Cactus and Succulents forum: Low light succulents?

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CrazedHoosier
Aug 9, 2019 6:39 PM CST
Are there any succulents that can survive in low-medium light? I have started a vivarium for my leopard gecko, and they're desert animals, so I need plants tolerant of dry conditions. So far I have a snake plant and aloe vera hybrid. I've heard jade, kalanchoe, hoyas, haworthia, scarlet ball cactus, and Christmas cactus, are good in low-medium light conditions. Is this true? Does anyone have any succulent recommendations? Thanks in advance! Thank You!
Maybe we should get a second opinion...
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Aug 9, 2019 7:02 PM CST
Haworthias might work for you. Some might require a little more light than others. I've always thought the darker ones needed less light. Anybody know otherwise?
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Hamwild
Aug 9, 2019 7:05 PM CST
The scarlet ball cactus would take high light IMO. I don't see a jade, kalanchoe, or aloe taking low medium light either. Maybe a Haworthia or Gasteria, maybe. Mine get a bit of sun outdoors. @baja_costero, any thoughts on low-medium succulents?
Southern Indiana (Zone 6a)
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CrazedHoosier
Aug 9, 2019 7:08 PM CST
Hamwild said:The scarlet ball cactus would take high light IMO. I don't see a jade, kalanchoe, or aloe taking low medium light either. Maybe a Haworthia or Gasteria, maybe. Mine get a bit of sun outdoors. @baja_costero, any thoughts on low-medium succulents?


You're following me everywhere on this terrarium journey! Hilarious! Thank you for the help... again! Thank You! I tip my hat to you.
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Aug 9, 2019 7:26 PM CST

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That is an interesting problem. You might benefit from putting a light meter in there and seeing what it says. I'm not sure where one draws the line for low or medium light... for me the latter would include indoor succulents which get to see the sun for hours a day, so maybe artificial light would be a step beyond that, depending on the intensity. That's a range where desert cacti and many succulent Euphorbias just fail. Cross those two groups off your list.

Maybe epiphytic cacti would be viable (like the holiday cacti and a few others). Jades tend to stretch in low light (perhaps outgrowing the space) and they become unable to support their own weight, over the course of a couple of years. They can be maintained with regular pruning, but it isn't what I could consider a pretty sight.

Haworthias might work for you. I can only guess because my plants have never experienced low light. Rolling my eyes. The other genus that's usually mentioned in the same breath is Sansevieria, where you have a number of options for shape and size beyond the usual mother in law's tongue types. The trailing succulents like the donkey tail (Sedum burrito or morganianum) and the rosary plant (Curio rowleyanus, formerly a Senecio) do well in lower light outside, so they might tolerate a bright location indoors. Just guessing there.

One thing that's going to be hard for many succulents in a vivarium is the lack of airflow. Depending on the attendant (airborne) humidity, fungal problems can get the upper hand when there's poor ventilation. That's one reason why succulent terraria and similar enclosed environments often fail.

Do geckos like heat lamps, or heat-generating (incandescent) lamps? I would think that could be quite stressful for many succulents, and not a good way to generate their light.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Aug 9, 2019 7:32 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 9, 2019 9:50 PM CST
Have you seen those incredibly life like succulents made from plastic? Smiling
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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
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needrain
Aug 9, 2019 10:06 PM CST
I have seen them. Look a lot better than the spray-painted, glue glittered and decorated with fake blooms IMO. But I CAN tell they are artificial, so I still prefer the look of a real plant. They definitely would have low light requirements. They might fade if given too much sunlight.
Donald
Southern Indiana (Zone 6a)
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CrazedHoosier
Aug 9, 2019 10:17 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:That is an interesting problem. You might benefit from putting a light meter in there and seeing what it says. I'm not sure where one draws the line for low or medium light... for me the latter would include indoor succulents which get to see the sun for hours a day, so maybe artificial light would be a step beyond that, depending on the intensity. That's a range where desert cacti and many succulent Euphorbias just fail. Cross those two groups off your list.

Maybe epiphytic cacti would be viable (like the holiday cacti and a few others). Jades tend to stretch in low light (perhaps outgrowing the space) and they become unable to support their own weight, over the course of a couple of years. They can be maintained with regular pruning, but it isn't what I could consider a pretty sight.

Haworthias might work for you. I can only guess because my plants have never experienced low light. Rolling my eyes. The other genus that's usually mentioned in the same breath is Sansevieria, where you have a number of options for shape and size beyond the usual mother in law's tongue types. The trailing succulents like the donkey tail (Sedum burrito or morganianum) and the rosary plant (Curio rowleyanus, formerly a Senecio) do well in lower light outside, so they might tolerate a bright location indoors. Just guessing there.

One thing that's going to be hard for many succulents in a vivarium is the lack of airflow. Depending on the attendant (airborne) humidity, fungal problems can get the upper hand when there's poor ventilation. That's one reason why succulent terraria and similar enclosed environments often fail.

Do geckos like heat lamps, or heat-generating (incandescent) lamps? I would think that could be quite stressful for many succulents, and not a good way to generate their light.


The light in the enclosure is around 400 foot-candles, but it varies depending on the area. Right up against the light is over 10,000 foot-candles. I'm surprised about the jade, as everyone seems to recommend it for low light! I've been treating mine all wrong. Leopard geckos are nocturnal, and do not require any source of UVB or heat lamp. I heat his enclosure via a heat mat at 85-95 degrees. The light I'm using is LED, so very little heat is produced. The enclosure also has a ventilation system, so I'm hoping it'll help keep everything nice and breathable. Thanks for the recommendations!
Maybe we should get a second opinion...
Southern Indiana (Zone 6a)
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CrazedHoosier
Aug 9, 2019 10:20 PM CST
DaisyI said:Have you seen those incredibly life like succulents made from plastic? Smiling


Haha, I have some! I could potentially mix them in there, especially if I want a cactus, since they don't seem to like low light. They make TONS of fake succulents for reptiles.
Maybe we should get a second opinion...
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
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needrain
Aug 9, 2019 10:42 PM CST
Might be a good idea for a lot of the lizards. Some would eat a live plant. Have a friend with a really nice pond and can't grow anything at all in it. He has a large turtle of some kind and it devours all the vegetation.
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Name: Klara
Croatia, Europe (Zone 8a)
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Klara333
Aug 10, 2019 4:46 AM CST
I have a jade in a low-medium filtered light facing east (around 250foot candles) and it's been sitting there for 3 years now and it seems to be okay with that amount of light. But my burrito tail got a bit etiolated receiving 2 hours of direct sunlight a day and a low light during the rest of the day, so I wouldn't consider it a low-medium light plant. This is only my experience with these two plants.


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Name: Klara
Croatia, Europe (Zone 8a)
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Klara333
Aug 10, 2019 5:12 AM CST
I forgot..my aloe arborescens is also receiving low light for 3 years straight but it is growing to the side reaching towards light, so it's not in perfect condition(I turned it for 180°). But considering that it's facing north-east and not south like it should be, it's doing pretty good, and it's even shooting pups like crazy every single year.

p.s. brown leaf tips there 'cause I forgot to water it once for a month.

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The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.
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Southern Indiana (Zone 6a)
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CrazedHoosier
Aug 10, 2019 8:27 AM CST
Klara333 said:I have a jade in a low-medium filtered light facing east (around 250foot candles) and it's been sitting there for 3 years now and it seems to be okay with that amount of light. But my burrito tail got a bit etiolated receiving 2 hours of direct sunlight a day and a low light during the rest of the day, so I wouldn't consider it a low-medium light plant. This is only my experience with these two plants.


Thumb of 2019-08-10/Klara333/9fcc85


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What kind of jade is it? I had a hobbit jade in an area that only received 10-20 foot-candles, for the entire winter. It probably only worked because the jade was sleepy, but at least it worked! I guess I'll still keep my eyes open for jade...
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Name: Klara
Croatia, Europe (Zone 8a)
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Klara333
Aug 10, 2019 8:33 AM CST
To be honest, I'm not sure which kind it is? Maybe ask someone else on the forum for correct ID.
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Southern Indiana (Zone 6a)
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CrazedHoosier
Aug 10, 2019 8:41 AM CST
Klara333 said:To be honest, I'm not sure which kind it is? Maybe ask someone else on the forum for correct ID.


Whatever type of jade it is, it actually looks really beautiful and healthy to me. I am a succulent novice, though. I used to not like jade, but now I think it's a really pretty texture to use! It also looks VERY desert-esque.
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Name: Klara
Croatia, Europe (Zone 8a)
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Klara333
Aug 10, 2019 8:53 AM CST
It is healthy, I never had a single problem with it, and also it is forgiving for a bit of over-watering ocasionaly, (not on regular basis thought), unlike other succulents, as well as poor light. At least in my case.
The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.
[Last edited by Klara333 - Aug 10, 2019 8:55 AM (+)]
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Southern Indiana (Zone 6a)
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CrazedHoosier
Aug 10, 2019 9:05 AM CST
Klara333 said:It is healthy, I never had a single problem with it, and also it is forgiving for a bit of over-watering ocasionaly, (not on regular basis thought), unlike other succulents, as well as poor light. At least in my case.


Does it get the 250 foot-candles all day, or does it only get it for a few hours? None of my house plants get a certain amount of light for the entire day, but my plants in the vivarium, probably would.
Maybe we should get a second opinion...
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 10, 2019 9:20 AM CST
Not to be the curmudgeon, your Jade is surviving but... the stems are etiolated - healthy happy Jades have red-edged leaves and bloom.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Klara
Croatia, Europe (Zone 8a)
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Klara333
Aug 10, 2019 9:22 AM CST
The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.
[Last edited by Klara333 - Aug 10, 2019 9:40 AM (+)]
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Name: Klara
Croatia, Europe (Zone 8a)
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Klara333
Aug 10, 2019 9:32 AM CST
DaisyI said:Not to be the curmudgeon, your Jade is surviving but... the stems are etiolated - healthy happy Jades have red-edged leaves and bloom.

I know it's surely isn't thriving with that amount of light. The question was about succulents that would survive in low light and mine is. The point was that I didn't have any problems with it like yellow or falling of leaves or similar issues and it's looking decent (except etiolation, which I didn't know it's actually etiolated).I thought that only some sorts of jades have red-edged leaves but I guess I was wrong there.

All I wanted to say is that that the plant is surviving and looking somewhat okay considering it's placed in such low light condition. I am sorry if this sounds in any way mean. English is not my native language so I can't explain what I'm trying to say as clear as I would want to. As I'm not that experienced with plants, feel free to correct me any time.
The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.
[Last edited by Klara333 - Aug 10, 2019 10:00 AM (+)]
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