When I first started out with Succulents I was excited to find a species of plant that should withstand the harsh Australian sun. Since then I have found that the truth may be a bit different.
I have found the following scenarios.
- Agave Succulents will grow just as well in full shade as well as full sun
- Some succulents like sun but only for part of the day – maybe a few hours in the morning
- Some succulents grow best in dappled sunlight (ie under a tree getting some filtered sunlight)
- Some go bananas in the sun and thrive (and don’t do so well in the shade)
- Some succulents suffer when temperatures are 40C+ – understandably – who doesn’t?
When you buy a Succulent from a nursery or garden centre they are normally grown under some type of shade cloth. So these are the growing conditions they are used to. Now when I buy Succulents I am very reluctant to put them out in a full sun position straight away. There is always the option to check out Google but even then I have found that there can be conflicting information for the same Succulent plant species. Hence, I decided to adopt my own system.
I have planted Succulents straight from the nursery into full sun and they ‘have’ survived. They have struggled a lot at first and, at times, I thought they would die, but then they have turned around and thrived ….eventually. I think the best way, if you have the time and inclination, is to get them used to the full sun position in their pot. Put the pot in a position which would get full sun for say half a day and then half day shade. Increase the time in full sun until they are used to it.
Below are photos of succulents I bought at a Home Show Expo. I bought it during the Winter and kept it inside as a display piece.The bottom part of the plant grew inside in the Winter, its leaves are facing down and are pale and elongated. Once Spring came I put it outside it became a different plant. Facing up to the sun, the leaves are compact and full of colour.
The same happened with the Echeveria below in the same pot.
Even though I hadn’t intended this to happen it was a real eye opener for me with regard to sun and Echeveria/Graptoveria Succulents. The pot is now getting full sun for most of the day, the other smaller plants in the bottom of the pot are also thriving.
Can succulents survive a 40C heat wave? – see my post Can Succulents survive heatwaves?