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Gardening

This Might Be the Reason Why Your Succulents Are Dying

Should your green wonders get direct sunlight all the time? We ask the experts.

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Photography: Pexels

Are you one of the many who have tried to keep a few pots of succulents? These cute plants, which are often purchased in equally adorable planters and setups, have taken homes, offices, and other establishments by storm not only because they can liven up a dull nook or add extra pizzazz to a thriving garden, succulents are low-maintenance plants as well.

However, if it’s easy to care for these plants, why do some find it difficult to keep a pot alive? Aside from overwatering, choosing the wrong planters, and working with soil that’s not compatible with your succulent, the amount of sunlight plays a key role in the growth of your plant. To help you successfully care for succulents, we asked Marvz Conti of Habil Crafts and Jamie Lyn Arcega of Smarty Plants PH if it’s safe for succulents to get direct sunlight all the time. Take note of their insights below:

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It depends on the kind of succulent you have.

“Some varieties thrive in direct sunlight while some don’t. If you purchase a new succulent, it is usually advisable to place them in a half-shade, half-sun position. Take note that the summer heat can be a bit harsh for them. You can gradually allow the succulent to receive more sunlight as it matures,” says Marvz.


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Most succulents need full sunlight.

When you purchase a succulent, ask the seller about proper care tips and the amount of sunlight it needs on a daily or weekly basis. “By full sunlight, that means at least six hours exposure to bright, indirect sunlight. Some can tolerate direct light, but more often than not, the intense heat of direct exposure may cause sunburn in succulents as seen in dark brown spots and scorch marks,” explains Jamie.

RL Tip: Ask the store attendant or seller if the succulent has a specific name. Do your research and read different sources so you can care for your plant.


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Always check your succulent’s color.

According to Jamie, brightly colored succulents—those that are red, blue, or violet—prefer full sunlight. “If they don’t get enough sunlight, the color will start to fade. Succulents that are a deep green are more tolerant of low light. They will still need sunlight, though not direct sunlight as they may get sunburn,” she adds.


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Check if your succulents are becoming “leggy.”

This is an indication that your plants are not getting enough sunlight. “It’s known as etiolation. You’ll notice more space between their leaves as they stretch and bend to look for sunlight. Exposing them to more sunlight once this happens won’t reverse the effects though,” says Jamie. To avoid etiolation, check your plants daily and listen to what it’s trying to tell you. Check the leaves for signs of overexposure to sunlight and if the soil is too dry.

RL Tip: According to Wikipedia, your plants are showing signs of etiolation if the stems are becoming weak, the leaves are getting smaller, and it's showing a pale yellow color.

Learn more about Habil Crafts and Smarty Plants PH by following @habilcrafts and @smartyplantsph respectively on Instagram. Marvz and Jamie also join pop-ups and hold workshops regularly. Check their pages for updates.

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