Light requirements, especially for succulents and cacti.

Light requirements, especially for succulents and cacti.

Light requirements, especially for succulents and cacti.

I never profess to be an expert on plants but have gained some knowledge along the way.

It is a constant learning curve, and no one should feel they can’t ask questions.  We all started with no knowledge so always ask.

So many people purchase succulents and cacti from the garden centre, finding them inside at the store and presuming that is their ideal location.  Procede to take them home and put them inside their house.

The plants grow, lovely and really long and might ever flower.  But this is not how they should be.  Often, people presume if a plant is growing and flowering then it is happy.   Often people only worry about a plant when they find bugs, it gets either mildew or seems to collapse.  Then they ask, what is wrong with my plant?  Everyone tells them different things.

The first thing they should consider is how much light, especially full sun that plant receives.  If you do have it inside, it should be in the brightest spot you have.  

Succulents and cacti outside full time do so much better.  Full sun and air flow is so important to them.  They go through the seasons and change colour accordingly.

It may not be obvious to you.  Some people rotate their plants to stop them growing towards the light, so it may be harder to notice the elongation starting to happen.  

I remember now, seeing my sister in laws prized collection of cacti on her kitchen bench.  They must have been 1-2 meters tall and possibly as thin as 5cm.  I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but now, I realise what was wrong.  They were so weak, that she had to support them against a wall, else they would topple over.  These were a collection of naturally taller growing types like Trichocereus etc.  Look them up if you need to.  Tall growing yes, but a good sized 10-20 cm across usually.   

This lovely flowering one (photo 5), was posted up on social media.  The owner was happy that it was flowering again.  She thought it was a type of cactus that does hang, possible a monkey’s tail cactus. 

Some of the people commented that it was stretching for the light.  A couple of people suggested it is a type of rebutia which are short dumpy cacti. (photo 7)  We too have experienced these growing longer, so are aware how easy they can stretch.  (photo 6) )

There are some succulents, which happily tolerate and even appreciate less light, like haworthia and gasteria.  These are happy to be on a bottom shelf getting only indirect light.  Jungle cacti - Rhipsalis, epiphyllums, zygocactus and others like these also are happy with much less direct sun.   Often with these plants people hear the ‘cactus’ word, so have them outside somewhere, in full sun and watered very seldom.  They get lovely red stemmed and people think they are doing well.  Often, they are struggling, because of the harsh conditions they are being kept in.  Too much sun and not enough water.

I shall talk about watering requirements another time. 

Click here to view some of my Cacti 

Remember if you want to ask me anything, then please do.    

Or if you have suggestions on what you would like me to write about then please get in touch.

Posted: Thursday 4 August 2022


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