and appear dull or washed out.

  • For varieties that grow in a rosette pattern, the leaves may flatten.

  • Arching or wilting leaves, especially the lower leaves on a plant that has already become leggy.

  • Drooping, yellow leaves.

Do Succulents Like Morning Or Afternoon Sun?

Succulents prefer morning sun because it is less intense.

The morning sun provides a gentle and steady supply of sunlight that allows the plant to photosynthesize and grow optimally. Afternoon sun can be too strong and cause sunburn and damage to the plant’s leaves and stems.

If your succulent is getting afternoon sun, consider moving it to a location where it receives more shade or filtered light during the hottest part of the day.

What To Do If Your Succulents Get Too Much Sun

  • If your succulent is getting too much direct sun, move it to a spot that receives filtered or indirect light instead.

  • You also place a sheer curtain or shade cloth over the window to diffuse the sunlight.

  • Another option is to provide shade for the plant by placing it under a tree or a patio umbrella, if outdoors.

  • If you notice that your succulent has already been sunburned or damaged, trim off any affected leaves or stems and move the plant to a cooler and shadier spot until it recovers.

Placing Your Succulents So They Get Enough Sun

  • South or east-facing windows are ideal spots for your succulents, as they receive several hours of sunlight throughout the day.

  • If you don’t have a south or east-facing window, place your succulents under grow lights or fluorescent lights to provide enough light.

  • You can also place your succulents outdoors in a location that receives filtered light during the hottest part of the day.

  • Monitor your succulents regularly to ensure they don’t get too much or too little sun, and adjust their lighting conditions as needed.

  • You may need to move your succulents to a sunnier location in the winter months to get enough bright light.

Different Varieties Of Succulents Like Different Conditions

Understanding how much light succulents need is an important part of succulent care that every beginner should know.

Some varieties tolerate full sun exposure, while others prefer low-light conditions. Succulents such as aloe vera, snake plants (sansevieria), Christmas cactus, and jade plants are great low-light succulents that survive in indirect sunlight.

Other succulent varieties, such as aeonium, agave, kalanchoe, Rhipsalis, sempervivum, and Lithops, require more sun and should be placed in a sunny location.

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