What are succulents?
Succulents are desert plants that have seen a huge spike in popularity over the last few years. They look great both in the garden and around the house and are very easy to maintain.
The perfect plant for people who lead busy lifestyles, succulents don’t require the time and attention that most plants do. All it takes is getting the basics right, such as watering and potting mix and your succulents will thrive. They are naturally designed to survive in the desert, so they are accustomed to being a hardy plant.
Succulents are an instagrammable plant. They come in an attractively wholesome array of shapes, sizes and colours, and their large, fleshy leaves are incredibly elegant and stylish. There are heaps of fun and creative ways to keep your succulents as well; they look great in pots, glasses or even books. Maths geeks can even revel in the awe-inspiring beauty of the golden spiral that some succulents grow in.
do I need a grow light For Succulents?
If you're growing succulents indoors, then yes, you will need a grow light. Sometimes natural light from the window will be enough especially if the succulents are positioned on the window sill, however often, as seasons change, you'll find the succulents are no longer receiving enough natural light through the window. This is when a grow light comes in handy. Or otherwise, if you did want them in a bedroom, bathroom or in windowless rooms a grow light will definitely be a necessity.
In the winter months, if your succulents are outdoors, it's a good idea to bring them inside and to use a grow light to help your succulents survive, especially in the colder climates like Melbourne or Tasmania. When they aren’t getting enough sunlight during winter, or are inside all of the time, your succulents will begin to elongate and lose their colour. This is a process called etiolation, where your plant will stretch itself in an attempt to find more sunlight. Utilising grow lights is a great way to prevent this from happening, and keeping your succulents colourful and beautiful all year round.
What type of grow light is right for me?
Choosing the right type of grow light is dependent on individual circumstance. You need to consider your budget, indoor growing space, and the type of light your succulents require. There are many different types of lights available, and the amount of options can sometimes be daunting. To make things easy, grow lights can be broken down into three main categories:
LED Grow Lights
Light Emitting Diode grow lights utilise the newest technology out of the three options. We consider these grow lights to be the future of indoor and hydroponic gardening for their high performance and outstanding results. Since their introduction to the market, LED grow lights have gained popularity due to their reduced electricity costs and low amount of heat emitted. At The Hippie House, we offer bundle deals on LED lights as well as free shipping. You can browse our lights here:
Fluorescent lights emit a negligible amount of heat, so that your succulents will not burn, while also being extremely efficient to run. They come in a wide array of shapes and sizes that are convenient for the indoor grower, making it easy to display your succulents at home. You can also run dual bulbs that emit both 2700K and 6400K so that your plants are exposed to a wider spectrum of light. The downside, or upside, depending on how you look at it, are the fluro's must be hung extremely close to the plants. Usually fluro lights are hung about 30cm above the canopy. If you have shelving or rows of succulents fluro's can be a great option. Check out our options here:
HID Grow Lights
High Intensity Discharge lights generally cost less than LED grow lights, making them an attractive option for novice growers. They are more so made for grow rooms though where harvest and yield is the main concern (great for flowering plants like tomatoes). We find they are a bit of an overkill for growing succulents at home, especially if you've got them in the kitchen or living room. If you do have an entire room filled with succulents though HID lights would be a good option to look at. For the home gardener who is only growing a few treasured succulents though we do recommend fluro or LED over the HID lights.
Another thing to consider with HID lights are they are extremely bright and produce a lot of heat making them not ideal for living spaces, ie - kitchen, bathroom, living room ect.
If you did want HID lights for your succulents though there are two main types of HID lights; Metal Halide (MH) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS). Choosing the right type is dependent on your situation. MH lights put out more blue light so they are better during a plants vegetative stage, whereas HPS lights are better during the flowering stages of a plants life due to the higher emission of red light.
How do I best utilise my grow lights?
Whichever lights you decide to go with, there are two main considerations that need to be made.
It is vital to find the right distance between your succulents and grow lights. If you place the lights too close, your plants could burn. Too far away and they will not get enough light. The distance will change depending on the light itself and the amount of heat that your light gives off. As a general rule of thumb you should keep the light at least 30 centimetres away from the canopy with fluro and HID lights while around 50cm with LED.
The second consideration is the amount of light your succulents receive. As we are trying to emulate sunlight, grow lights should be on for 10 to 14 hours a day to ensure your plants flourish. Most lights have inbuilt timers, but if yours doesn’t, you can pick them up from most hardware stores for about $20. This will just save you turning the light on and off every day and will ensure your plants gets a regular and consistent dose of lighting.
Whichever lights you decide to go with, there are a couple of other things worth mentioning where we find people going wrong.
Firstly, over-watering is a common problem with succulents in general, let alone when using grow lights. A good indicator for whether your succulents need water is to look at the soil. You need to allow your plants the chance to absorb water, so it is best to let the soil dry out before giving them any more. Special care needs to be taken depending on the amount of heat that your light gives off as well. HID’s lights due to the heat they emit will force the plants to absorb water faster than LED or fluorescent lights, so take note of how quickly your succulent is absorbing the water and adjust the watering schedule accordingly. As they grow you'll also find they need more water then they did when they were a smaller plant as well.
Secondly, succulents require a dark period so that they can absorb carbon dioxide, just like any other plant, so don’t leave your grow lights on 24/7. A general rule of thumb is to begin with 12 hours on and 12 hours off. You can adjust these hours depending on how your succulents respond to the grow lights.
Our Top Grow Lights For Succulents
Great for a smaller selection of succulents on a kitchen bench or window sill.
Whichever you choose, grow lights will ensure your succulents will remain in great shape no matter the season. Succulents can do wonders for your garden – indoor or outdoor, and they look amazing around the house. If you’re still confused about what light is right for you, reach out to our support team who will happily discuss the best options to keep your succulents thriving all year round!