Can A Succulent Grow In Shade?

Can a succulent grow in shade? This is a common question that gets asked regularly amongst succulent enthusiasts. In this article we will take an in-depth look at how shade impacts succulents and how you can create the perfect succulent garden in shade.

Spring and summer are the time of year when the green thumb in all of us tends to awaken, and we spend a great deal of time choosing the flowers that will accent our properties and the insides of our homes. Succulents are often chosen to grow indoors with limited sunlight, so most people assume that they can grow in the shade when planted outside. But can they really survive in the shade? 

Only certain succulent varieties can grow in the shade successfully, such as aloe vera and jade plants. Although most succulents can tolerate low light conditions, they still require light to survive, and plants that need more than 8 hours of light a day will thrive better outside of the shade than in it.  

So, how much sunlight is enough for succulents? And how much shade is too much? We’ll discuss these questions and more below so you can ensure your plant stays healthy and happy throughout its lifetime. 

Can Succulents Grow in the Shade? 

As mentioned above, only certain succulents can grow in the shade effectively, though they will still require some light to survive. Various species of succulents require different amounts of light. For example, some species require 10-14 hours of light per day, while others may only need half of that to grow. 

Although most succulents require plenty of sunlight, some varieties can tolerate low-light conditions.

Natural sunlight is the best way to keep a succulent happy and healthy. However, exposure to too much sun and your succulent could get sunburned; that’s why some shade is also necessary for succulents. 

But too little sun could also inhibit growth. With that said, as a general rule of thumb, it is safer to keep most succulents out of the shade than in it, though there are varieties of shade-tolerant plants available that you can grow in the shade.  

Which Succulent Varieties Can Grow in the Shade?

As mentioned above, different succulent varieties require different amounts of light, with some plants being more shade-tolerant than others. The following table breaks down a list of succulents that are better suited to grow in the shade

Succulent VarietyDescriptionMinimum Amount of Light Required
Christmas CactusThe Christmas Cactus can bloom several times a year. If you take proper care of these, you can see flowers with multiple colors such as red, yellow, and white.8 hours of indirect light
Echeveria Painted LadyThis gorgeous smaller succulent has red leaf tips, with blooms that are a colorful yellow-orange every spring. 6 hours
Panda PlantIf you are looking for a cactus that won’t require much in regard to keeping alive, this is the one for you. Their leaves are made to hold large amounts of water, so they can survive for a few weeks if you forget to water them.6 hours
Aloe VeraAnother easy cactus to grow for beginners, this plant also has excellent medicinal values for topical skin issues.6 hours
Jade PlantThis is another excellent choice for someone just starting to grow cactus. They are easy to maintain and do not require the same amount of water and light that some other species do.4 hours
Flaming KatyIf brightening up your room or patio is what you are trying to do, then the Flaming Katy is a perfect choice. It requires little maintenance and adds a distinctive flavor to wherever you decide to place it.4 hours of bright sunlight
Burro’s TailAnother beautiful species of cactus, the Burro’s Tail only requires watering once per month if it is being grown indoors and every few weeks if it is outdoors.  4 hours of morning sunlight

The Jade plant is a low-maintenance succulent that does not require too much sunlight or watering.

Other succulents that can survive in the shade include:

  • Devil’s Backbone
  • Elephant Foot
  • Euphorbia
  • Foxtail Agave
  • Gasteria
  • Hoya
  • Night Blooming Cereus
  • Rosary Vine
  • Saucer Plant
  • String of Bananas
  • String of Hearts
  • String of Pearls
  • Woodland Stonecrop
  • Zebra Plant

Can You Use Artificial Light for Succulents in the Shade?

With succulents, you have the option of using natural sunlight or artificial light, depending on where you plan on keeping your plant and how much light it needs during the day. Although artificial light is more common for indoor succulents, if you plan on leaving your succulent planted outside in the shade, artificial light will be necessary—especially if your yard naturally doesn’t receive enough light as it is.

Depending on where you have decided to grow your succulents, you can use natural or artificial light.

With that said, you’ll need to be mindful of the type of succulent you choose, how much sunlight it needs, and where you keep it. Again, if you have enough natural sunlight that comes through the shaded area of your yard, then you can keep your succulent in that direct or offset light. On the other hand, if the shaded area in your yard does not have the light needed for your plant, consider artificial lighting. 

Artificial Lighting

Although succulents will survive even with lower light, a lack of sufficient light can also kill a succulent. With that said, if there is no light available even when outside, you will want to keep succulents under artificial light for at least 4-6 hours every day. This applies to all types of indoor lighting and sunlight, as well as incandescent, fluorescent, CFL Bulb, and LED lights. If it is a small, potted succulent, you may need to bring it indoors to provide it with enough artificial light. 

LED and fluorescent bulbs are the best options if you want to expose your succulents to artificial light.

Tips for Growing Succulents in the Shade

If you do decide to plant or keep your succulent in a shaded area of your yard, the following are a few tips to keep in mind: 

  • If the area is heavily shaded by a tree, consider pruning some of its branches so some natural light can seep through. 
  • If an awning covers the growing area, consider raising a potted succulent so you can move it into the sunlight as needed or set up an artificial light station. 
  • To increase the likelihood that a bed of low-light succulents survives, consider mixing container-grown succulents with in-ground ones. 
  • Because your succulent will have limited access to sunlight, the water you give it will not evaporate as quickly as a plant in direct sunlight. With that said, only water half as much as you would if the succulent was in direct sunlight. Remember that too much water is worse for a succulent than too little; too much water will cause its leaves to wilt and die. 
  • If you’re unsure when it’s time to water, stick your finger about two inches into the plant’s soil. If it is dry, it’s time to water. 
  • It is also essential to ensure you’re using porous soil that drains easily so water can evaporate when the succulent is exposed to light. To help with drainage, add in a little coarse sand and compost. This will help with keeping the succulent and its soil at the proper saturation level.

Conclusion

In summary, succulents can survive in the shade as long as you’re able to still provide them with the light they need. Each species will require a different amount of sunlight and water to survive, so be sure to research the succulent you want to raise first before deciding to keep it in the shade. 

Generally speaking, if you want to raise a succulent in a shaded part of your yard successfully, you’ll want to opt for a shade-tolerant plant variety, such as the holiday cactus, aloe vera, jade plant, or hoya. These plants are built to survive low-light conditions and can thrive as long as they still get access to some levels of light throughout the day. 

read this next

Whether you’re starting fresh by buying your first cactus, or looking to add on to your collection, choosing your new plant can be a little confusing. That’s why we created this handy guide to help you figure out what kind of cactus will make the perfect addition to your home.
Cactus plants are great plants to have in your home since they bring subtle beauty and an incredible visual experience, especially when they flower. The only thing you need to ensure when growing these plants in your home is to have them in the right place
Succulent foliage comes in a wide spectrum of colors. Most of the time, the colors are very specific to the variety, but there can be many different causes for leaves turning yellow or brown. In this post we will go over some of the most frequent reasons and how to fix them so you can enjoy your succulents again.
Sempervivum does need full sun to grow well. Full afternoon summer sun is best, but Sempervivum will tolerate light shade. If your Sempervivum are not growing well or are losing their color, a lack of sunlight may be the reason.
Aloe Vera plant
Aloe Vera plants are grown worldwide because of their usefulness. They are easy to grow outdoors but some varieties will need attention and protection from the colder months. The article looks at the 10 best Aloe Vera types to grow outside
What are cactus plants made of? Cacti, also known as succulents or Succulent plants, are actually made up of specialized stems and leaves which store water, similar to the roots system of non-succulent plants. They contain high amounts of organelles called plastids; these store food for the plant. Here are some unique features of cacti and additional information on how these amazing succulents use them.
Unlike other plant families, cacti can grow healthy and survive without much water. Water-efficiency is linked with several features, including the presence of spines instead of leaves, respiration at night to conserve water, globular shape, ridges, ribs, broadly dispersed root system, and waxy surface
Although growing cacti plants can be challenging, using the right soil makes the work a little bit easier. Good potting soil that is well-drained and nutrient-rich will make your plants thrive and look healthy
The jade plant is one of the most popular houseplants beloved for its evergreen nature and shade of green. It can survive in low light, little water, infrequent repotting, and still stay beautiful! Here are 6 amazing facts you didn’t know about this amazing plant.
Not many people know about this carnivorous plant and how to care for Venus flytraps. There are several varieties of Venus flytrap, including the red, yellow and white ones. They are known as Dionaea muscipula which is the most common type you can find in virtually any nursery today.
Watering euphorbia is important to its health. Too much water, too little water and even the right amount of water can all be problematic. Here are 7 simple rules that will make it much easier to keep your euphorbia happy and healthy!
Sansevieria, is a beautiful and easy-to-care-for indoor houseplant that many people use as a decorative element in their home décor. It is very popular for its durability and relatively maintenance free care. Learn how to take care of Sansevieria with our essential guide.
Agave are a succulent plant indigenous to Mexico, and they’re gaining popularity with chefs and home cooks alike, who are discovering that the blue and silver varieties – tequila comes from a blue agave, while mescal generally comes from a white variety – add an unexpected nuance of caramel sweetness to various dishes.
It is possible to save a rotting cactus as long as the damage isn’t severe, Be sure to take action as soon as you notice any signs of rot on your cactus plant. Keep in mind that this is a serious problem that can easily lead to the death of your Cacti
The cactus plant is one of the most popular and easiest to grow houseplants. Propagating a cactus is much easier than most of us think. If you are thinking about propagating cactus plants, then stick around for a little bit as I will show you how to do it like a pro.

Receive the latest news

Get Our Cacti Newsletter

Stay updated with the latest facts, tips, advice, and more!

Your privacy is important to us.