How Much Sun Do Succulents Need?

by Succulent MarketApr 26, 2021

how much sun do succulents need


Succulents grow in naturally dry, arid environments, so it bodes well that they’d grow well in the summer sun. That said, how much sun do succulents need? And can succulents get sunburn? If so, can they be treated? This guide will explain.

How Many Hours Of Sunlight Do Succulents Need?

Succulents naturally enjoy being exposed to the sun’s rays. However, they may require protection from direct sunlight or extreme heat. In fact, excess exposure to direct sunlight can be harmful to succulents.

The standard rule is that succulents need between four and six hours of sunlight every day. An important factor that determines how much it needs is the type of plant.

For example, in terms of cacti, they are more adept at handling greater exposure to direct sunlight than most other succulents. After all, there is little shade in the desert where cacti are native, so they have adapted to growing under the intense desert sun.

On the other hand, epiphytic cacti are native to the branches of trees or rocks in the jungle. As such, they are only exposed to sunlight that filters down through the canopies above, so to keep these particular plants happy, you’ll either need to place them further away from the window, cover them with a sheer curtain, or keep them in partial shade.

Always consider the succulent’s natural habitat when working out how much sun it needs to grow. Using the above examples, epiphytic cacti won’t survive long in full sunlight, while desert cacti aren’t likely to thrive in areas of the house or garden that are subject to filtered sunlight. Just a little research can make a lot of difference.

Generally speaking, succulents that don’t get enough light will get leggy, meaning that they’ll stretch out towards the direction of the sun as they look for more light. As a result, they’ll lose their shape and not develop as they should.

Due to their hardy nature, succulents can survive with little to no light. However, they won’t flourish and grow to their potential. It won’t be long before they’ll display signs that they are having difficulty growing.

Can Succulents Get Sunburn?

As mentioned above, while succulents thrive in the sun, it’s very important that you monitor how much they are exposed to. Too much can lead to sunburn, or worse, the succulent may broil to death.

Between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature range for succulents to grow. Exposing them to too much sun and heat can cause sunburn and this applies to both indoor and outdoor plants. The results can be irreversible...

How To Identify Succulent Sunburn

Succulents show several signs that can help to identify sunburn. 

For outdoor plants, brown or black stains close to the tips of the leaves indicate sunburn, as well as an overall browning of the leaves during summer. The blackness around the tips begins at the edges which will soon evaporate if not treated quickly.

Gently singed leaves will display small white patches on the leaves. Spotting this sooner on may save the plant.

For indoor plants, yellow or golden tinges to the leaves indicate sunburn.

Whether a succulent can survive sunburn depends on how long it’s been an issue. If it’s only been exposed to the sun for a day or two, it’s possible for the plant to come back to health. Any more than that and it’s not likely as the leaves won’t be able to perform sufficient photosynthesis

How To Prevent Succulent Sunburn

In order to prevent sunburn, it’s best to gradually acclimate the plant to full sun. Start by giving it a couple of hours of full sun exposure before moving it to a shadier location. After a week or two, increase its time in the full sun before, again, moving it back to a shadier location. After a few weeks, the succulent will be fully acclimated and will survive and thrive in full sun all day long.

At the beginning of this process, it’s best to start with exposing the succulent to the morning sun as the rays aren’t as strong as the afternoon sun. Alternatively, place the succulent in the shade of a taller plant and coordinate its exposure to the sun similarly.