How to Care for Succulents with Artificial Lights
As we know, most succulents can’t survive under freezing temperatures. And bringing them inside is the best option to protect them whereas the limited light is gonna be a problem. Under sunlight does not only result in an etiolation problem but also leads your succulents to lose the colorful outlook. To solve this problem, various growth lights come out.
Do artificial lights exactly work on succulent growth?
The answer is yes. Artificial light does help succulents grow up and prevent the etiolation problem. Indoor plant growth lights can emit various wavelengths, promote photosynthesis, and growth. In general, the red light spectrum and blue light spectrum have the greatest impact on plant growth, the red one encourages flowering and the blue one encourages the growth of leaves. The corresponding wavelengths are 400nm to 450nm, 650nm to 700nm. However, sunlight as a natural thing is still the best option but we don’t do an extension here.
Why to use grow lights?
Actually, even if succulents can survive in low light, they have a chance to lose bright color and compact shape or start to stretch out. If your indoor succulents start to show these situations, it means you need artificial light to help them unless you don't care much about the outlook of your succulents.
Common artificial lights
Fluorescent lights are the most common and cost-effective growth light in the market. It is one of the good options for houseplants. There are various fluorescent lights in the market, and the full-spectrum bulbs or the mix of ‘cool’ and ‘warm’ bulbs is much better. Because the generic fluorescent bulbs and compact bulbs have a more concentration of blue wavelengths, if you wish to see the succulents flowering, red wavelengths is necessary as we mentioned previously.
Before choosing the right fluorescent light yourself, you have to know these two parameters.
- Lumens – the brightness of light that bulbs produce is measured by lumens. The brighter the light it produced, the more lumens it has.
- Watts – the amount of electricity that bulbs produce is measured by Watts. The more watts each bulb has, the more power it uses.
The recommendation for the lumens is 5000 to 6500K.
Another good choice is LED lights. They provide the exactly light wavelengths for succulents, red or blue. The disadvantage is that they can’t provide full spectrum. So according to your needs to choose the type of lights and we just talked about the impact on succulents of the red and blue wavelengths. However, LED lights are less expensive and yield less heat. These advantages would save power and avoid the burn risk.
How to use it?
How to set the distance from your plants to the lights is kind of a serious and commonplace question. Too close will cause your succulents to burn, while too far will cause the grow lights to not work. In fact, there is no exact answer to this question. It depends on the type of growth lights, the size of your succulents, and what temperature does the light causes. In normal, the distance range should be from 6 inches to 24 inches. For the fluorescent lights, the recommendation of the distance is 6-12 inches. If your succulents are bigger than 6 inches, 6 inches distance is better. And for the LED lights, 18-24 inches is great. Just remember the bigger succulent, the closer distance. Measuring is quite important, including temperature measuring. The best temperature for most succulents is 60°F to 75°F. From our past experience, 8 inches is the best for most succulents.
Succulents need a light-dark cycle for ‘relaxing’. They use the period of darkness for transferring the nutrients into their leaves. So 24 hours grow light is not a good choice to grow succulents. 13-18 hours per day is recommended. It might be quite longer than the time of exposure under the sunlight. That’s because a plant that is exposed to grow lights for 13 hours will get about the same amount of light energy that it will get when exposed to just the sun for 6 hours.
- Rotating the plants once a week, let each corner of the succulent can absorb the lights. Or place the grow light directly above the succulent.
- Monitor the temperature twice a week to prevent the lights burn succulents.
- Use grow lights for about 13-18 hours a day.
Succulent plants are indoor plants and can be grown with the help of artificial light. However, they need some growth conditions similar to the ones in the natural environment. You should take care of the plant type you are growing. In addition, soil type, watering technique and pot type are important factors in the growth of the indoor plant.
Watch the video below and see how to fix etiolation on succulents.