Let There Be Light! How Much Light Your Succulents Need To Grow

Succulents are easy-care plants that can look great indoors or outdoors. They don’t need a lot of water, and they love it when their roots get wet during the occasional rain shower!

Because succulents are so easy-going, homeowners can easily keep them as decorative accents in small pots or large containers.

The plants also make excellent houseplants because they require very little care, which means they’re pretty low-maintenance, too!

Although water isn’t typically an issue with these plants, since they need so little, light is. Many people wonder how much light these little creations need.

In this post, we are going to take a look at just that. Ready to learn a thing or two about succulents?

Let There Be Light! How Much Light Your Succulents Need To Grow

What Are Succulents?

The name “succulent” comes from the Latin word “succeedere,” meaning “to succeed.” That’s because these types of plants usually have thick, fleshy leaves that develop from thickened stem bases.

Succulents come in many shapes and sizes – some have short squashy stalks while others sprout tall, slender structures. These unique growth habits give succulents a wide range of uses.

For instance, they can be used as indoor decorations, outdoor plants that attract wildlife, or kitchen countertop decor.

However, the most common use for succulents is as houseplants or outside potted plants.

The growth patterns found within succulents help them adapt well to different environments. Some of these plants even grow vertically along tree branches or rocks.

Unlike other houseplants and garden crops, succulents do not require direct sunlight for photosynthesis.

Plants like aloe vera actually derive energy through its own form of respiration, instead of using chlorophyll to absorb the sun’s rays. This makes them highly efficient at utilizing nutrients and energy.

The Light Needs Of Succulents

There are many types of succulents. Below are some of the most popular types of succulents and some information about them.

All succulents need sunlight, but the amounts may vary depending on where you live and what kind of plant you have. To find out more, keep reading below.

Cacti

Cacti

Cacti are members of the succulent family. These plants belong to a group of flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) that produce spiky stems that contain lots of thorns.

The plant species in this group all originated from South America, Mexico, Central America, and southern parts of North America (USA).

Cacti were brought back home by early explorers on their ships. 

Cacti are very popular indoor plants, but they still prefer bright daylight over artificial lighting. They do best in temperatures between 50F and 80F, and will tolerate daytime temps up to around 100F.

When nighttime temperatures drop below 50F, cacti turn white. As mentioned before, cacti do not need any direct sunlight to perform photosynthesis.

If these plants get too much direct sunlight, they may turn yellow.

Although you get many different kinds of cacti, they all typically do well in the same conditions. You can separate the two types of cacti into two categories – desert cacti, and tropical cacti.

Desert cacti enjoy more sunlight, as their name might suggest. Desert cacti include barrel cactus, prickly pear, saguaros, and snowballs.

Tropical cacti prefer less exposure to direct sunlight. They are more compact, and don’t get quite as big as desert cacti. Popular tropical cacti include Christmas cactus, Easter cactus, and Vanilla cactus.

Desert cacti enjoy direct sunlight, but too much will still damage them. Forest, or tropical cacti, tend to prefer indirect sunlight.

Neither of the types do particularly well in fully shaded areas, so always be sure to place them on spots like window sills, where there is plenty of light, depending on the type of plant you have.

Aloe

Aloe

Aloes are famous for producing medicinal gel, or sap. One member of this group is Aloe Vera. They are native to Africa, Madagascar, and Australia. In general, they thrive in warm climates.

Aloe requires sunlight for 6 hours per day. Temperatures above 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit will also cause them to wither. Most plants become dormant during winter months.

So keep your aloes indoors during colder weather. It is important to remember that the amount of water required for an aloe varies based on the size. 

These plants enjoy a lot of sunlight, but it does not need to always be direct. If you live in a hot climate, they will also do well in areas that are shaded.

However, in colder climates, they require more sun so that they do not lose shape. If these plants are kept in shaded areas in cold climates, they will begin to deteriorate.

Stonecrops

Stonecrops

The stonecrops, or Crassulaceae, is another family in the succulent family. This family of plants like a lot of sunlight, and will do well in both direct and indirect light.

Their main difference from other families of plants is that they are rooted in rock or soil. Their leaves are usually thick and fleshy, and they often stay green throughout the year.

A few common examples of stonecrops include Echeveria, Sedum, and Sempervivums. 

Sedums enjoy a lot of sunlight. If they receive a lot of intense light, however, they will burn easily.

Therefore, if you have several sedums, make sure you rotate them through the garden every couple months. This will help to ensure even growth.

The most sun sensitive members of this family are those commonly known as mini sempervivums, which are small in stature and grow only 3 inches tall.

They do great in medium sized containers, though larger ones could prove difficult.

All plants in the Crassulaceae family will do well in bright light. Direct sunlight should be limited, however.

These plants will not do well in heavily shaded areas, and need to get at least 6 hours of sunlight every day to thrive.

Euphorbiaceae

Euphorbiaceae

Euphorbiaceae include plants such as cassava, crotons, sandbox tree, and the redbird cactus. These plants, like other succulents, enjoy a lot of sunlight.

Cassava will do best when planted with other plants that thrive in full light. Croton can survive in partial shade, and is great in areas that are semi-shaded.

Sandbox trees are among the most popular plants for growing indoors because of their unique shapes. Redbird cactus, meanwhile, can enjoy a moderate level of shade.

While its deep red color makes it one of the most beloved plants by many, the flowers do not bloom all year round.

Owners should ensure that plants from the Euphorbiaceae also get enough sunlight so that they can thrive.

Generally, around 6 hours should be enough, but some may like more or less. Bright, indirect light is ideal for these plants.

Asphodelaceae

Asphodelaceae

Asphodelaceae come from warmer regions, like Mexico and South America. These plants enjoy the heat, and do well in lots of sunlight.

This family of plants enjoys being part of a low maintenance garden. Most can be grown in either direct or indirect sunlight, and thrive under very little care.

They require little water, so they make a perfect addition to any home or garden as long as the conditions are met. 

We’ve already mentioned aloe, which belong to this family, but there are many more that belong under this umbrella. Haworthia, Gasteria, and Asphodeloideae all belong to the same family as Asphodelaceae.

Plants such as the zebra cactus and cow tongue enjoy a lot of sunlight and prefer to be placed near windows or outside during the warmer seasons.

Aloe loves full sun. It needs light every single day, and cannot handle extended periods in shade unless it’s in a very hot climate.

How Much Light Do Succulents Need?

Generally speaking, succulents need at least 6 hours of sunlight every day, although some prefer more or less than that.

The most common mistake people make with succulent planting is placing them too close together, without allowing for adequate space between them.

In fact, succulents require lots of room! You don’t want to crowd your succulents, and overcrowding causes weak roots that struggle to find nutrients.

Try leaving about an inch between each plant if they are in the same plant pot. This way that leaves a bit of space for air circulation, making the environment healthier for both humans and plants alike.

The most important thing to remember is that no matter what kind of plant you have on your mind, or how it will look once it grows, you must provide it with sufficient light. If it requires too much, then you’re better off buying a different type of plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Succulent Plants Make A Good Indoor Plant?

Yes, they do! However, they won’t last nearly as long in a house as they do outdoors in their natural habitat.

Indoor succulents are prone to root rot if you don’t give them proper care. Keep an eye out for signs of mold or mildew, and clean out the soil regularly. 

Are Succulent Plants Easy To Care For?

You betcha! All you really need to know is how much sunlight they need, and how often you’ll need to water them. That’s pretty much it.

When watering, try to avoid letting water soak into the base of the pots. Partial shade is okay for a while for some succulents, but not all of them.

Do Succulents Like Indirect Light?

Yes, they love indirect light. It allows them to receive plenty of sunlight throughout the day without being shaded by something else. Some of them also benefit from low lighting levels, but this isn’t necessary.

The majority of succulents prefer light conditions that have some direct light, but they should not have too much direct light.

Natural sunlight is the best, but this natural sunlight should not be too direct.

Do Succulents Prefer Natural Light?

Succulents do very well in bright sunlight. However, this sunlight does not need to be direct, and it shouldn’t be direct for too many hours at a time. 

What Light Conditions Do Succulents Do Well In?

Most succulents like light with some direct sun exposure, but not all the time. They generally enjoy full sunlight during the morning and afternoon, and partial sunlight in the late evening.

However, not all succulents need sunlight all the time in order to thrive.

Will Succulents Do Well With Fluorescent Lights?

Using a grow light or supplemental light will work well for succulents, especially in the winter. The lighting situation for succulents should be bright but indirect.

If you have your succulent with correct light conditions throughout the year, it will be very happy and easy to propagate.

Where Do Aloes Come From?

Aloes come from various places in Africa, including South Africa. They were originally only found there until people started importing them to other parts of the world.

Their ability to survive harsh weather has made them an excellent choice for landscaping in arid regions where plants from tropical climates struggle.

Aloes also come from a few other places around the world including South America and the Arabian Peninsula.

What Soil Do Succulents Do Well In?

Succulent soil should be a well draining potting mix. You should check with your specific plants to find out what it prefers in its soil. Many succulent varieties prefer different things. 

How Do You Keep Succulents Alive?

Like all plants, succulents need soil, water, sunlight, and the air to survive. As long as you balance everything it needs, your succulent will do well.

How Many Succulent Varieties Are There?

There are thousands of succulent varieties available on the market today. There are even more types of succulents than just those mentioned here.

Final Thoughts

 Succulents are a pleasure to have, and they are so easy to care for. As long as you don’t overwater them (they would rather be under-watered than overwatered), and have enough sunlight, they should be happy!

If you weren’t sure about how much sunlight these adorable plants needed, hopefully this post cleared it up for you! The rule is about 6 hours of sun every day, but it doesn’t have to be direct. 

Be careful not to leave your succulents in direct sun for too long, because it can still damage them! Always keep an eye on your precious plant friends to make sure they are doing well wherever they are.

If one spot in the house doesn’t seem to be working well, you can always move them over to a different spot to see how they do!

Morgan Daniels

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