While more popularly known as indoor plants, succulents can still look their very best even in homes that hardly get any natural light. The secret? Grow lights!
We call plants “succulents” due to their ability to store water in their leaves, thus allowing them to survive drought for longer. The usual species that pop into mind when it comes to succulents are the echeverias and cacti (the starters in my collection), but it extends to haworthias, sedums, jade plants, and snake plants, to name a few.
Just like any plant baby, good lighting is beneficial for succulents because it helps them to grow and thrive. Bright indirect sunlight is the optimum light for most plants. Insufficient lighting can result in slow or stunted growth, and inappropriate conditions may even lead to death. If your home doesn’t get much natural sunlight or you want to supplement it with additional lighting, there are several options to choose from.
Read on to find out the best lighting for succulents and how to choose the ideal illumination for your plant babies.
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Best Lighting for Succulents
Houses have different levels of natural light and use a variety of artificial light sources, such as lamps and fluorescent bulbs. To ensure that your succulents receive adequate lighting, it’s important to understand their specific requirements for illumination. Here are the top 7 grow light recommendations based on your succulents’ needs and layout:
If you have a simple succulent setup at home, we highly recommend this four-gooseneck grow light from LEOTER. The four-gooseneck grow light allows flexibility in lighting your small succulent setup, whether it is on a desk or a shelf, provided there is a place for you to clip this grow light on.
For its price, you get full spectrum lights customizable to your plant’s needs, including the intensity. It offers a timer, though limited to the three-time options (its more than enough!)
- “This light works great for my plants, but the timer situation was very strange. You have a 3, 9, and 12 hour option. Because you have to hit the on switch to turn on the light, you can't use a separate outlet timer. I wish there was a time in-between 3 and 9 because that is a huge difference! I am just using these to supplement the natural light my plants receive so I don't need that much time.”, Rachel Giles
- “The natural light is nice on gloomy days which others lack and the clamp is a bit stronger than most I've tried. Very good product and came quick, even for Prime. If I had one improvement it would be the stiffness of the goosenecks but again better than the last 3 I've used. I bought 2 and love them. Would buy again or recommend.”, Amazon Customer
If all you need is a grow light bulb for your succulent garden, Sansi has you covered. Their grow lights come in different wattages that can cater to small to medium-sized plant collections.
It is a full-spectrum LED grow light which can fit in any standard bulb socket. As it is only a bulb, the positioning to increase or decrease its intensity, along with the times it is turned on or off will be all up to the plant parent to set up manually.
- “For a $25 grow light it is great . Good for seedlings, babies and such.”, John Presley
- “Used in homemade space bucket system from seed to flowering stage & growing 2 plus inches a day!!! Sticking w/Sansi full spectrum LED grow light & the Sansi 200wtt capacity bulb for now on!”, Amazon Customer
Thinking big, like an indoor garden but don’t have enough sunshine? This grow light panel from Spider Farmer can be the key to your budding green thumb.
This grow light can provide enough sunshine for a 2’ x 2’ or 3’ x 3’ area, all while remaining energy efficient as compared to other varieties of grow lights suited for larger setups.
It also allows its users to adjust the light intensity depending on the plant needs, however, this one does not include a timer, so plant parents must schedule turning it on or off.
- “SpiderFarmer SF1000 is a solid indoor grow lamp. My tomato plants are responding to the light and visibly stretching for more. The light footprint is about 2'x2' and can be daisy chained. It was easy to setup, easy to operate, and it was easy on my wallet compared to a lot of other products..”, Brent
- “Overall I like it, used it to carry out my first grow in a 3x3 tent. I think these boards are great & I will be purchasing another for my next grow- however I believe most of these Samsung diode LED boards are all the same with different branding.”, Brendan Lugo
Want to grow succulents on a shelf without ruining the aesthetic? Choose this grow light from DOMMIA. It is so discreet that it can be fixed at the ceiling of the shelf and it shall provide the needed sunshine without giving that hanging bulb look on your plant shelf. It comes with a timer that can be set at 6, 10 or 12 hours, depending on your succulent’s needs. Be wary of the material that your shelf is built with, as the light panel only sticks to it via an adhesive. Overall, it is a budget-friendly option for a grow light.
- “They are easy to use and bright. I am not using the timing function. I plugged them into a smart outlet and am using the scheduling feature with that. That way I can use Alexa to control them. i just got them so i don't know how much they will help my plants but they look like they should help.”, Roger Fetes
- “Thin design makes it easy to hide and mount.”, Natalie
Another aesthetic option for a starter succulent garden in your desk or shelf is this grow light from Torchstar. The built-in shelf that the grow light is in can fit up to 3 or 4 small succulents. It also comes with a timer that can be set to 8 or 16 hours.
Though this grow light is mostly advertised for succulents, not all varieties of succulents thrive in the grow light. Reviews mention that echeverias prosper the most under this grow light.
- “I'm using this grow station to provide lighting for my succulent collection. I've purchased 2 of these and it's been a bit of a learning curve. I assumed I could put any type of succulent in here and everything would be great. Both my Aloes and my Haworthia do not care for this grow light. We have some severely light stressed plants here. My aloes have changed from a lovely green to a muddy brown. Same with the Haworthia. However, my Echeveria and my Crassulas are loving it. I think my cactus likes it too but who can tell with those guys? I am getting amazing color and growth. So for those types of succulents these stations are great.”, April Paddock
If there are only a few succulents in your collection that require specific lighting conditions that cannot be met in their assigned locations, give them the TLC (tender loving care) needed in the form of this small grow light from Lordem.
The setup is a no-brainer. Stick the grow light in the pot, adjust the height of the light stand to provide ample distance and adjust the strength and time that the light is on. If you are worried about using traditional grow lights for your plants and only have a few with specific light needs, choosing this budget-friendly and energy-efficient option is a great idea.
- “So far so good. It was easy to put together. I like how it is adjustable. It’s on a timer (I didn’t realize that was a feature). Meaning when I turn it on it automatically turns on the exact same time the next day. It’s cool that I don’t have to remember to turn it on. I like that it’s dimmable so I can adjust it to my plants needs.”, Ebony.
- “I love these lights, my plant seems to be reacting well and my only dislike is that I have a hanging plant and I wish the cord was a little longer but other than that LOVE IT , easy to set up. Seems like a quality product especially for the price.”, Angela Childs.
If you have the bucks to spare, this grow light from Soltech gives plants the sunshine they need and at the same time, the premium feel for its owners as the light can be mistaken as just your decorative hanging lamp.
With the correct distance of the grow light to its plants, the 3000K lumens is sure to provide adequate light for the various plants under it, just choose the correct bulb size according to the exposure needed by your plants.
- “I'm super happy with this light! The design is sleek and weight was surprisingly light for a grow lamp this size (large). What really got me is the light tone. It's perfect! Not too cold, not too warm. Great mood light too. I installed this yesterday so I can't say what my plants think about it, but I have no doubts they'll thrive within a couple of weeks.”, Sam.
- “I have been looking for a solution so I can have my fiddle leaf fig in my windowless living room. Aspect light was the solution! It was easy to install and my fiddle leaf tree is thriving! It has 2 new leaves!.”, Whilen W.
Consider the natural light requirements of your succulent or indoor plant garden when choosing the best grow light to purchase. While most succulents would do great in bright indirect light, some varieties can tolerate direct light and low light/shade.
- Direct light means plants receive bright, unfiltered light from the sun.
- Windows facing south or east receive plenty of morning sunshine.
- If you have sedums, jade plants, aloes and hoyas, they will thrive best in these light conditions.
- Be wary of the noon time sun though, as this can be too strong it can scorch leaves.
- Indirect Light means plants receive bright but filtered light from the sun.
- This means a room is still bright, but the rays of the sun are diffused with a sheer curtain.
- To know if the indirect light is sufficient, you should be able to read a book with ease without the need for any additional light.
- Echeverias, cacti, haworthia, string of hearts, kalanchoe, snake plants and zz plants will be happy in south-facing windows that get this kind of light.
- North and west facing windows hardly get any morning sunshine, but there are succulents that can tolerate being in low light conditions.
- Snake plants, cacti and string of hearts, among others, can tolerate being in low light conditions, but they tend to grow slower or leggier.
Types of grow light
- Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs): These energy-efficient lights are bright but they feel cool when your hands go under the light.
- Fluorescent Grow Lights: These are cost-efficient but have a shorter lifespan than LEDs.
- High-Intensity Discharge (HID) and Metal Halide: These are for commercial purposes or bigger setups. It produces high amounts of light and heat and may rack up your electric bill.
Color Temperature Spectrum
- There are 4 main color temperatures on a spectrum: Dim light (less than 2000k); warm light (2700K-3000K); cool white (3600K-5000K), and daylight (5000K-6500K).
- The colors your grow lights emit are important: blue lights make plants grow bigger, while red lights allow blooms to show.
- If you do not like the appearance of purple lights, choose full-spectrum white lights, with the visual temperature (think how yellow or how bluish-white the lights appear) around 3000 to 6000 kelvins.
- Consider the lumens, or the lighting requirements of your plants. The recommended number is 300-800 lumens per square foot for succulents.
- The electric consumption of your grow light is also determined by the strength of its lumens, so choose carefully.
Distance & Timing
- Place the lights 6 to 12 inches away from your plants, move them closer if you need more intense light on a smaller area or move it further away to diffuse the light to a larger area.
- Ideally, keep the grow lights on for 12 hours in the daytime and turn them off after to mimic a day and night cycle.
- Observe your plants and adjust the intensity and the duration of the grow light as needed.
Common Signs of Stress in Succulents
In the best conditions, succulents will look their very best even when they are indoors: their colors will flourish, their leaves and stems will look healthy, and they will continue to grow and produce pups: perfect for propagation. But what happens when your favorite office succulent is unhappy?
Too little light
- Succulents that receive little light tend to grow slower, or they will become leggier and will stretch to the direction of the closest light source.
- They will also change their color, their variegation will look paler and eventually, they will lose leaves and die.
- To help them along, that’s where the grow light shines! Grow lights can assist plants in growing, even in the darkest conditions.
Too much light
If your plant babies receive too much light, or if the temperature becomes too warm for them, their leaves will appear scorched or dry, and it will eventually fall out. To rectify this, move your plant to a shadier spot or dim down the grow lights.
- Be wary of pests that live under the leaves and the nooks and crannies of your succulents, if fungi (they appear when water doesn’t dry out quickly in the plant) or aphids infect your succulents, black scarring can appear on the leaves or stem of the succulents.
- Beat them away with 70% isopropyl alcohol. You can also cure the affected area with a cotton dip and alcohol, or in the worst cases, cut the damaged part altogether.
What kind of light is best for succulents?
The best lighting for succulents depends on the type of succulents and the environment but natural sunlight is the most optimal. Most plants thrive in bright, indirect light and a south-facing window with plenty of natural light. To protect your precious plant babies from the intense midday sun, you can use sheer curtains to filter out some of its rays. For indoor succulents, full-spectrum LED lights are an excellent choice. Grow lights often provide a broader range of light than standard lamps and can be much brighter.
What lights to use for indoor succulents?
Full-spectrum LED grow lights, which have a range of colors and intensities, are excellent for indoor succulent plants. You can also use fluorescent or HID lights for bigger setups but they tend to be more expensive and require more energy. Make sure you get the right strength (lumens) and distance for your plants in order for them to thrive. Move the lights closer for more intense light and further away for a more diffused light. Ideally, keep the lights on for 12 hours in the daytime and turn them off after. Monitor your succulents closely to adjust the intensity of light as needed.
Are regular LED lights good for succulents?
Regular LED lights may provide enough light for some succulents but they tend to have a narrow spectrum. They are, however, more cost-effective and energy-efficient than fluorescent or HID lighting. Full-spectrum LED grow lights are the best option for indoor succulents as they provide intense amounts of light similar to natural sunlight. With LED grow lights, you can also adjust the spectrum of
When it comes to growing succulents indoors, getting the right kind of light can make all the difference. While natural sunlight is the preferred option, grow lights can serve as an excellent alternative. As with most things in gardening, it takes some trial and error to determine what works best for your plants. With proper lighting, you can enjoy the beauty of succulents in any environment.
Happy planting! May your succulents “grow” on you!