How Much Sun Do Succulents Need?

by Lynn KirkMay 23, 2022

how much do succulents need?


Sun’s a good thing, right? Not if there’s too much or too little! This rule applies to succulent plants, too. Sunshine is vital to their growth and wellbeing, but too much or too little can cause ill health . . . and even death. 

So what are the potential sun-related problems, the reasons, the solutions? Read on!


It’s true most succulents are sun lovers that thrive on about six hours of sunlight a day. But then again, some succulents prefer some shade. 

REASON: The species’ DNA determines its specific needs and planting preferences.

SOLUTION: If plant care instructions don’t accompany your purchase, Google the species’ origin. Look up the amount of light the species origin requires. As a general rule of thumb follow this rule: Green colored succulents require less sun and more shade, as opposed to succulents with lots of color (red, blue, purple, orange, yellow) which require lots of light for the majority of the day. 

NOTE: For outdoor plantings, also comply with the plant’s USDA Plant Zone for best results. And consider avoiding the harsh sun and heat associated with a southwestern exposure whenever feasible. 


Sometimes unusually long shoots sporting smaller leaves start to appear. Or perhaps stems tend to stretch in a strange direction, making the plant look like it's tilting.

REASON: The long shoots are probably trying to find the sun. The same is true of the lopsided growth. The succulent’s stems are desperately reaching out for the amount of sun that they want and need.

SOLUTION: Be proactive and regularly rotate the plant. If you see warning signs of leggy stems or overall lopsidedness, move the plant to a sunnier location before it has to fight for extra light. And, if outdoors, make sure that that your succulent is not overly shaded by neighboring plants and trees throughout the day. 

NOTE: Just be careful not to make drastic changes all at one time. Like most plants, succulents respond better to gradual changes so they have time to acclimate.


Crumpled-edge leaves can result from lack of water, but seldom is that a problem with water-retaining succulents. More than likely, crunchy leaves are related to sun.

REASON: More than likely, scorched leaves are the result of an ole’ fashioned sunburn — just like those we get when we haven’t filtered the sun’s harshest rays.

SOLUTION: You probably can’t revive badly burned leaves, so snip off  the damaged edges to maintain the plant’s appearance. Meanwhile, work to prevent future burns by filtering the light with a shade or by moving the plant to an area with less severe, less direct sunlight.

NOTE: Don’t attempt to wipe off the white coating that appears on some succulents’ leaves, stems, and flowers. It’s best to leave it, not clean it, because it’s probably farina (technically, epicuticular wax). This nature-made, year-round sunblock looks like no more than a dusting, yet it's powerful. Though it might give off an odd gray or blue cast, it’s nature’s way of protecting the plant.

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Succulent Market grows hundreds of succulent varieties so you can pick the plant that will do best in your home or region -- from sun-loving cacti to shade-tolerating jade plant, aloe, burro's tail, and more. Check out your options at You won't find a better online supplier for plant health + affordable prices + damage-free delivery to your doorstep!