Should You Put Your Sempervivum In Full Sun?

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.
A group of sempervivum exposed to sunlight.

Sempervivum, commonly referred to as the hen-and-chicks plant, is a relatively hardy succulent native to the rocky habitats in mountainous regions. These succulents are easy to care for, and their lovely rosettes will always stand out in your garden. These succulents are most valued for their beautiful rosettes, flowers, and spirally-patterned leaves. Each rosette is a young plant that is monocarpic.

So, does sempervivum need full sun? Generally, sempervivum needs full sun to thrive, but it can also grow in partial shade. The need for lighting mostly depends on the variety and species of the plant and many other factors. But one thing you must remember is that sempervivum cannot grow in full shade. Failure to provide the succulent with enough sunlight exposure will result in a weakened, elongated, and faded plant.

Do you have a sempervivum plant in your home and wondering whether or not to expose it to full sun? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

General Sempervivum Light Requirements

Typically, the hen-and-chicks plant prefers a spot in full sun but will also appreciate some afternoon shade if it is planted in a region that experiences too much sunlight.

These plants are not ideal candidates for indoor plants because of the amount of sunlight they require to thrive. When they fail to receive plenty of bright, direct sunlight, they will start stretching towards the closest light source and eventually die.

Sempervivum exposed to sunlight.
Your best bet would be to provide it with as much light as possible.

Studies have shown that sempervivum can tolerate partial sun, but tolerating doesn’t mean that these are the best growing conditions for the plant. Some species tend to do better in partial shade, while others will only survive when grown in full sun.

It is almost impossible to find a sempervivum species growing normally in shadow areas. So, if you have this plant in your home, your best bet would be to provide it with as much light as possible.

Sempervivum and Full Sun

As mentioned above, all sempervivum species can tolerate full sun, but not all of them can thrive in partial shade.

Most light is needed by sempervivum species with relatively broad, juicy leaves. Most of these species will have leaves with a diameter that exceeds four inches. The sunlight stimulates various chemical processes, leading to a healthy and happy plant full of vibrant colors.

When the plant fails to receive enough light, the rosettes will start to elongate, and the leaves will draw upwards.

The color of the stems and leaves becomes less bright while the center of the plant develops a green tint. All these are signs that your sempervivum is not receiving the required amount of sunlight.

A sempervivum exposed to morning sunlight.
A sempervivum that receives plenty of sunlight will generally have bright colors, larger leaves, and healthy rosettes.

Gardening experts say that this succulent requires at least 12 hours of direct sunlight to thrive and be happy. If you live in an area that doesn’t receive plenty of sunlight, consider using artificial grow lights.

Leave the lights turned on for at least 16 hours a day to ensure your plants absorb as much light as possible. A sempervivum that receives plenty of sunlight will generally have bright colors, larger leaves, and healthy rosettes that are flatter and lusher.

Sempervivum and Partial Sun

The Sempervivum Arachnoideum, a common sempervivum species, does great when grown in partial sun. This species needs approximately four hours of direct sunlight to survive and thrive.

If the species is exposed to full sun for prolonged periods, its tips will start to burn, and the rosettes will shrink in size.

However, it boils down to the variety; typically, large sempervivum varieties do better when grown in full sunlight and can only burn when underwatered.

However, most dwarf varieties, such as the Iwris species, tend to be vulnerable to full sun. Therefore, it is critical to understand the type of species you have before you decide on the amount of sunlight exposure to provide.

Smpervivum exposed to partial sun.
It is critical to understand the type of species you have before you decide on the amount of sunlight exposure to provide.

Sometimes, you can be having one of the dwarf varieties that won’t thrive even if you transplant it to several other pots. In such a case, the only problem could be that you are exposing your sempervivum to too much light.

The best way to test this out is by exposing your sempervivum to varying amounts of sunlight and recording the results.

If you expose your sempervivum to full sunlight for a given period and then it starts to turn its color to pale green with more closed rosettes, then it could be one of the dwarf varieties that don’t need full sun to thrive.

If you cannot transplant your hen-and-chicks plant that requires partial sun to a more suitable location, you should consider watering them more and creating a partial shade around them.

 Sempervivum and Full Shade

It is almost impossible for sempervivum to thrive under full shade. Keep in mind that all plants require access to sunlight because it plays a critical role in photosynthesis.

A sempervivum grown in full shade will generally be weak and pale. As a result, it will try to stretch towards the direction of light. If it doesn’t manage to reach the light, it will eventually die. It is almost impossible to come across sempervivum grown in full shade.

So, when you notice that your sempervivum is turning green and it is generally weak, check to see if it is receiving plenty of light. If it is growing in the shade, consider replanting it in a spot where it can receive direct sunlight.

Sempervivum expossed to little light.
These succulents may survive, but they won’t show their true characteristics.

In partial shade, these succulents may survive, but they won’t show their true characteristics. Since the plant is struggling to survive, it will channel all of its nutrients towards staying alive instead of showcasing its beauty.

Sempervivum and Sunburn

Unfortunately, your hen-and-chicks plant is susceptible to sunburn when exposed to too much sunlight or when there is a sudden temperature change.

When you bring a sempervivum plant that has been growing in partial shade in a greenhouse outside and plant it in full sun, sunburn is inevitable. Soon, you will start to notice visible spots on the leaves and other damage to the plant.

Sunburn can also happen if you transplant your sempervivum from the indoor environment into the outdoor garden. When exposed to sudden changes in light, your plant will start to turn yellow slowly and become smaller in size.

Sometimes, you may fail to notice any visible damage to the leaves but don’t ignore the yellowing of some parts of the succulent.

The best way to acclimatize a sempervivum to avoid sunburn is by planting it in partial shade for two to four weeks and gradually moving it towards the full sun. Ensure your plant is well-rooted to avoid other issues.

Your plant also requires proper watering to keep it hydrated. However, you need to be careful not to overwater your sempervivum because the results can be catastrophic. The only thing you need to do is keep the soil around the roots moist but not soggy.

If your hen-and-chicks plant suffers sunburn, don’t worry too much. Simply move it to partial shade, water it accordingly, and it will soon recover from the damage.

What Are the Other Sunburn Risk Factors?

Sempervivum is also vulnerable to sunburn when the soil moisture content is low, air temperature is high, and when the plant is still relatively young with an unestablished root system.

When transplanting sempervivum, you need to be very careful because it takes time before the root system develops fully.

Without sufficient time to develop the root system and acclimatize to the outdoor light conditions, the rosettes won’t be able to moderate the water content of their leaves to protect themselves from the scorching sunlight.

Can You Prevent Sunburn?

The simple answer is yes. The best way to prevent sunburn on your hen-and-chicks plant is to understand its light requirements. If you have one of the large variety species, there is no problem exposing it to full sun.

However, if you have one of the dwarf species, you need to be careful with how you handle it to prevent sunburn.

Sempervivum in a rocky garden.
The best way to prevent sunburn on your hen-and-chicks plant is to understand its light requirements.

Gradually move your sempervivum to shade when you notice any signs of sunburn and water deeply in the morning or evening. Avoid watering your sempervivum in the afternoon to minimize the risk of sunburn.

If you have a dwarf species growing in your outdoor garden, feel free to use trees, netting, or other landscaping elements to filter light out and provide your plant with the much-needed shade when temperatures hit the roof.

You can also consider planting them in a spot that receives plenty of morning sun, but is shaded in the afternoon.


Sempervivum is a hardy succulent that can tolerate a wide variety of light conditions, from full sun to partial shade. In fact, sempervivum will thrive in locations where many other plants would not.

However, there are some general light requirements for sempervivum that you should be aware of before planting them in your garden. 

As long as you follow the precautions and do everything perfectly, this succulent will flourish and bring colorful addition to your landscape.

Last update on 2024-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

read this next

A green pink aeonium exposed to sunlight.
Aeonium needs more sunlight than most other succulent species. It requires at least full sun and partial shade is sufficient in winter and cloudy days. Aeonium is a succulent with broad leaves, so it has the ability to photosynthesize much more efficiently compared to other succulent plants.
A agave plant blooming.
Different varieties of agave may bloom at different times due to factors such as climate, species, and age. Agave americana may take decades to bloom depending on the climate, but some varieties of agave can take up to 6 to 8 years to bloom, and most varieties would need at least 10 years to flower.
Agave plants need full sun and sandy soil to thrive. If your agave plant is not flowering, consider moving it outside where it will have access to direct sunlight at least 12-14 hours a day. Otherwise, ensure that the plant receives enough indirect light to stay healthy.
Cactus plants can be a beautiful addition to your wedding decor. From a floral-style centerpiece that sits out on the table for people to see, to a cactus wreath that can be placed over a doorway as guests enter, using cacti as part of your wedding decorations will allow you to add a little fun and flare to your big day!
A colorful succulent terrarium.
Succulents are wonderful plants to grow in your own home. Increasingly popular for their beauty, low maintenance and drought tolerance, succulents are perfect for those who don’t have much time or space to take care of them.
Succulents Terrarium
Succulents are so easy to grow. They require very little attention and there is nothing better than an earthy or whimsical addition to your home or office. Why not try making your own succulent terrarium? It’s really very simple.
Succulents are great for gardeners who love beautiful plants and do not have a green thumb. Succulent plants are low maintenance and can thrive right through the winter when frost and snow is present. What temperature does a succulent need in order to survive?
Cholla cactus, also called jumping cactus, are dangerous. These spines are slender and jointed. When the spine hits you, it breaks off, remaining embedded in your skin. If you have ever been hit by one of these spines, you know they can be painful to remove.
Haworthia are succulents (cactus plants). They absorb a very small amount of water and nutrients through their leaves, but they store the majority of these things in their main body. Here are 8 amazing facts that you didn’t know about Haworthia.
Are you spending more time at your home than ever? Now is the perfect time to jump on the plant parenthood ship! Green up your spaces by adding plants such as these cactuses! The question is: where to buy them? We’ve listed down the best places to buy a cactus.
Some people call it Tile Flower, some people call it Desert Rose. But we’ll tell you the name of this stunning flower, and we’ll tell you amazing facts about it that you probably didn’t know before. It’s not a rose at all, and in fact it’s not even a flower! It is also not rare, but it is wonder-filled with its vibrant colors and striking shape.
Ice plant is a succulent, meaning they store their water in their leaves. When you water properly, you water the soil underneath the leaves. This creates a wet environment which ultimately inhibits blooming. The reason most people toss ice plant away after purchase is because they are impatient growers and end up over watering, killing their ice plant.
As succulents are low-maintenance plants that thrive in harsh climates, overwatering is a critical issue that can lead to root rot or even death. Luckily, you can save your overwatered succulents and here are some tips to easily do it!
Terrariums are the perfect compromise to houseplants. Small, but not too small. Easy to care for, but still interesting. Set up a terrarium in your home and be astounded by the hardiness of plants, and how they will sprout new growth once properly hydrated. Here are some of the best plants that grow well in a terrarium.

Receive the latest news

Get Our Cacti Newsletter

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

Your privacy is important to us.