In Basic Care

Do Succulents Like Direct Sunlight? Sometimes Yes, Sometimes No

When the average gardener gets their first succulent, they tend to find the sunniest spot in the home or yard to set the plant. This is because succulents are always touted as sun-loving, desert plants that prefer hot and dry environments. But in reality, do succulents like direct sunlight? Not always. In fact, not usually.

How Many Hours of Sunlight do Succulents Need per Day

Succulents do need several hours of sun a day but they prefer that the sun not be direct and hot on them. Direct sunlight could lead to sunburn on your succulent’s delicate leaves.

Instead of direct sunlight, most succulents would prefer filtered sunlight mainly. This means that the sun should go through the leaves and stems of another plant or structure before hitting the leaves of the succulent.

succulents like direct sunlight

Can Succulents Grow in the Shade

Don’t take things too far when you protect your succulents from direct sunlight. There are a few succulent varieties that can take less sun than others. However, even these “shade tolerant” succulents require several hours of good sun per day in order to thrive. Don’t plan on putting your succulent in heavy shade.

How to Increase Light for Indoor Succulents

If you don’t want to grow your succulents outdoors, and you don’t have enough sunlight for them inside, you need to figure out a way to get them as much sunlight as possible. Of course, there are a few ways to do this.

Move Outdoors in Summer

A great option, and the most natural for most succulents, is to take your succulent outdoors in summer. At this time, you can give your succulent its most organic source of sunlight. You need to make sure that you keep your sunlight out of direct sun but you can get your succulent several good hours of sun a day this way.

Choose the Right Window Sill

If you don’t want to take your succulent outdoors in the summertime, consider at least choosing the correct window sill to put it in. If you have a succulent that prefers direct sunlight, at least choose a Southern facing window. For succulents that do not like direct sun, a Northern or Eastern window will be an excellent option.

Add Artificial Light Sources

succulents under grow light

For the real succulent connoisseur, an excellent option to add more sunlight to your indoor plants is an artificial light source. Grow lights are just as powerful as the actual sun so be careful to consider the sun requirements of your specific succulents still.

If your succulent prefers direct sunlight, make sure that it gets direct light from the grow light and that it is placed close to it. However, if your succulent prefers filtered sunlight, place it lower down or make sure that there is something in between the plant and the grow light to prevent sunburn.

Rotate Your Succulents to Grow Straight

Even plants that do not like direct sunlight will tend to reach toward the sun. Because of this, many succulents will grow at unusual angles. Make sure to rotate your succulents regularly, even few weeks or so, in order to keep them growing straight rather than at angles.

Can Succulents get Too Much Sun

While some succulents like direct sunlight, most can get too much direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will cause sunburn on the leaves if it is too bright or too hot. Of course, there are several varieties of succulents that will tolerate or even thrive in direct sunlight.

best succulents for direct sun

Growing Succulents Outdoors in Direct Sunlight

If you are growing succulents outdoors in an area that has direct sunlight, make sure to choose one of these varieties of succulent. For growers who want a different variety of succulent, make sure that it is planted in a pot so that you can move the plant if it starts showing signs of sunburn.

How to Protect Succulents from Heat Waves

getting your succulents through a heat wave

An issue related to succulents in direct sunlight is the problem of heat waves. No plant likes to go through a sudden temperature change but a heat wave can be one of the toughest. If you do have a succulent that may be going through a heat wave, there are a few key things you should avoid doing.


Succulents grow in numerous different environments and some do like direct sunlight. If you are going to grow your succulent in direct sunlight, make sure that you keep an eye out for signs of sunburn or dehydration such as aerial roots.

You can also choose a variety of succulent that can withstand direct sunlight better. In general, the spinier and the thinner the leaves of a succulent, the more they can withstand direct sunlight. Of course, that’s just a guideline, there are always exceptions.

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