DO succulents need sunlight to grow

Sunlight Exposure: How Much Sunlight Do Succulents Need?

Having succulents in the house helps in enhancing the aesthetic of the place instantly.

  • Many of us bring succulents home with the intention of giving a decorative touch indoors. While placing it inside, it is quite common to find ourselves asking,

Do succulents need Sun to Grow? Yes, Succulents need sunlight to survive. Like all photosynthetic plants, the sun plays an important role in their survival and food production.  However, the type of sunlight it needs to grow (Direct or indirect) depends upon the type of the succulent itself.

So now that we know that the succulents need a steady amount of sun for their survival, the next question that comes to mind is,

How much Sunlight Do Succulents Need? Some Succulents need sunlight for 6 hours a day while others will die from prolonged exposure to the sun. They only need indirect filtered sunlight for survival. On average, most succulents do well with 3 to 5 hours of indirect sunlight exposure every day.

How much Direct sun can Succulents take? Do Succulents Need Direct sunlight?

It depends on the succulent type.

  • Succulents that have green or pale bodies are susceptible to direct sunlight and are better off in the shade.
  • Whereas succulents of red, purple, or other colorful variety show better susceptibility to the Sun.

In general, most succulents need 4 to 7 hours of bright indirect sunlight to grow properly.

Sometimes, you can place them outside in the morning Sun and bring them inside in the afternoon when the sun will be scorching hot. You can then keep them gently beside the window for the rest of the day.

But, this process requires a lot of effort and if done regularly can harm the plant. This constant shifting will confuse the succulents about their environment and prevent them from adapting properly.

  • Alternatively, you can keep them on the balcony or beside the south or east-facing window where they will get sufficient sun.

Can succulents grow in the shade?

Yes, sure they can.

There are some low light succulents that do grow well under the shade. Then there are other varieties that need direct sunlight to grow well. Be wary of this fact while bringing any kind of succulent home.

Can Succulents live inside?

They are the ideal plants to grow indoors!

  • Certain succulents need minimal care and can thrive well indoors thanks to their special adaptations of the enlarged root systems and fleshy leaves.

Indoor friendly succulents like Aloe, Haworthia, etc can grow well even under low light conditions. Their water retention capabilities are also great so you can get away with watering once in 6 to 10 days.

Do Indoor Succulents need sun?

Yes, they need the sun. Most succulents love sunlight however the sunlight it needs depends on its type.

 I have found it best to keep succulents of any variety in front of a window that gets indirect sunlight throughout the day. Succulents love filtered sun i.e., indirect sunlight rather than mid-day sunlight of tremendous heat which damages the plant.

There are some succulents who need sunlight more than others especially those having red, gray color or having lots of spine in their body. Then there are succulents that can thrive well even with low availability of sunlight.

  • One of the most common reasons behind inadequate growth or death of indoor succulents is the lack of proper exposure to Sun.
  • But, too much scorching sunshine and heat will damage most varieties of succulents.
  • So it is best to grow them under shade in the garden or near a window rather than keeping them outside open under the direct sun.

 Which Succulents Grow under Direct Sun?

  • Agave
  • Opuntia
  • Ferocactus
  • Crassula Ovata (Jade Plant)
  • Portulacaria Afra

Which Succulents Grow Well Indoors?

  • Aloe
  • Haworthia
  • Echeveria
  • Kalanchoe
  • Gasteria

How will you ensure that “my succulents are getting enough sun”?

You need to know about the basic need of the plant while buying it from the nursery. If in doubt it is best to contact the local store or nursery on this.

  •  You need to keep it in someplace that receives sunlight more or less enough.
  • Even after all these, your plant needs more sunlight it will let you know by growing towards that source of the sunshine.

If you see that the plant is bending towards the light source rather than clinging onto its normal growing path then it is a clear sign. The succulent needs more Sun than it is getting right now. You can then change its position and place them accordingly.

In general, nongreen succulents need more sunlight (Purple, black, red, etc.) and can turn green due to the lack of enough sunlight.

  • If your plant is receiving too much sunlight it will lose its vibrancy and will look more dreaded. (Examples are the succulents that need low sunlight to thrive: donkey tail, aloe Vera, etc.)

So try to keep your succulents in the shade where it will receive sufficient light but won’t get harmed due to scorching heat.

How to grow succulents (the Right way)

Choose the right variety of succulents to grow

There are some succulents that can grow better indoors while others grow better outside. You need to be aware of that while buying or bringing them home.

Some succulents won’t thrive unless you keep them beside bright light sources. So, you should have a rough idea about where you gonna keep the succulent inside or outside the house.

Whether its gonna be under bright light conditions of the balcony, south-facing windows, or under low light conditions of a bathroom, bedside desk, office desk, etc. Think of the place you wanna keep your succulent before bringing it.

 Always grow Succulents in the right kind of Soil and Pot

Succulents can only survive in soil conditions that help in drainage like that of their natural habitat. They hate water retention in the soil for a longer period of time as that can lead to root rot.

  • So always grow in them in a store-bought cactus mix or you can even make your own succulent friendly soil at home.

As for the pots, try to use terra cotta pots especially while growing indoors instead of plastic ones. Terra cotta pots are porous in nature so will absorb the excess water from the soil and will promote aeration.

There are some instances where you can even grow them in glass containers. But you have to take extra precautions for that and not all succulents are suited for that.

  • Make sure the pots have drainage holes at the bottom as that is fundamental for better drainage.
  • You can always keep a dish or tray under the pot and after watering get rid of the excess water. 

Water the succulents only when the soil is dry

The water need again depends on the plant type but only if its soil is completely dry then it is a good idea to water them.

Overwatering will kill the plant more easily than underwatering.

  • Succulents are not tropical plants and have low watering needs.
  • Use a moisture meter to be sure of the soil dampness or you can use your finger and dip it inside the soil to roughly assess the dryness.

Avoid Overcrowding

Do not have lots of succulents in a single pot as overcrowding them will lead to significant competition over food and water. It can also lead to the spread of disease.

Provide Suitable Bright Light

Place them near a window or in a place that receives some form of indirect sunlight as very few succulents can thrive well without the sun. If you have succulents in darker rooms consider using artificial grow lights.


Succulents are extremely beginner-friendly plants to grow and they do well with little timely care. To sum the question, “Do succulents need the sun to grow?” Yes, they do need sunlight in varying amounts preferably filtered.

  • Sunlight needs of specific succulents are different, some succulents prefer bright sunlight for 4 to 7 hours a day. Others can survive with lesser exposure to the sun.
  • Succulents hate soil dampness so receiving bright light also helps the soil to get drier faster.
  • You need to keep succulents under some kind of shade out in the garden or in case of indoors, in rooms that get just enough bright sun
  • Keep an eye on your succulents to see if they are showing signs of overexposure to the sun(color change, loss of vibrancy) or underexposure to the sun(stretching).
  • In case you have darker rooms and still wanna grow succulent indoors, then take the help of artificial to grow lights.

Where do you grow your succulents? Indoors or Outdoors? Do you think it gets enough sun?

 Have any additional queries related to the sunlight needs of your succulent? Feel free to shoot a comment below!


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