How to Avoid Sunburned Succulents

Succulents love sunlight however excessive exposure to sunlight can be harmful.

The excessive lighting can cause burns to succulents that may leave permanent scars or cause serious harm to their health.

Learn how to avoid burning in your succulents or cacti, and how to recognize and treat burned succulents.

To better understand the causes of burns caused by succulents suggest an analogy to human skin.

Humans are different in their sensitivities to light because of melanin and genetic differences. certain people get beautiful tan when they are in sunlight, whereas others suffer from painful sunburns.

Like other plants are genetically based and are tolerant of different lighting conditions based on the type of plant.

Additionally, as we gradually expose ourselves to sunlight our skin will slowly change shade.

But, if you are exposed to prolonged periods of intense light it is likely that you will get sunburned and desperately in need of water.

In the end succulents that are subjected to more sunlight are susceptible to burns that cause permanent damage and weaken them.

However, succulents are exposed to light, they will support it, they will not get burned and show beautiful shades.

Therefore, it is crucial to know how to adapt our succulents to a higher sun exposure.

If they do get burned, take action quickly to ensure that they don’t be injured.

Succulents With Burn Marks

What can you tell whether a succulent is burned?

1. Spots which are lighter-colored than the majority of the plant or spots that appear white

Additionally the spots could be rough and can be rough to the feel. The spots that appear light are present even if the burn isn’t but serious.

2. Brown, yellow, and black spots

If you’ve suffered from severe burns, you’ve likely observed these spots. The dark shades are a sign of damaged cells. Succulents can also change color to pink or purple due to excessive exposure to sunlight.

The marks are nearly permanent. If they are visible on the leaves, they’ll remain until they’re renewed and are replaced with new ones.

3. Plant components which are “dry”

Burns that are severe along with the scars or stains they leave behind, may “dry out” parts of the succulents.

For instance, burned leaves start to dry off the edges, and then fall from the plants.

How to Keep Succulents From Burning

[1] Taking Care Of The Epicuticular Wax Layer

Certain succulents have some succulents have an epicuticular layer of wax, or farina that protects their stems and leaves. It functions as a natural sunscreen reflecting ultraviolet light, in addition to other things.

Care and maintenance of your epicuticular layer of wax is essential for keeping your succulents safe from sunburns.

Certain products like ruby alcohol, could cause irritation or damage this protective layer, and therefore is best to avoid.

Therefore I suggest that you beware of touching the plants or expose the plants to friction.

If you’re planning to apply an insecticide to your succulents, I suggest to try the insecticide on a leaf first to ensure that it doesn’t alter the flower.

purple and green succulents

[2] Acclimatization

The most effective way to avoid scorching your succulents from sun is gradually increasing the amount of light they are exposed to.

Make sure to check the lighting conditions at the nursery or in the store prior to buying new succulents.

When you bring your pets back, ensure they are in a bright area away of direct sunlight.

When they’re able to live at their preferred location You can increase their exposure to sun by 30 minutes each day.

If you are moving succulents from an area that has less light to one with more luminous area, you must boost the light by a half hour each day.

As an example, I shift the plants that are protected from winter in the spring, and slowly expose them to sunlight until they can endure the full day outdoors.

Keep watch on how your succulents adapt to the new surroundings throughout the time of acclimatization.

Variations in texture and color must be closely monitored.

  • If you notice the appearance of white spots wrinkles, wrinkles, and closed rosettes appearing on succulent’s leaves, it’s an indication that your plant is not adapting well to the changes and you need to relax.
  • The change in color particularly at leaf’s tips, suggests that succulents are at a point that their natural pigments are activated by stress.

[3] Avoid The “Magnifying Glass Effect”

Magnifying glasses function as a funnel that helps concentrate and intensify the sun’s rays when they are placed in the sun.

The phenomenon is known by the name of “magnifying glass effect,” and can be observed in crystals, and also in water droplets.

Magnifying glass effects could cause plants to become burned due to the fact that it increases the sun’s radiation. So, our advice is:

Avoid putting succulents in windows in areas with intense and bright light because the glass could cause an “magnifying glass effect.”.

Glass terrariums get sunlight during the day or in the afternoon, try to avoid the most bright times of direct sunlight as the glass used in the terrarium may magnify the effects of sunlight.

Don’t wet the leaves while you water them, particularly if the succulents are exposed to direct sunlight.

Even tiny drops of water can create an magnifying effect and leave visible marks on the surfaces of succulents.

[4] Avoid Spraying And Excessive Exposure To The Sun

Succulents are less sensitive after being treated with a range of insecticides that are both homemade and commercial. So, succulents that have been sprayed are more likely to ignite.

Spraying at night isn’t harmful to your plants as they’ll have had all night to recover and rest.

As a measure, I move some of the succulents that have been sprayed to the shade or spray whenever several clouds occur in the same row. It is possible to avoid burning the succulents in this manner.

[5] Sun And Heat Protection

Depending on the degree of heat and the intensity of the sun in the area, even appropriately acclimatizing your succulents to the sun may not be enough.

Don’t forget about the seasonal changes, particularly during summer and spring when the days are longer. Be aware of these safety tips and also:

  • Be sure that your succulents are well-hydrated by giving them ample water on a regularly. They are more susceptible to burn if they are dehydrated.
  • Plant succulents in shade when the weather is excessively hot and sunny.
  • The succulents can’t be moved with shades, screens, or shade awnings.

How to Treat Succulent Burns

The extent of the burn will determine how the succulent that has been burned responds to treatment and healing.

In the event of minor burns, it is recommended to seek medical attention.

There are no white spots or marks on the surface that indicate burns, therefore they are easily visible.

  • Place your succulent in a shaded area to prevent it from burning.
  • If the soil appears dry, offer it a little water. A regular quantity of intake is required in order for the plant to completely recuperate.
  • Place your succulent in a dim light for at least three days prior to moving it.
  • Re-acclimatize your succulent towards the sun, by increasing the amount of time it is exposed to every day.

Succulents exposed to these conditions can completely recover or leave an oblique mark that is not noticeable after a couple of months.

In the event of burns that are severe,

If the plant is dark spots or has been severely dried out.

  • Move your succulent to a place that will get less sunlight.
  • If the soil appears dry, you can give the succulent some water.
  • Place your succulent in “water therapy” if it’s extremely dry.
  • Cut or remove the affected leaves and stems after one week. Keep in mind that burns with severe severity will persist until the plant itself re-grows its leaves, or until it recovers first. If you’d like to directly cut and eliminate the most affected parts.
  • To get your succulent back into the sunlight, expose it on a regular basis.

In closing, I always stress that it is important to learn how to be aware of and comprehend the signals that our plants are sending us.

I hope that you find this article helpful in finding burns on succulents and, most importantly the prevention and treatment.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)