In order to grow healthily, succulents needs sunlight. Native to semi-desert areas, what they are accustomed to (and genetically preconditioned to) is lot of sun and little of water. But do they thrive in full, direct sunlight?
In my personal experience, vast majority of succulents are not capable to survive under the full sun for a prolonged period of time. They love a lot of light ,but they need protection against the scourging sun. High temperatures can kill succulents. The smaller your plants, the more vulnerable they are to such a damage. Aside from the full sun, succulents don’t like too much water and moisture. But this does not mean that they can survive without water.
Both sunlight and water are important to allow succulents to grow well. However, just like with us humans, too much of good things will eventually harm us. The same is truth with the plants. Let me share with you a few ideas that will make you and your plants happy.
Good air circulation is the key, regardless of sun exposure
Succulents can live indoors. I have many succulents inside my house and they are thriving. Examples are aloe and kalanchoe. There are other varieties that have the same characteristics. However, not all succulents do well indoors. Most of them love arid climates and good air circulation–just like they would get in a semi-desert. If you really want to see succulents grow to their potential aesthetic character, give them enough air to breathe.
This is the reason why most succulents do better outside than inside. I also do recommend succulents in the terrarium. Placing succulents in such a small space prohibits them to get enough air, and they suffer from poor aeration. In such conditions even optimal exposure to sunlight won’t ensure that they will grow to full beauty.
Protect your plants from direct sunlight
The morning sun is the best for succulents. When the temperature reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you better protect your succulents with shade. The baby succulents are even more prone to sunburn from exposure to direct sunlight. Another sign of a vulnerable succulent is the color. Succulents with green, variegated, or pale spine are vulnerable to sunburn.
If you want to keep succulents outdoors, choose the varieties that have blue, red, or with a spine. These types of succulents are native to almost desert areas, and they are accustomed to direct sunlight.
Good soil will also help avoid problems
Providing the right succulent soil mix is necessary if you want succulents to grow well. When it comes to soil, choose one the dries fast. It will protect succulent plants from over-watering and rotting.
The materials usually found in a good succulent soil mix are coarse perlite, crushed lava, or pumice. If you have such materials back at home, you can mix your own healthy soil for succulents. And if you do not, you can order it online. Check my favorite one that I normally buy from Amazon. The good thing about buying soil mix online is that it is super easy and hassle-free. You just get the package, open it, and can start potting…
Give an extra source of nutrients when needed
Aside from sunlight, water, and good succulent soil mix, succulents do need an extra source of nutrients. In short, they love to be fertilized–but only occasionally.
Depending on many factors, I found it perfect to fertilize a succulent once every six months or once per year. Of course, this is not a rigid rule. Some succulents may need more fertilization, especially those that are actively growing, and are accustomed to a soil with more nutrients. In applying the fertilizer, always follow the directions from the package. Remember that your succulents’ roots can burn from over-fertilization.
Sun is fine but frost is not
There are many species of succulents. Some of them can survive frost, but some cannot. It is very important that you know what variety of succulents you are growing. Knowing their weakness is an essential in deciding when to take them inside.
If you are growing soft succulents, they couldn’t withstand freezing temperature. Bring those beautiful plants inside, and once the spring returns and with it hotter days, you can take them outside again…
When bringing succulents inside, however, new challenge presents itself–the source of light. They need sun exposure. What you can do is place them in the window still, so they get at least some indirect sunlight each day. Another option is getting a grow light (check my recommended grow light on Amazon). Grow lights are a good alternative to natural light, and in certain circumstances they are your beast bet.
Succulents do need sunlight, but they cannot withstand full sun throughout the day. You need to protect them by providing shade. They need sunlight exposure in the morning, not in the afternoon. If you leave them under the scourging sun, there is a high chance that they will get burned, and may eventually die.
I hope this helps, and wish you happy growing! For more guidance on how to grow succulents, you can visit my complete guide here. Thanks for reading, and if you want to share personal experience, something, feel free to leave a comment below.