Do All Succulents Need Sunlight?

by Amber Miner

Do succulents need natural sun light or can you grow them indoors?

Shows an Echeveria 'Raindrops' cluster of rainbow-colored rosettes in partial sun light.

Succulent plants naturally grow outdoors in arid climates and most need some direct sunlight to thrive. However, there are some types of succulents that can thrive indoors - and most can be grown indoors - if the right conditions are provided.

First, let's talk about the conditions succulent plants need to survive

Succulents - like all plants - need the following conditions to survive:

  • light
  • air
  • water
Sun-hardened variety of succulent plants, mostly cactus, aloe and agave plants, in a full sun garden.

Since succulent plants retain so much water in their stems or leaves, they don't need as much water as most other plants you keep in your home or garden. This means you might need to be careful not to overwater your succulents, which can be a danger to succulent plants.

Do succulents need direct sunlight?

Almost all succulents like to receive at least partial direct sun. This means they like to get 2-3 hours of direct sunlight each day. There are also a few succulent plants that like full sun. This means they want to get at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight each day.

There are, however, some succulents that can thrive indoors - or on a patio - with NO direct sun. These plants do great, as long as adequate bright light and good air circulation is provided.

Types of succulents that can thrive indoors include:

Variety of Haworthia plants, translucent, slow-growing plants that make great indoor beginner plants.


  • Sansevieria, also known as 'Mother's Tongue' or 'Snake Plants'
  • Haworthia, Haworthiopsis, & Gasteria such as the very popular 'Zebra Plant'
  • The 'String' Succulents, such as 'String of Hearts', 'String of Pearls', 'String of Dolphins'

TIP: The above plants make great client and host gifts since they can thrive indoors with no direct sun and are also easy-care succulents.

How to Provide Adequate Light for Indoor Succulents

Shows a variety of colorful rosette succulents thriving in ideal growing conditions.

There are a few different ways you can provide your indoor succulent plants with adequate bright indirect light:

  1. Place your plant near a south-facing window (behind a sheer curtain is often recommended).
  2. Place your plant near ANY available window - behind a sheer curtain is almost required if mid-day sun shines directly through the windows.   This is especially true in the summer.
  3. Place your plant near indoor lights. There are plant grow-lights on the market, so you could research those options. Since we grow our plants outdoors, we don't have specific recommendations in this category. However, we have heard repeatedly that there are numerous types of regular light bulbs on the market that will provide adequate light for indoor succulents.

IMPORTANT: Always take the time to acclimate your plants to their new environment, even if you just brought them home from a local nursery. Placing them too close to any light source - whether direct sun or light bulbs- can cause the plant's leaves to burn quickly.

How to acclimate your plant to direct light

To acclimate your plant to direct light, start with around 30 minutes of direct light (not too close if a bulb OR give it early morning sun only if possible). Then up the time the plant is in direct light over the following days slightly until it is in the final location you will keep and getting the full amount of direct light you expect it to get.


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