Can Succulents Grow Outside in Full Sun?

Can Succulents Grow Outside in Full Sun
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Can Succulents Grow Outside in Full Sun

Can succulents grow outside in full sun? I receive this question over and over again from my readers. Today, I decided to answer it. In this post, I will share the answer that you can learn from.

Succulents are versatile and colorful plants that are native to semi-desert locations. The versatility of these plants leads people to think that succulents can grow everywhere. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Can succulents grow outside in full sun? The answer is it depends on the type of succulents. Not all succulent varieties are capable of thriving in full sun. But the best succulents that can grow in such an environment are the tree aeonium, firesticks, blue chalk sticks, and echeveria.

The fact that you are reading this post means that you are not sure whether or not the succulent variety you are about to plant can grow in your current environment.

I understand that situation. I had been there several years ago. The good news is that I have something for you today.

In this post, I will share with you some of the tips from my personal experience in growing succulents for many years now.

But before diving into the tips, let me share with you the truth – the truth that everyone can grow succulents regardless of geographical locations they are in.

Related Article: Types of Succulents for Outdoors

You read it right. You can grow succulents wherever you are. Some people know this. But if you are new to growing this type of plant, you might be wondering how you can do it.

Don’t worry, this post is created for you. My ultimate goal here is to share with you some ideas so that you can successfully grow your succulents too.

Because of the assumption that succulents are tolerant of extreme environmental conditions, most people think that these plants are hard to kill. But the truth speaks the opposite.

Succulents are just like any other plants that need the care to make them grow alive and healthy. What is true though is that succulents are easier to grow and need lesser attention compared to other plants.

In some instances, however, depending on the variety, succulents do need special care for them to thrive. The environment plays a very important role in the growth of these plants.

So, can succulents grow in full sun? As mentioned, the answer depends on the type of succulents.

In this post, I will help you pick the right succulents that can grow outdoor. In addition, I will also give you the steps you can do to ensure success in growing succulents.

Interested? Let’s dive in!

1.  Pick the Right Succulent Variety

At this point, you should already have a pretty good hunch that not all succulents can survive in full sun. Some varieties are better left indoors or in shade.

I learned this lesson many years ago after losing many of my succulent plants. My experience taught me that a successful succulent growing involves knowing the types of succulents in the first place.

Generally, there are two categories of succulents you can find; the hardy and the soft ones. The first category is considered to be more tolerant of full sun. While the soft ones are more vulnerable to sunburn.

Although this categorization makes sense, it is not absolute though. Throughout the years, I learned that every succulent variety has specific sunlight, water, and nutrient needs.

What I mean by this is that even the hardy succulents (depending on the variety) may not grow well indoors or outdoors.

Therefore, such categorization (hardy and soft) may not always apply across situations. To make sure that you do it right, make prior research on how much sunlight your succulent can take. This is because even the hardy succulents could not tolerate the full sun.

I recommend that, after buying a succulent plant from a greenhouse nursery, do not directly expose them to direct sunlight. This is because these plants need enough time to adjust to their environment. And usually, it takes time for them to acclimate to full sun.

Other than drought tolerance, you might also need to consider the frost tolerance of succulents. I highly recommend this if you are living in areas where winter occurs once a year.

The good news is that there are varieties of succulents that can stand against the cold season. Some of the examples are Sempervivums and Stonecrop Sedums.

If you are planning to grow your succulents indoor, then you might want to choose those varieties that can tolerate low light environment. Examples of these types are Haworthias and Gasterias.

I could have provided a long list of succulents here for both indoor and outdoor environments. But that worth another post.

Since this article is about succulents that can grow outside in full sun, I stick to it. In this section of the post, I will share some of the types of succulents that are perfect for direct sunlight.

Best Succulents for Full Hot Sun

As mentioned, there are certain types of succulents that can grow outside in full sun. There are many of them but in this post, I will only be sharing with you only four of them.

1. Tree Aeonium

Tree Aeonium is also known as Aeonium arboreum is one of the few succulents that can grow outside in full sun. This type of succulent can grow taller than other varieties up to 24 inches tall.

This plant is known for its cream leaves that occasionally turn into pink. It grows well with fast-draining soil.

2. Firesticks

If you are looking for succulents that can grow outside in full sun to be added in your landscape design, then the Firesticks (or Euphorbia tirucalli) can be your best option. This succulent has a pencil-like feature and orange color.

The good thing about this succulent is that it can survive in virtually any type of soil. If you don’t have well-draining soil, this one is perfect.

The Firesticks love full sun. They can grow 3 feet tall. The Christmas plant is a common example of this variety.

3. Blue Chalk Sticks

Blue Chalk Sticks are another great example of succulents that can grow outdoor. It is also known as Senecio mandraliscae commonly found in outdoor landscapes. It has thin pencil-like spiky leaves.

Blue Chalk Sticks grow well in full sun. They have white and yellow leaves perfect for succulent arrangements.

4. Echeveria

Echeveria is a succulent variety that comes with different vibrant colors. The blossoms can grow up to two inches tall. It is one of the best succulents for direct sunlight.

The good thing about this variety is that it can grow both in a pot and in-ground. For maximum growth, a soak and dry watering method are advisable.

The common types of Echeveria are the Worried Wonder and Blue Surprise.

2. Make Changes to Soil Materials if Necessary

How Fast Do Succulents Grow

The success in growing succulents lies not only in choosing the right variety but also in choosing the right soil materials.

As you might have already known, the soil is a huge factor as far as growing succulents go. Choosing the wrong soil ingredients may have the overall health of the succulents.

If you are growing succulents in humid areas, using the right kind of soil is very crucial. The same is true with a dry environment. A not suitable soil mix may cause rotting and even death of the plants.

If you are growing succulents in full sun, I recommend that you use a fast-draining soil for succulents (click here to check the perfect soil mix on Amazon). This soil prevents the plants to suffer from over-watering.

But a hot environment may dry the soil almost instantly. Although this is perfect for succulents, you don’t want to water your succulents every day, right? As soon as the water or moisture in the soil dries out, the next watering should commence.

To avoid an arduous more frequent watering schedule, you can add organic material to your succulent mix. The one that I recommend is the coconut coir (click here to see this product on Amazon).

This material is very good at draining fast but retaining just enough amount of water and moisture that the succulents love.

3. Choose the Right Pot of Container

Growing succulents outside in full sun requires a perfect pot or container for them to grow well. I recommend that you use a ceramic pot. And make sure that you choose the one with drainage holes.

Drainage holes provide an outlet for excess water. Succulents don’t like too much water in the pot. They can be easily get decayed.

Using a pot or container with drainage holes does not only make your life easier but also makes your plants safe from overwatering and rotting.  

If your pot or container has no drainage holes, you need to be mindful of the amount of water you are giving to the plants. Succulents in pots without drainage holes are more prone to rotting caused by an excessive amount of water they receive.

If you are just beginning in your succulent growing journey, using a pot with drainage holes is always a good idea.

Related Article: Do Succulents Like Small Pots?

4. Be Aware of the Mortality Rate

Growing succulents, especially in full sun, may not always successful. Throughout the years, I lost hundreds of my succulents. This happened regardless of giving the right amount of care and attention to my plants.

What I am trying to say here is that as you go along your journey as a succulent grower, do not expect perfection. You need to realize that you cannot expect that all the plants will successfully grow according to plan.

Some of the plants may die. And that is okay. That is part of the learning process. The best thing you can do is determine what causes the problem so that you can avoid it next time.

5. Don’t Afraid to Experiment

Growing succulents in full sun can be a lot of a rollercoaster ride. You will not know what works and what is not working unless you are brave enough to experiment.

Throughout the years, I made a lot of mistakes that led to failure. As mentioned, more than a hundred of my plants died due to the wrong decision.

But it was perfectly fine. It allowed me to learn so much. And those learning becomes my mentor as I go along in this journey.

The most important learning I have is that every succulent is different and every environment has a specific effect on the succulents.

With that said, it is very important that before you choose a succulent variety, you should do some research about the nature and needs of the plant.

The light source, soil, pots, and environment determine the overall health of the succulents. If you plant the wrong variety in a specific environment, you will more likely to see a healthy growing succulent.

Every growing technique may work well in a specific situation but not for all. So it is very important that you are flexible enough to adjust according to the needs of the plants you are growing.

Thoughts on Can Succulents Grow Outside in Full Sun

Succulents can grow in full sun. However, not all varieties are capable. There are types of succulents that are prone to sunburn. Thus you should not choose them when you’re planting them outside.

The types of succulents I shared above are some of the most versatile ones. They can thrive in full sun. Make sure to check their needs though before planting them in your outdoor garden.

I hope that this post has helped you figure out the best succulents that can grow in full sun. In like manner, it is also my best hope that through this post you get the ideas on how to grow succulents in full sun.

I have one little caveat though. All the tips and techniques I shared in the post may not always work depending on the climate and environment you are living in.

That said, I recommend that you experiment in some other ways. In so doing, you will be able to gain knowledge on your own.

Mistakes are great teachers. Don’t afraid of them. Embrace them and remain open to new possibilities.

Happy succulent growing! If you want to learn more about succulent growing, feel free to get my complete guide on how to grow succulents successfully.


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

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