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Succulent Light Needs – Understanding Light Requirements

Do succulents need a lot of light? That is a question most plant enthusiasts ask. The succulent plant species is quite large. There are over 1000 different varieties in existence. Each of these species can vary in sunlight needs. This is why it can be difficult finding the best light for succulents. 

Succulent Light Needs - Understanding Light Requirements For Succulents

Their native habitat has a huge impact on how much light succulent needs. Plants that grow in desert areas need high sunlight intake. While succulents that grow in shaded areas do well without much sunlight. 

How Much Light Do Succulents Need? 

There is no direct answer to this question. This is because different types of succulents have different light needs. The best light for succulents like cactus is full or direct sunlight. While for succulents like the snake plants, low lighting is a more suitable choice.

Most succulents would require at least 4 to 6 hours of light a day. But it helps to identify the exact succulent type you own. This would help n understanding the succulent’s light requirements.

Do Succulents Need Sun?

Most succulents require sunlight. The major difference would be in the intensity of sunlight provided. There are two sunlight intensities to explore. These are:

  • Direct Sunlight 
  • Indirect Sunlight

Direct or Full Sunlight   

As the name implies, direct sunlight means complete, total, or full access to the sun’s rays. You can provide this by placing the plant next to a south-facing window. There, they can get full access to the sun’s rays. 

The cacti and echeveria are examples of succulents that need sunlight. Other succulent varieties include jade, Senecio, and aloe. These succulents require at least 6 hours of full or direct sun exposure each day

It is also worth noting that the intensity of direct sunlight also varies. The intensity of direct sunlight a succulent gain indoors is different from outdoors. The sunlight exposure indoors is far less than outdoors.  

Prolonged exposure to full or direct sunlight can lead to sunburns for the plant. This is why you need a proper understanding of your succulent light need. 

Indirect or Filtered Sunlight  

Indirect or Filtered Sunlight  

For succulent plants that are prone to sunburns, indirect sunlight is better for them. In this case, the sun’s rays are filtered using a cloth-like material. You still get bright light, but the sun’s direct rays are cut off. 

This is the best light requirement for succulents like the ZZ plant or the snake plant. Other plants like the kalanchoe, the gesteria, and the string of hearts love indirect light.

Can Succulents Survive In Low Light?

It is always better to grow your succulents in bright but indirect sunlight. But there are certain succulents that can tolerate low light. Most window succulents are some of the best succulents for low light. 

Growing your succulent in low light does have some negative effects on the plant. The succulent can suffer limited growth. It can also develop an overall leggy appearance. 

It is recommended that you reduce watering when growing succulents in low light. Excess water can lead to root rot, which succulents are prone to. 

Some succulents with low light requirements include the holiday cacti and the alanchoe. The ZZ plants and string of hearts also tolerate low light. 

What Happens When Succulents Recieve Inadequate Lighting?

Not providing enough light for succulents could end up stressing the succulents. Stressed succulents can also suffer from excess sunlight. In cases where they receive excess light, you can notice discoloration. This can appear as spots or brown but crispy leaf edges. 

Low light succulents are more prone to light stress from excess sunlight. Changing their light exposure could trigger it. A good example would be moving a low-light succulent outdoors. 

There are also signs of light stress for high-light succulents. Because they love direct sunlight, moving them to an area of low light can be stressful. As a result, they can develop stunted growth or leaf drop. 

Can You Grow Succulents In Full Shade?

Succulents don’t do well in complete shade. They can end up not growing and even die off in the process. But, if you are stuck in an area of full shade, then consider getting grow lights. 

Grow lights are better suited for low-light succulents. But they can also be used on high-light succulents. Ensure you get a  good quality LED to grow light that can brighten up the plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should succulents be watered?

This should depend on how much light it receives. In areas of full or direct sunlight, water your succulents once a week.

How do I know my succulent is healthy?

Succulents are natural slow growers, but a healthy succulent displays vibrant colors.

What is the lifespan of a succulent?

This depends on the succulent type. But some succulents like the jade plant can live for 100 years.

Do succulents like big or small pots?

Succulents like their pots a little bigger than their actual width. Maintain a size difference of 10%

What are the best indoor succulents?

The snake plant, the aloe vera plant, and the jade plant are great succulents to grow indoors.