Can Succulents Grow in Shade?

by Succulent Market AdminSep 4, 2020

Succulents are the number one choice of most indoor gardeners, primarily because they're so forgiving and adaptable to the indoor environment. While most succulent varieties are sun-lovers, many of them won't mind growing in the shade. They won't complain sitting on tabletops, bathroom windows, or shady corners of your garden, as long as you give them what they need.

Keep reading, and you'll learn all about keeping your succulents alive in the shade.

How much light do succulents need?

While succulents aren't too fussy about feeding and watering, providing the right amount of lighting can be somewhat of a challenge.

Generally speaking, succulents love light. Most of them thrive if they receive about 6 to 8 hours on sunlight per day. They might not grow properly, or even survive, if they don't get enough light. If you see discolored, disfigured leaves, a possible reason could be insufficient lighting.

However, too much sun, might not always be the best choice, since the growing temperature is also a consideration. While succulents enjoy the sunlight, they aren’t too tolerant of high temperatures. Many of them will burn if exposed to temperatures above 90°F for too long.

Young plants are even more sensitive to the sun's heat. They'll need protection from the direct afternoon sunlight, or the leaves will scorch. Start them in the shade, and gradually increase their exposure to sunlight.

Know your succulents

The exact lighting preferences differ for different species of succulents. Consider the origin of the specific variety you have and its unique light requirements before choosing a spot for it.

While most succulents need plenty of sunlight to thrive, some are actually better off growing in the shade. They'll work perfectly as houseplants, adapting well to low-light indoor environments. They might even get sunburned if exposed to direct sunlight for long.

Here’s a tip

Color and texture of succulents are often a good judge of the kind of lighting they’ll prefer.

Variegated, and solid green varieties are often the ones for shadier locations.

Brightly colored species, such as red, blue, purple, orange, or grey succulents or those covered with spines, often appreciate brighter spots.

Shade-loving indoor succulents

If you plan on growing succulents at a shady spot in your home, pick your varieties with care. Indoor succulent, such as aloe vera, snake plant, zebra plant, spider agave, and panda plant, are popular choices for low-light conditions.

These slow-growing varieties don’t ask for much maintenance and will grow happily in filtered light or shade. Most of them will work best sitting a couple of inches away from a window or near a window covered by curtains, but will also survive in shadier locations.

Care for shade-loving succulents

Native to the deserts, succulents are well adapted to the harshest conditions, and quite difficult to kill as a result. Caring for succulents, especially the shade-loving varieties, is rather simple.

Yet, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you pet these babies. Here are a few tips for a successful indoor succulent garden:

Water Correctly

When it comes to succulents, too much water is always a hazard. If you’ve ever killed a succulent by overwatering it, you’ll know what we’re talking about! They store water in their fleshy leaves and stems, and will usually only require watering once every two to three weeks.

Shade-loving succulents need even lesser water as compared to outdoor, sun-loving varieties. Since water evaporates slower in the shade, it will take more time for the soil to dry out.

Good soil

Fast-draining ready-made cactus mixes are the best options for growing succulents in pots. The usual potting soil isn’t perfect on its own since they’re designed to hold moisture, as is required by most potted plants. If you’re going to use the conventional potting soil for growing cacti or other succulents, amend it with pumice, perlite, or expanded clay soil to help drain it faster.

Fertilize in spring

Cactus mixes or potting soil is enriched with nutrients for the young plants. However, these nutrients will get used up in a few months. Potted succulents use up nutrients even faster than garden growing ones. Soon after planting, you’ll need to start additional fertilization to sustain their healthy growth.

Succulents will need a dose of some suitable low-nitrogen fertilizer in spring. Use a diluted dose of fertilizer, adding only half the suggested quantity to water before feeding them.

Create an indoor landscape by picking different varieties of shade-tolerant succulents, some with green foliage, and others with variegated leaves or bright flowers. Be vigilant of the soil, watering, lighting, and fertilizing requirements, and you'll have no reason to worry.