Indoor succulents looking a little lackluster? Often, this is due to a lack of sunlight, but the addition of a grow light can quickly take your plants from lifeless to vibrant. Use the slider below to see what just two weeks under grow lights can do.
Read on to learn how to select and use the best grow lights for all your sun-loving succulents. You'll also find specific product recommendations for the lights and gadgets that transformed our house and office plants. Because succulents are too beautiful not to have indoors and out!
- Do I need a grow light?
- What to look for in a light
- Types of grow lights
- How far away should the light be?
- How many hours of light?
- Which grow light should I get?
- Other useful gadgets for indoor growing
|Succulent cuttings grown under an Aspect plant light
Do I need a grow light?
Succulents need sunlight to live and grow, but it can be difficult to get enough light to your plants when they're indoors. Indoor light fixtures can be in the wrong wavelengths and are often too dim and far away to be useful. Even window sills have less light than it seems because much is filtered by the glass.
While some succulents can tolerate low, indoor light (Jade, Haworthia, and Gasteria), most varieties stretch and fade when kept inside permanently. To grow sun-loving succulents indoors, supplemental light is recommended. Fortunately, there are many types of grow lights available that mimic the sun's photosynthetic spectrum and provide your plant with synthetic sunshine.
|Eventually, we all run out of window sill space.
What to look for in a light
Lumens are the main measure of light output or brightness you should consider. Our eyes are not very objective when it comes to measuring brightness, so it's important to read a grow light's specifications before purchase. Select a grow light that provides 300 - 800 lumens per square foot.
Wattage will only tell you how much electricity the lamp uses and does not describe the amount or quality of light produced. Lumens per watt, however, is a useful way to compare the energy efficiency of grow lights. The higher the lumens per watt, the more efficient the light.
Light exists in a range of wavelengths that appear to us as different colors. Plants tend to use blue light to grow larger while red light can stimulate flowering. Grow lights that produce only red and blue light can be slightly more efficient, but full spectrum, white lights support healthy plant growth without the annoying purple light.
The appearance of "warmer" or "cooler" colors of light is measured in Kelvins. A lower Kelvin temperature indicates warmer, red light while high Kelvin values are for cooler, blue light. In grow lights, the visual temperature tends to range from 2200K - 7500K. Succulents are fairly forgiving on this metric, and lights from 3,000K to 6,000K can support healthy growth.
Types of Grow Lights
There are many varieties of grow lights to choose from with different sizes, looks, and purposes. Read on to explore the pros and cons of the most popular types of grow lights.
Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
- Recommended: full spectrum white LEDs
- Emit bright light but very little heat so as not to "cook" plants
- Energy efficient and low-cost in the long-term
Fluorescent Grow Lights
- Recommended: T5 tubes
- Can be fairly cheap in the short-term
- Bulbs have a shorter lifespan than LEDs
High-Intensity Discharge (HID) and Metal Halide
- Recommended for large, commercial grow operations
- Produce the highest amounts of light and heat
- Consume the most energy and result in expensive electric bills for the entire life of each light
How far away should the light be?
Try to position your grow light 6.0" to 12.0" from your plants. You can keep the lamp closer to get brighter light over a smaller area, or farther away for less intense light over a larger area.
How many hours of light?
To start, keep the light on for 12 hours, then off for the next 12. This provides enough light for photosynthesis while also giving a dark period during which the succulent takes in carbon dioxide. Observe your plants regularly and watch for signs of Too Little Light and Too Much Light. Adjust the light duration accordingly.
Which grow light should I get?
With so many grow lights on the market, there are a lot of good options available for a wide range of growing conditions. We've tested out a bunch and three came out on top in different divisions. Our reviews are unsponsored and based solely only on our own experiences during trials.
For small setups: Sansi LED Bulb
- Dimensions: 4.5"W bulb in an 8.5"W reflector lamp
- Price: $26 bulb + $10 reflecting clamp lamp
- Brightness: 1,600 lumens
This is a versatile bulb of full spectrum, white LEDs that you can plug into the lamp of your choosing (we use this one). It is only big enough to light a few containers of succulents or several plants that already get some natural sunlight. We love the adaptability of this little bulb and how inconspicuously it works in the home.
For large setups: Durolux LED Panels
- Dimensions: 4.0'L x 1.9'W with adjustable chains for hanging and a 6.0'L power cord
- Price: $71
- Brightness: 14,000 lumens
If you want to keep a lot of succulents indoors, this is a high quality and affordable option. 8 square feet is enough room to accommodate a generous collection of plants. It works well hanging above a shelf, though all of the plants under it should have similar light needs. There is also a brighter panel available with twice as many LED pieces for $90. We like the brighter version for full sun varieties like Echeveria and cacti.
For classy setups: Soltech LED Aspect
This small, hanging can light is one of the most stylish we've seen on the market. It provides enough light for a couple medium-sized plants and looks great doing it. Soltech also offers a larger light for $200 that produces 4,000 lumens of light.
Other Useful Gadgets for Indoor Growing
An outlet timer makes growing succulents under grow lights incredibly easy. You can program it to turn on and off automatically at any times you like. It makes it easy to adjust the duration of "daylight" throughout the year and keeps your plants on a regular photoperiod, even when you're away.
Good airflow helps enormously in the prevention of pests and disease, but it can be difficult to achieve indoors. These small fans are powerful but quiet and can be clipped unobtrusively around your plants.
Spray Bottle of 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
Even with the perfect airflow and soak/dry watering schedule, pests can happen. If bugs do find their way into your pots, 70% isopropyl alcohol is an easy, all-purpose treatment that kills insects without harming your plant. It's also readily available at pharmacies. Using a spray bottle, coat the entire plant, being sure to get between the leaves. Repeat daily until the pests are gone.
We hope you enjoy bringing succulents into all corners of your work and home. For more tips and additional resources, check out: