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Demystify natural light for succulents

4 min read

Demystify natural light for succulents


Choosing the right succulents for yourself can be quite intimidating, especially if you are unsure if you have a space in your home where it can happily grow and get enough sunlight daily at the same time. Though most succulents come with data about their lighting needs, knowing the different levels or types of light you have in your home or garden will help find the perfect spot for your baby.

Explain different type of lights

Demystify natural light for succulents

Direct light

Direct light or sunlight usually refers to bright, unfiltered outdoor sunlight. Succulents have access to the light source from all angles. Though there are indoor settings where the succulents can get direct lighting, like the south or north-facing window. 

Indirect light

Indirect light is sunlight that either passes through a medium, like a window shade, the leaves of a tree or reflects off another surface before reaching a plant. Most indoor settings only provide indirect light, like an east-facing window.

Bright light

“Bright light” or “full sun” often means there are no barriers between the light source and the plant. This concept is quite similar to direct light. It means, no curtains, blinds, a tall tree or building that may create shade. Spots like a sunny southern or western facing window, usually provide bright light to succulents.


Medium or what we call filtered sunlight refers to sunlight that’s been diffused or that shines through something else like a sheer curtain or a window. This is also called “dappled sunlight”.

Low light

Low light means that no direct sunlight will reach your plant. Most rooms with north-facing or partially shaded windows have low light conditions.

Green succulents often have better tolerance to low-light conditons than colorful succulents. So if your place only has a medium-light or low-light condition, we highly recommend getting a Gasteria or Haworthia zebra, as both of these succulents can do well under this situation.


    How to check the light level your succulent is receiving


    One of the biggest struggles everyone has in having succulents in their home, especially to beginners, is their ability to determine if their plants are having just the right level of light they need.

    Good thing there's what we call a "shadow test". A simple method to check what light level your plant is getting. Here's how you can do it:

    1. Go to the spot where you have placed your succulent.
    2. Get a piece of paper, and hold it up to the light source. Do this at the brightest time of the day (preferably around noon).
    3. Hold your free hand up and place it above your piece of paper.

    While doing this and you see a sharp shadow on the paper, it means that your plant is getting a bright light. The softer shadow indicates medium light. While the faint or unclear outline of the shadow means your plant is getting low light level.

    How much light do your succulents need

    Most succulents typically need at least 4 to 6 hours of bright sunlight a day. So if you are planning to grow your one indoors, they need to be placed in the brightest area of your home or office. But if you are wondering where could be the best place your succulent will flourish the most, here are the top 2 most recommended spots indoors.

  1. South Facing Window
  2. This location is the best with bright sun all day, which is great for succulents that love full sun like Cactus or Echeveria. If you see that the light your plants are getting is too much, just move it to the side or a few inches away from the window to get medium light level.

  3. East Facing Window
  4. In this spot, your succulents will benefit from the morning sun, where the rays are not quite as strong, which are often good for plants that need moderate or morning sunlight only. 

    Indoor vs outdoor light

    Since there are no barriers present outdoors, lightings outside have a brighter condition, even in the darkest shade compared to the brightest space inside your home. This is because the light source inside a house usually comes in one direction, like a windowsill, which limits or reduces its space to bounce freely around the plant.

    When grow light is a good option


    Although there are succulents like Crassulas, Haworthias, Tillandsias, and Kalanchoes that can tolerate low light levels, providing lighter and brighter conditions will make them flourish more and happier in the long run. So if you live in an area where light is not enough and consistent, usage of grow lights are highly recommended, especially if;

    • You live in a colder zone (zone 1-zone 6) and the window area at your home is not bright enough for your succulents.
    • You don’t have a south or east-facing window.
    • Your succulents start to stretch out.

    Bottom line

    In general, succulents are wonderful specimens that can add beauty just to any living space. Just make sure to place them in an adequate environment so they can happily grow all year round.


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