In an ideal case, our succulents will get plenty of direct or indirect sunlight during the day. They will flower and thrive, and we won’t spend any money on artificial light. World is not ideal though. Many of us live in places that get little sunshine in some seasons of the year. What’s more, we often work with offices with little or no windows. Yet we still desire to have succulents in our surroundings, benefiting from their air purifying qualities, and enjoying their timeless beauty. The only solution is buying an artificial light, often called also a “grow light”. And while you will find hundreds of grow lights on Amazon, the real problem is choosing the right one.
One of the differences in-between the products is the number of Lumen the light emits per square meter. It ranges a lot, and you can get grow lights with 1,000 Lumen per square meter and also 10,000 Lumen per square meter. Not every producer shares this information, but you can guess it by power. The more Watts the higher luminosity, as a rule of a thumb. Of course, technology and type of light also come into question, but that’s not what we want to discuss right now.
The more Lumen you have the less you need to keep the grow light on
Speaking honestly, there isn’t anything like an exact figure here, such as a certain number of Lumen, which you should aim for. The thing is though that the less luminosity the grow light has, the more you will have to keep it on. And if it is really weak, like 1,000 Lumen, it won’t provide the succulent sufficient light even if it is on 24/7!
As a ballpark figure, I will aim for light with at least 3,000-4,000 Lumen. With such lights the succulents can get what they need in about 12-14 hours, which is a reasonable time to keep the lights on. Of course, if you get a more robust product (and always a more expensive one) with 7,000 Lumen, you can reduce the time to half, which means keeping it on only for 6-7 hours a day. At the end it comes to your preferences, budget, and also to some simple Math, calculating how much electricity various lights will consume, and how it will translate to the number on your monthly electricity bill :).
Number of Lumen isn’t the only thing you should consider when choosing grow light for your succulents
It would be a mistake choosing the grow light based on a single factor, the luminosity. You should consider much more than that, mainly:
- Color temperature of the light. The best color temperature for succulents starts at about 5,000 Kelvins, since that’s the type of light (color) most succulents get in their native areas, the semi-deserts and deserts of Africa, Latin America, and Arabian Peninsula.
- The amount of heat the light radiates to the surrounding. You should look for lights that do not emanate too much heat, since it would cause harm to the plants. Luckily for us, the modern LED grow lights do not have this problem, so unless you buy some old-school light in a second hand shop, you should not worry.
- The number of Watts it consumes. This parameter is more about your electricity bill than the well-being of the plant, and we have already talked about it. However, the key is to also calculate how long you will have to leave the light on, since sometimes it actually makes sense buying a light with high electricity consumption but extremely strong luminosity/brightness.
- The design and height fitting for your setup and home. We buy grow lights for indoor plants. I am sure the last thing you want is getting some “ugly” light that won’t fit into the interior design of your house. Or, even worse, light that will be too small (when adjusted to maximum height) for your succulents, so you won’t even be able to use it…. The key is to envision the entire setup, how you want it to look like, and buy a fitting light accordingly.
There’s nothing like “an ideal number of Lumen” for succulents. No grow light can replace the sun, but succulents can thrive under grow light. The more Lumen it has the less you will have to keep it on, and contrariwise. But you should aim for at least 3,000 Lumen, in order to be able to turn the light off sometimes. Grow lights with low luminosity may not be able to give the succulents the amount of light that they need, even if they are on non-stop… I hope this post helped you to understand the problematic a bit better, and wish you good luck with your succulents!
May also interest you: Self-watering pots for succulents. Do they work?