Sunlight is crucial to every plant. It’s the important element of photosynthesis and allows the plant to thrive. However, plants, like us humans, can have too much sunlight and eventually burn. Succulents are known as most drought-resistant plants on Earth. Still, they can get a sunburn if they are exposed to too harsh sun rays. Therefore, succulents need you to take care of their well being in the sun.
How a Sunburn On Succulents Occur?
Succulents and cacti are typical desert-like plants that usually enjoy a lot of sunlight. Most of the species need up to 6 hours of direct light daily in order to stay healthy. This especially goes for plants with vibrant, bright colors. If they get exposed to enough sun, they get “happily stressed” and show their most beautiful color variations. However, succulents are still prone to sunburn. Most of the succulents grow in temperatures from 60℉ (15.5℃) to 90℉ (32.2℃). If they get exposed to harsh, extremely hot sun rays, both indoor and outdoor-grown succulents may get burns on their leaves.
Besides being low-maintenance plants, succulents are easy to grow because they show signs of unhappiness really quickly. A succulent that starts getting sunburn shows leaf discoloration. At first stages of light sunburn, you’ll notice white patches on the leaves. As a result of exposure to too harsh sun rays for too long, succulents develop brown, blackish or dark red patches on their leaves. Severe sunburn shows up as a black color on the edges of the leaves continuously spreading to the center and the leaf will eventually dry out. Indoor succulents tend to get yellow or golden coloration if they are burning from too much direct sunlight.
How Sunburn Affect Succulents?
Generally, indoor succulents don’t burn that much as succulents planted outdoors. They are just not exposed to direct sun in a way outdoor succulents are. However, this doesn’t mean indoor succulents can`t get a sunburn. If indoor succulent is placed too close to the window, full blast sun trough the glass will burn sensitive leaf tissue. Glass only gets the ray warmer. Also, plants in a pot tend to burn much quicker, since the water evaporates from the soil much faster. moreover, being in a pot, your succulent can “cook” like in the oven, where heat is coming from all directions. Heated soil will damage both leaves and roots below the soil level. To prevent this, you should move your potted succulents away from the window and in the shade if days get extremely hot.
Outdoor succulents are much more exposed to direct sunlight. They are also not movable in the shade when the sun becomes harsh, so they tend to show signs of sunburns much quicker. On the other hand, the sun needs to be extremely aggressive to burn ground-bound succulents. Those shorter species are somewhat protected by the ground, which is much cooler than the soil in the pot and the air surrounding the plant. No matter how heat-tolerant your succulent is, the best choice is to plant it in the garden area with a balance of partial shade and direct sunlight during the day.
How To Protect And Help Your Succulent?
If you notice white patches forming on the succulent leaves, this means sunburning only just began and there’s still hope for your favorite plant. If the burning succulent is in the pot and near the window, move it to the shade. You can also install some window cover that will allow the partial light in. Also, while the plant is recovering from sunburns, you should water it generously to prevent the dryness of the soil. Still, be careful not to overwater and cause the root rotting. A great move is also to put the burned succulent in a shade of some other house plant.
Outside succulents that started to show signs of sunburn need to be watered a bit more until they recover. Water will give them the energy to heal the leaf tissue back to their usual color. Also, you should water outside succulent in periods of the day with lower temperatures, like in the morning or evening. This way you won’t stress succulents out further or cause a root rotting by adding too much water. The great protection for outside succulents is also a shade-net. It will prevent the direct sun from burning the leaves and help succulent regain its straight and color.
Acclimatize Your Succulents To Prevent Sunburn
Succulents are pretty hard to kill. They are strong and tolerant plants. However, among very few things succulent don’t like is a sudden change of environment. If you’re planning on move your succulent in some other place of your home or garden that has different growing conditions, you need to do it gradually. This especially goes if you want to move your succulent from the shade to direct sunlight. If you do it too quickly, your plant will be shocked and not adapted to direct sun rays. Without immunity to heat, it will eventually lead to sunburns.
First of all, you need to know if the species you want to sunbath even like direct sunlight. If that’s a case, you need to let them stay in a place with indirect sunlight for about a week. Then, you should start moving and exposing them to direct sunlight for 20 to 30 minutes every day. The whole process takes a few weeks, with you expanding the time in the direct sun gradually every week. Once you notice the blushing on succulent leaves, your plant is ready to take its permanent place in full sun.
No matter how well you did your job acclimatizing the succulents, the summer sun can still be extremely hot and damaging even for the most drought-tolerant species. This is where shade-nets kick in. Shade net is designed to filter the light and UV rays and prevent overheating of the plant, while still allowing a certain amount of light through. They are easy to mount and come in all sizes and colors. Shade nets are made of knitted plastic, so you don’t have to worry about decay, fungi problem or tearing up.
There’s Always a Solution For Sunburns
Overall, succulents need a bit of your help to stay healthy. If you take care of them during the summer, they will thank you for staying in good shape with vibrant colors and beautiful flowers. If your succulent starts to burn in the sun, its not the end of the world. You can still nurture it to life. However, after some point, there’s no turning back. With just a little extra time and patience, you can have your favorite plants strong and going through the hottest summer days.