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Do Succulents Need Full Sun Or Partial Shade?

Do Succulents Need Full Sun Or Partial Shade?

There’s a huge assortment of succulents, so you can find some that prefer dappled sunlight (or partial) and others that need full direct sun.

Cacti, like those in the photo above, need the most sun. And those with lots of silver ”hair”, spines, or other trichomes are trying to shade their tissues, so give them the most sunlight, 6 hours minimum, if you can. Keep them potbound, clay pot preferred, allow to dry out before watering.

Succulents with thick cuticles give the leaves a powdery “bloom”. This waxy layer helps hold in moisture. Graptopetalum amethystinum (above), Echeveria, some Kalanchoe also have this bloom. It will rub off, but grows back with time. Give these plants at least 4 hours of direct sun, but they would love to get more.

Do Succulents Need Full Sun Or Partial Shade?

This succulent (above) grew a narrower stem when it was growing indoors in less light than it wanted. So, I took leaf cuttings (photo below) and cut the stem lower to start it over.

Do Succulents Need Full Sun Or Partial Shade?

Some of the aloes, Haworthia (below), and Gasteria are among the easiest succulents to grow because they can do pretty well with 3 or more hours of sun.

Another group of succulents has different needs—the orchid cacti, or the epiphytes, such as Christmas cactus and Epiphyllum. They live on tree branches in the wild, so they are more adapted to partial sun. But, with shorter winter days, give them at least a few hours of direct sun.

In fact, all plants do better indoors if they get more than the minimal amount of sunthat will keep them alive. Winter sun is weaker and not likely to burn plants in temperate regions of the world. It’s a real treat for them when they’re placed in some direct sun—-even ferns and pothos.

Learn to recognize the cues plants give us. Succulents will indicate “More sun, please” if they have narrowed stems, or if the rosette loses its shape and seems to be growing fast. Internodes (the segment of the stem between 2 nodes, where leaves are attached to the stem) are longer in lower light; direct sun keeps the leaves stacked closer together. Plants needing more sun will also have less intense color.

So, open those curtains and let the sun shine in! If you have to move some furniture to give the plants what they need, then so be it.

Tara Joy
A plant lover who loves nature and likes to share gardening tips.

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