Can Succulents Grow in Shade?

Can Succulents Grow in Shade
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Can Succulents Grow in Shade

Can succulents grow in shade? This is one of the common questions we get from our readers. And the answer is, yes. Although succulents are known as sun lovers and most of them prefer very bright light and even direct sun for hours, some succulents can grow well in the shade.

However, only specific kinds of succulents can grow in shade and there is also a level of shades that they could bear.

Related:How to Grow Succulents? Complete Guide

10 succulents that can grow in shade

1. Agave Attenuata (Lion’s Tail, Fox Tail)

It is a tropical plant and quite easy to grow in your backyard. It grows to a height of approximately 3.3 to 5 feet. You can plant it directly to the ground or even in a container.

It can cope with poor soil and dry conditions but prefers moist loamy soil. It should be protected from the direct bright sun in summer or from long periods of frost.

2. Haworthia

It can grow solitary or can be clump-forming. Their flowers are generally small and white in color. It is said that if this plant is stressed their color can change to red or purple, do not deprive them water to avoid them getting stressed. This plant is not picky and severely sensitive, it can grow even in poor sand or even rocks.

3. Sansevieria Trifasciata (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Snake Plant)

It is an evergreen plant or its leaves are always green throughout years, forming dense strands spreading either aboveground or underground. Its stiff leaves grow vertically from a basal rosette or the circular arrangement of leaves or of structures resembling leaves.

Unlike other plants that exchange oxygen during the day, it exchanges during the night to prevent the water from escaping via evaporation under the sun.

-It is found as a potential indoor filtration plant by the NASA Clean Air Study. It is also used as an ornamental plant but some authorities in Australia as potential weeds. Also considered as a houseplant as it tolerates low light levels and irregular watering.

4. Agave Bracteosa (Spider Agave, Squid Agave, Octopus Agave)

This succulent takes time to grow but if it did it will produce numerous pups or babies from its running roots. Unlike other Agave, this species is more gentle as it doesn’t have thorns and unlike other species that are monocarpic, means once they flowered they’ll eventually die Spider Agave don’t.

5. Aloe Maculata (Soap Aloe)

They are not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Aloe should not allow sitting in stagnant water and it is sensitive to overwatering. To prevent overwatering, use fast draining pots with one-third of sand or pebbles.

6. Aloe Grandidentata

It looks the same with Aloe Maculata but the end of its leaves is curled while Aloe Maculata has pointed and straight.

7. Crassula Ovata (Jade Plant, Friendship Tree, Lucky Plant or Money Plant)

They are considered as a lucky charm or a symbol of good luck. Make sure that they are watered properly, don’t make them dry out completely and don’t overwater them as it may lead to root rot. Only water when the topsoil is dry.

8. Sedum Ternatum (Woodland Sedum)

As it grows it forms a mat-like bunch of small and blue-green leaves. Its stems are green or pinkish. It grows well on the partial shade to light shade and from moist to dry soil.

9. Aeonium Kiwi

It grows quickly and easily but it has different demands than other succulents, its dislike of hot and dry weather and its desire for water. Unlike others who love the bright sun and doesn’t really like water. It doesn’t really need sun it gets scorch by it. It actually loves water and needs to water frequently.

10. Agave Celsii (Agave Mitis)

Although some of them like very bright sun, they can survive and still bloom even in shade. With proper care and the correct amount of watering, you can watch as it slowly blooms and grows.

What Shade Succulents Need?

Succulents generally love the sun. They grow more colorful and beautiful under the bright sun, some even get weak and leggy when they don’t receive bright sun for at least 6 hours.

While some of them will spot, fade, or scorch under the heat of the sun, they were the shade succulents that want shade rather than the scorching sun. They were succulents that lived in humid climates.

Succulents can survive in dry conditions but if you want them to bloom and grow beautifully, you might need to water them regularly. But shade succulents are not that demanding. As they were in a shady place they need less watering than other succulents.

When it comes to soil, succulents are rather sensitive. Mix a little compost, coarse sand, and native garden soil.

Related: How to Grow Succulents? Complete Guide

How to Plant a Succulent?

The first step of planting a succulent is to remove the nursery pot and transfer it to a bigger and more comfortable pot. Get rid of the old soil from the roots as much as you can, the cleaner from old soil the healthier your succulent will be.

Damaging the roots while getting rid of old soil is inevitable, you just have to be extra careful.

If you’re going to plant it alone in a pot, keep the roots intact and undamaged as much as possible but if you’re going to make arrangements of different kinds of succulents you need to cut some of its roots to fit everything in.

To prevent the soil from falling out, you might consider using mesh tape or mesh screen to allow water flow out easily while keeping the soil inside.

Fill the pot with succulent soil but don’t overdo it. Fill it where the roots can comfortably settle down and leave the room so you can add more soil later on.

Now transfer the succulent to the pot, nestle the roots to the soil to help it have a head start from growing.

Next step, fill the pot more succulent soil and make sure to leave little room for decorations. Make sure that the leaves of your plant are above the soil to prevent them from rotting.

Then add top dressing using small rocks, it will help the plant perfect its vibe and ambiance.

Last is REALLY IMPORTANT, leave the plants for two days to allow its roots to adjust and settle down before watering it.

How to Make Succulent Soil

Making your own succulent soil is cheaper than commercial succulent soil, and you can make sure that what materials you used is good.

Prepare these three ingredients:

(1) potting soil

(2) Coarse Sand (turface or poultry grit)

(3) Perlite or Pumice.

For succulent soil, it’s best to use a light, porous soil as your base. Don’t use potting mixes that contain any type of moisture control saying that it helps keep the water from draining.

Succulents don’t need anything that helps retain water, SUCCULENTS NEED A WELL DRAINING POTTING SOIL.

Succulents grow well in a porous sandy potting soil, for best results consider using coarse sand. For alternatives to use turface or poultry.

Succulent soil recipe:

(3 parts) potting soil;

(2 parts) coarse sand or turface or poultry grit;

 (1 part) perlite or pumice.

Do Indoor Succulents Need Direct Sunlight

Generally, outdoor succulents need at least 6 hours per day so that they can grow healthy and for their flowers to bloom beautifully. However, indoors or shade plants can survive even in shade. They can also get filtered sunlight to still get the sunlight they need. Their need for sunlight depends generally on their species.

10 Tips for Beginners

Nowadays, people are showing more interest in succulents so here are some tips for you:

1. Start with simple and cheap cacti.

2. Give them enough sunlight based on their needs.

3. Succulent soil is important.

4. Water when dry on touch

5. Observe your plants.

6. Place your plants on pot properly.

7. Pests are everywhere, lookout.

8. Be gentle and handle with care.

9. Label your plants to avoid confusion.

10. It’s free to ask when confused.

10 Best Succulents for Beginners

For a smooth start, start from easier plants. Here are the samples.

1. Agave – houseplants are grown for windows with sunlight.

2. Aloe – the smaller species are good to grow them together.

3. Adromischus Cristata – the baby toes plant and looks like plump feet.

4. Crassula – these plants can bloom with pink or white clusters in winter.

5. Echeveria – they are resilient plants. (Echeveria Glauca and Echeveria Elegans)

6. Faucaria – their leaves are arranged like a wide opened toothy grins.

7. Haworthia – resembles with aloe but much easier to take care of.

8. Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana – hybridized flower in color red, pink, and orange scale.

9. Sanseveria – Boring but easy to take care of.

10. Sedum – look for tender types such as sedum morganianum for an easier beginning.


Can Succulents Grow Indoors?

Yes, they can, it depends on their kinds and species. Some succulents are sensitive to too much sun, once they’ve been exposed to too much sun their leaves might fade, spot, or even get scorch.

Do Succulents need shade or sun?

Most succulents thrive for a lot of light but they cannot survive a very hot temperature and the direct heat of the sun. In this case, they might die and get dry if exposed to too much heat.

According to Chris Murray, manager of perennials and annual plants at Gali’s Florist and Garden Center, succulents can grow very well in shade due to its adaptive character. Since succulents are native to desert regions where the temperature is very hot at daylight at too cold at night, it is possible for succulents to survive extreme coldness without the presence of sunlight. He also said that they can grow in the temperature ranging from 55 to 85 degrees.

In watering succulents, it is important to not overwater them because they store water in their fleshy leaves, stems, and shallow root system thus succulent mean ‘juicy plant’. The amount of water that a succulent must receive should be equal to the amount of light that it gains that it why Silverman advised to water them every two to three weeks.

The most appropriate succulent for shade is the cacti due to its special adaptions such as thick stems, fleshy leaves, and enlarged roots which allows it to hoard water. However, the succulents must also follow the same water process whether they are grown in shade or not especially during summer because they also need to get watered to store in their stem.

Succulents that are having bright colors are such as red, orange, and purple needs to be exposed in sunlight and those that are green in colors are most possible to survive in shade.


I am a university teacher by profession, researcher, blogger, and gardener.

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