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How Much Light Do Succulents Need? (Guide to Grow Indoors)

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Have you ever wondered how succulents can survive as house plants? It turns out succulents need light to survive! But how much light do succulents need? 

As a general rule, a succulent requires six to eight hours of light a day. Succulent plants that are grown indoors near windows will do the best. A succulent grown away from a window can survive, but it will not flourish without increasing its sunlight. 

Succulents are popular sun-loving houseplants, but they require special care. One of the most important things succulents need is light! This article will teach you about how much succulent light succulents need and what type of lighting succulents prefer to grow in.

Four succulents in concrete pots sitting on wood table.

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Finding the Right Light for Your Succulent

A succulent requires six or more hours of sunlight per day. This can be achieved by placing succulents near windows that receive direct sun with a southern, eastern, or light western exposure. 

As these popular houseplants grow older and larger, they need more light to stay healthy, so it’s important to know when your succulent is getting enough sun!

Anytime you introduce a new plant into your home, you want to give it proper sun so it can photosynthesize efficiently.

Succulents love bright light and do not do well in low light conditions or shade. However, there are a few exceptions we will get into later. 

Using Natural Light for Succulents

If you want indoor succulents to grow in your home and thrive, try using natural light with good sun exposure from a window as the primary source of lighting. 

The following windows will give your succulent the proper lighting:

  • East-facing – This is the second-best window to choose for your succulents. 
  • South-facing – These are the best windows for almost all plants, not just succulents. And because succulents like direct sunlight south-facing windows are the best option to choose, if available to you. 
  • West-facing – This is the third-best window to choose for your succulents. A plant will not necessarily get the six-plus hours of light it needs to survive. 

As time goes on, your indoor plants, (succulents) will need more light, so make sure they are placed near a south, east, or west-facing windowsill that’s exposed to direct sunlight for at least six hours. 

Give them as much sun as possible, making certain curtains do not obstruct the light intensity.

If there are no windows nearby that provide enough full sun for your succulents to get 6+ hours of natural sunlight, or if you live in an area where the weather is consistently cloudy, then consider supplementing artificial lighting with some bright lights.

Let’s dive into the type of light source you have available for your succulent.

Using Artificial Light for Succulents 

A succulent plant can also grow in a brightly lit room, with direct light coming from special fluorescent bulbs.

Fluorescent light is a good solution for succulents that need less light, but it’s not the best choice if you want to enjoy your succulent plants because they won’t look as vibrant.

You can also use artificial lighting during winter months when sunlight hours are reduced, and succulents might otherwise go dormant. During this time of year, you can supplement natural sunshine with artificial light. 

Additionally, if you live in a home or apartment with limited window space, or windows facing the north, you will have more luck with growing succulents by setting up a few grow lights.

The following is a list of different types of grow lights you can use for succulents:

  • Fluorescent bulbs – These bulbs are best for succulents in low light conditions. Succulents will need to be placed closer to fluorescents than any other type of artificial lighting because they don’t emit enough brightness on their own. 
  • Incandescent bulbs – This is the least expensive option and easiest to use. However, these lights only come in warm tones, which may not output the proper rays for your plants to harness and photosynthesize with.
  • LED bulbs – These are one of the most popular choices, but not good if you want succulents with bright colors or fleshy leaves. LEDs are great for succulents that prefer lower light levels like cacti and agave plants.

Nowadays you can even shop for special plant lights that give off blue light and red light. Some of the best grow lights even have special features like timers and dimmable switches. 

When using a grow light or an artificial light, you should keep it on for six to eight hours a day. It is alright to keep a grow light on longer, but they should be turned off after twelve hours maximum. 

Cactus in concrete pot in front of gray wall.

What Is the Best Way to Care for Succulents Indoors?

The best way to care for an indoor succulent is to provide it with enough light.

There are a few different types of succulents, but they all need plenty of sunlight to thrive. Succulents that require less light can be placed in indirect or filtered natural sun. 

However, succulents also need water and proper drainage to thrive. Taking care of your succulents in all regards, not just sunlight, is important to have a healthy plant. 

Some common succulents that tend to be relatively easy to care for include the following: 

  • Aloe vera
  • Jade plant
  • Snake plants

Caring for succulents is not difficult if you provide them with the right conditions, which generally are a sunny window and no excessive watering.

Are There Low Light Succulents?

As we mentioned earlier, there are a few different succulents that can tolerate low light conditions.

This means that the succulent does not need to be placed in direct sunlight to survive. A low light succulent can tolerate being placed away from a window in indirect lighting. 

Here is a list of plants that meet that criterion:

  • Crassula ovata or the jade plant
  • Sansevieria trifasciata is also known as the snake plant
  • Schlumbergera bridgessii, or the Christmas cactus
  • Sedum morganianum or the burro’s tail plant
  • Senecio rowleyanus, also known as the string of pearls plant

These plants can tolerate low light conditions; however, they can go on to thrive in more sunlight. This is especially true for the Christmas cactus, which will bloom in brighter conditions. 

Keep in mind if you are moving a succulent that has been in low light into a brighter area, like a south-facing window, make this transition gradual. If you shock the plant with more sunlight too quickly, you may see the leaves start to burn or brown.

If this happens, simply move your plant back into a shadier area, and let the plant get accustomed for a few weeks as you slowly move it toward more sunlight. 

Also be mindful that over-watering your succulents can make them more prone to bugs such as gnats.

Succulents Need At Least Six Hours of Light Daily

Most succulents need direct sunlight to thrive. However, there are a few low-light succulents that do not need to be right by the window. 

A succulent requires at least six hours of sunlight daily. This can be achieved through natural lighting or artificial lamps. Additionally, if you are moving your succulent from a darker area of your home to a windowsill, do so gradually to avoid shocking the plant. 

Growing succulents indoors vs. outdoors can present some challenges as it can be difficult to give your succulent the just right amount of light.

Keep in mind hot climates may be too much for certain types of succulents, so for more fragile varieties morning light may be best.

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