How Much Light do Succulents Need to Grow and Be Healthy

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As you evaluate succulents and other companion plants and choose those that appeal to you. Note how much cold they can tolerate, their sun and water requirements, as well as the kind of care they need. Light is a very important factor to be considered when growing succulent plants.

These plants have evolved to withstand dry conditions, but most succulents do require high light exposure. While too much sun can damage plants, too little can impede their growth.
What, then, should you do?
Read on to learn about the light conditions necessary for growing attractive succulents.

Why is Light Important?

succulent plants

Light is plants’ source of energy, affecting the shape of organs, growth, and reproduction.

However, poor light affects succulent plants negatively in that their growth slows down, the plants are starved and flower poorly, they become less disease-resistant, the color of the plants becomes paler than usual and, if taken to the extreme, the production of chlorophyll will be greatly impeded, whereupon the plants will become white or yellowish.

 In addition, their hairs and spines become less dense and less robust, the leaves become thinner, smaller, and eventually start to droop.

Make sure to avoid all this by providing adequate sunlight.

What should be also kept in mind is that changes in light intensity are dangerous and some plants need to be accustomed gradually to the sun’s rays at the beginning of the growing season and shaded with some form of blinds, for instance. Consistent sunlight is the key.

Light Recommendations

Light Recommendations

The most important requirement for the successful cultivation of succulent plants is a well-lit place in an environment similar to their area of origin, reached by the sun’s rays for at least half of each day.

Plants in any region tend to grow in the direction of the greatest sun exposure and it is crucial to orient new, large plants in the direction they would grow in nature, or else their placement will appear contrived.

The ideal place for most of them is near a window, but make sure that sunlight magnified by window glass does not burn the leaves. This can be prevented by covering the glass with a sheer curtain or translucent blinds.

Furthermore, avoid direct sunlight, especially in the afternoon, since it can easily cause succulents to burn or get dark spots and even cause the plants to die.

Rotate the plants every few days to make sure they grow upright and evenly on both sides.

It is important to know how much light your plants need, whether it is full sun or partial shade. For instance, most Echevarias need full sun, whereas most Hawortias prefer full shade.

As a general rule, most succulents need about six hours of bright, indirect light every day, and the brighter the color of your succulents, the more light they need.

Try to find an area that gets morning sunlight and haves bright shade in the afternoon. Indoors, you will want to find a place that’s bright all day.

Seasonal advice

  • Keep your plants in a well-lit spot during the spring so as not to impede their growth
  • Keep them slightly in shade in the summer to prevent sunburn
  • If your plants receive enough sun during the fall, their color will improve
  • Keep them in warm places during the wintertime

Artificial lighting – Yes or No?

Artificial lighting – Yes or No?

If you notice that your plants are starting to stretch for more light, consider using artificial lighting.

Grow lights can make up for natural light deficiencies and enliven your plants.

They come in many shapes, sizes, and intensities, so you will have to do some experimenting to find out what kind of lighting is perfect for your plants.

A 60-watt bulb will provide enough additional light. Both warm white compact fluorescent and LED lights can make adequate sources of light but keep them slightly away from your plants.

You can set your artificial lights on a timer or you can keep them on for approximately 10 hours during the day.

Make sure to turn them off during the night, since they need a dark period, too.

Low-light Succulents

While it is possible to grow succulents that prefer full sun indoors, they will often lose their color, shape, or both very quickly.

Sansevieria trifasciata

It is a lot easier to grow succulents indoors if you know which varieties tolerate low-light conditions and the basics of caring for them.

Some species that you can easily grow indoors because of their ability to tolerate low-light conditions are Fenestraria aurantiaca, differently called “Baby Toes“, Echinofossulocactus multicostatus which blooms purple striped flowers in the spring, Sansevieria trifasciata and Haworthia retusa.

In addition, naturally green varieties such as Rhipsalis cereuscula and Haworthia fasciata are also conducive to growing indoors since they thrive better in lower-light settings and they won’t change colors due to a lack of sunlight.

Useful Tips

  • Keep succulents that prefer less light indoors and those that prefer full sun outdoors, away from strong, direct sunlight to prevent sunburn and provide more airflow
  • The brightest place in your house will likely be the best location for your succulents
  • Provide more light to your plants if they start turning towards the light
  • Pay close attention to how your plants are reacting to different light conditions and make changes accordingly.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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