Can Succulents Be in Full Sun?

Succulents are mostly drought-tolerant. They can survive and thrive under intense heat conditions because the leaves are adapted to store water. But, do succulents like the sun, and do succulents need direct sunlight? Not always. However, it does not necessarily mean that succulents and direct sunlight go hand in hand. The truth is that there are some shade-loving succulents and some full sunlight admirers. In full sun, succulents love being outside in the sun, but in direct sun, shade-tolerant succulents can get hurt.

This blog post will answer the question “Do succulents like direct sunlight?” and also list some succulents that do and don’t like full sun.

Succulents are known for being tough plants that can withstand harsh conditions Many people wonder if succulents can tolerate full sun exposure or if they need some shade. The answer depends on the type of succulent Some succulents thrive in full sun while others need partial shade to avoid sun damage. This article will explore which succulents do best in full sun and provide tips for transitioning succulents to more sunlight.

What is Considered Full Sun?

Full sun means an area that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Partial sun is defined as an area that gets 4-6 hours of sun. Morning sun is gentler than afternoon sun due to the angle of the light Afternoon sun in summer can be quite intense and harsh in some climates.

When figuring out how much sun your succulents are getting, make sure to account for shade provided by trees, fences, or buildings nearby that may block the sun for part of the day. The amount of unfiltered sunlight succulents receive is the most important factor.

Best Succulents for Full Sun

Many succulents originate from hot, arid deserts and are well-equipped to handle full sun conditions. Some varieties that thrive in full sun include:

  • Sedums – Hardy sedums like Sedum nussbaumerianum are drought and heat tolerant once established. They flourish with 6+ hours of hot sunlight.

  • Sempervivums – Commonly known as hen and chicks, most sempervivums enjoy full sun and hot climates. The thick farina coating on their leaves acts as sun protection.

  • Echeverias – Varieties like Echeveria agavoides handle full sun especially well. Look for types with thicker, harder leaves.

  • Senecios – Blue chalksticks (Senecio serpens) does best in full sun. The silver farina on the leaves deflects sunlight.

  • Yuccas – Sturdy yuccas are extremely drought tolerant and unfazed by intense sunlight. Yucca rostrata is a full sun loving variety.

  • Agaves – Agaves thrive in full sun and many freely self-sow once established. Try Agave victoria-reginae for full sun.

  • Aloes – Hardy aloes tolerate hot, dry conditions nicely. Aloe vera and Aloe brevifolia grow well in full sun.

  • Cacti – Prickly pear and hedgehog cacti need at least 8 hours of direct sun. Varieties like Opuntia microdasys or Echinocereus reichenbachii thrive in full sun.

Transitioning Succulents to More Sunlight

If your succulents are used to partial shade or indirect light, it’s important to gradually transition them to prevent sun damage. Follow these tips:

  • Move pots incrementally over 2-3 weeks from shade to partial sun to full sun.

  • Introduce to morning sun first as it is less intense.

  • Observe leaf color and watch for scorching or yellowing, signs of too much light. Adjust as needed.

-Ensure they are getting enough water when exposed to more sun. The increased light dries plants faster.

  • Apply shade cloth or a light sheer curtain over the plants at first to filter intense sunlight if needed.

Providing Afternoon Shade

Some succulents may need shelter from the most intense afternoon sun rays which can rapidly dry out plants. Here are ways to provide some afternoon shade:

  • Move pots to a shaded spot after 2-4pm.

  • Use taller pots, trellises or bamboo sticks to cast slight shade onto plants.

  • Install shade cloth that blocks 30-50% of sunlight over succulent beds.

  • Plant around or under trees, shrubs or structures that shade in the afternoons.

Signs of Too Much Sun

It’s important to watch for signs of sun stress in your succulents:

  • Yellow or brown scorched spots on leaves

  • Wilting, shriveled leaves

  • Faded or washed out color

  • Leaves angled away from light

  • Stunted growth

These are signs you need to gradually move the succulent to partial shade and ensure it gets sufficient water. The symptoms should reverse after a bit of time out of the harsh sun.


Many succulents actually enjoy basking in full sun. Varieties such as sedums, sempervivums, echeverias, and cacti thrive with 6 or more hours of direct sun exposure. However, succulents that are acclimated to shade will need time to adjust to prevent sun damage. Introduce them gradually to increased light over 2-3 weeks. Provide afternoon shade if possible and watch for signals of stress. With proper care, most succulents can be transitioned to thrive in full sun environments.

Sun and Succulents – The Relationship

The relationship between succulents and the sun is fantastic. Succulents and cacti need light to survive and grow happily like all other plants. As a succulent lover, it is natural to wonder if succulents can be in full sun. You would wonder if succulents need a lot of sunshine or just a little shade. The one-word answer to this question is yes. Most of your houseplants like the sun; some prefer shaded sun while some direct sun.

You may have seen that some of your succulent species find it difficult to have healthy growth indoors. Thats because they are missing the light. Many of the succulents start to stretch or even struggle to live indoors. Take the Echeveria species that stop stretching even when placed at a south-facing windowsill.

30 Super Hardy Succulents For Full Sun With Names, For Pots & Garden


Can I put succulents in direct sunlight?

Succulents love light and need about six hours of sun per day, depending on the type of succulent. Newly planted succulents can scorch in direct sunlight, so you may need to gradually introduce them to total sun exposure or provide shade with a sheer curtain.

How much sun is too much for succulents?

Succulents love light and need about six hours of sun per day, depending on the type of succulent. Though most varieties of succulents will not survive with full shade, they also don’t need to be blasted with hot rays all day, so a sheer curtain can help ensure they get some shade too.

Can succulents go outside in summer?

Also, the morning sun is the best for them to flourish, especially in the hot days. Take all your indoor succulents out for the summer, but watch for the signs of sunburn that include color change or bleaching. In case you see any of these signs, move them back to a shady place.

How often do you water succulents in full sun?

How often should you water a succulent? According to Retro Den, the rule of thumb for watering your succulent is every other week during non-winter months. During the winter months, when the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it is recommended to water your succulent only once a month.

What is a good full sun succulent?

If you’re looking for a full sun succulent that is easy to care for, the Agave attenuata is an excellent option. The Aloe ferox, or Cape Aloe, is a full sun succulent native to South Africa. It can grow up to 10 feet tall and has a rosette of thick, succulent leaves. This aloe is a drought resistant plant that does best in sandy soil.

Do succulents need full sun?

Sedum is a genus of succulent plants with over 400 species that can be grown as houseplants or outdoors. These plants prefer full sun and will do well when placed in direct sunlight for at least 6 hours each day. 14. Sempervivum Sempervivum is a succulent native to mountainous regions in Europe and North Africa.

Are succulents heat tolerant?

Some varieties of succulents are more heat-tolerant than others. These are some of the best succulent types for full sun: Not all varieties within these species are tolerant of full sun, so you still need to check the sun tolerance of your chosen individual variety.

Do cacti & succulents need a lot of Sun?

How Long To Avoid Sunburn When we think of cacti and succulents, we usually think of desert plants that require intense heat and bright sun. However, contrary to this belief, most succulents do not thrive very well under blasting full sun exposure and extremely hot temperatures.

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