Cacti and succulents are typically thought of being desert plants that demand extreme heat and bright sunlight. However, contrary to popular assumptions, most succulents do not flourish in full sun and extremely high temperatures.
This is due to the fact that most succulents come from semi-desert habitats, which have comparable qualities to true deserts but receive more water or precipitation.
Furthermore, most succulents grow in low-lying places that are shadowed by taller plants in their natural habitats. In nature, they grow in cracks where they are shaded by rocks or boulders, or on hilltops where they are shaded by rocks or boulders.
Succulents adore the sun, and most require at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight every day to thrive. However, it is critical to recognize the age, type, and size of your succulent. To keep them alive, gradually acclimatize them to direct sunlight.
Continue reading to learn what to do and what not to do to ensure that you give your succulent the proper amount of sunshine to avoid dying it.
How Many Hours of Sunlight Does a Succulent Require to Thrive?
Succulents, in general, require at least 4-6 hours of sunlight every day to thrive. They enjoy being in bright and sunny environments. Succulents that don’t get enough sunshine will have problems like elongation or etiolation, in which the plants extend to get more light. This mechanism results in brittle stems and poor growth. Succulents that do not receive enough light may lose their bright coloring and become pale or dull green. Plants that receive enough sunshine will show off their genuine beauty by displaying their complete spectrum of brilliant colors.
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Do Succulents Need Direct Sunlight or Full Sun?
Succulents thrive in full sun but need protection from direct sunlight and extreme heat. Very bright sunshine can kill plants. Sunburned plants can develop lasting scars or even die if left out in the sun without protection. In order to avoid sunburn or sun damage, gradually increase exposure to bright sunshine. To do this, first provide some cover, then gradually increase sun exposure until it is properly acclimatized. Start with early sun, which is less harsh and better tolerated by most succulents, and work your way up to afternoon sun. When first exposing the plant to sunlight, place it in the shade or among taller plants. Gradually increase light exposure to minimize startling and leaf damage.
Shade-loving plants, as well as young or small plants, are more susceptible to sun damage. Red, gray, blue, or spine-covered plants do well in direct sunlight. Plants that are used to growing indoors are susceptible to sunburn or sun damage when first transplanted outdoors, thus it is better to do so gradually. Growing young plants in direct sunlight are harmful to them. You must let them mature before leaving them unguarded.
Your outdoor space is exposed to the sun at various periods of the day. Your succulents may need some trial and error to find their ideal spot. Some people love the cool early sun, while others prefer the hot midday heat.
Can Succulents Get Too Much Sun?
Too much sun, particularly direct sunlight, can cause sunburn and solar damage. Sunburn can occur in less than an hour outside, particularly on an extremely hot day or during a heatwave. It can also develop over time.
Sunburn is commonly detected by brown stains on the plant’s leaves. Sun stress in its early phases can be easily addressed to prevent additional damage to the plants. As soon as you detect the plant getting scorched, transfer it to a shadier spot or place it next to taller plants for shade. Some succulents will toughen up and survive when left unattended in the scorching heat, while others will fry to a crisp, depending on the sort of plant you have.
How Can You Keep Your Succulents Alive During Long Heatwaves?
Weather extremes appear to be growing more often as a result of climate change. You must live in one of the world’s coldest places if you have never experienced a heatwave. Heatwaves are extended episodes of exceptionally high temperatures that might linger for days or weeks without reprieve. Summer heatwaves are extremely difficult for plants that need humidity, as well as succulents and cacti. If left neglected, extended exposure to extreme heat can be harmful to your outdoor plants. Some plants recover from the damage and stress, but others may not. What can you do to help your outside plants during a heatwave?
Here are some dos and don’ts to help you survive a heatwave:
What Should You Do During a Heat Wave?
Provide some shade.
Preparing ahead of time is the best thing you can do during a heatwave. If you know a heatwave is on the way, it is advisable to locate shelter for your smaller, more delicate succulent plants. If feasible, relocate them to a more shady location. Small container plants that can be moved will fare better if temporarily relocated to a less sunny area, or even indoors. Taller, larger plants provide shade for my smaller plants. If you’ve planted your succulents in the ground, beds, or pots that you can’t move, covering them with shade cloth or muslin from the afternoon heat during a heatwave will also work.
During a heatwave, not watering your succulents for extended periods of time can be just as damaging as overwatering. Harder and more mature plants may be able to withstand these harsh circumstances if left alone, but smaller or more delicate plants would not. Check the moisture level in your soil. Touch the soil and go a few inches down if you haven’t watered your outside succulent plants in over a week. Under high temperatures, the earth will most likely be bone dry. It’s time to water, and water thoroughly until water seeps out of the bottom of the pot. The rule of thumb is to water outside succulents every 6-7 days.
During a Hot Sun, what should you NOT do?
Avoid doing anything dramatic to your plants. Adding unnecessary stress to the plants during an already stressful time is not the ideal plant care practice.
Do Not Repot.
If you’ve been meaning to repot your plant and have finally found the opportunity, repotting during a heatwave is not the best choice. Repotting any plant, even a mature established one, causes stress, and repotting during a heatwave causes considerably greater stress. To give your plant the best chance of survival, wait until after the heatwave to repot.
Do Not Propagate.
During a heatwave, it is not the greatest time to propagate. You want to propagate your plants when the weather is softer and less harsh. First and foremost, when propagating from an existing plant, you want to select a healthy plant to maximize your chances of success. Propagating from a stressed-out plant that is focused on surviving these difficult conditions may not yield the best results. Pruning and pruning your plant for propagation adds stress to the plant because it must work on mending and regrowing.
Do Not Fertilize
Fertilizing your succulents can help them grow tremendously. However, you must determine the best time and season to fertilize. You should fertilize or feed your plants when they are actively growing. During a heatwave, the plant’s first concern is survival. It is not in a growing state, and adding extra nutrients to the soil may do more harm than good.
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Can Succulents Survive Without Sun?
Because of their hardiness, succulents can live indefinitely without or with very little light. However, they will not thrive in these conditions and will soon show signs of distress, such as elongating or straining for more light and poor, stunted growth. If you give too much water and not enough sun, root rot happens. If the problem is not addressed immediately, the plant will rot from the roots up and eventually die. It is extremely difficult to preserve a plant once root rot has set in.
Growing succulents outside offer numerous potential benefits, but is it appropriate for everyone? It is also important to understand that when you leave your plants outside, you are possibly exposing them to insects, pests, and animals that can cause harm or spread illness.
I’ve cultivated succulents both indoors and outdoors. My succulents, however, flourish better outside because to my local climate and indoor lighting conditions. Because of succulents’ wonderful features and resilient nature, they can grow and thrive in a variety of conditions, which is part of their allure and why we adore them.