Tips To Prevent And Treat a Sunburned Succulent

Are your beloved succulents showing signs of sunburn? It’s a little-known fact that even desert-dwelling plants like succulents can suffer from too much sunlight. This article is here to guide you through the risks and remedies associated with succulent sunburn, helping you protect these unique plants from harm.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper placement and shade are important for preventing succulent sunburn.
  • Shade cloths can be used to protect succulents from excessive sunlight.
  • Pruning sunburned leaves is necessary for treating sunburned succulents.
  • Providing moisture in the soil helps with the recovery of sunburned succulents.
  • Overwatering can to sunburn, as it weakens the plant’s resilience and makes it more susceptible to damage from the sun.

Understanding Succulent Sunburn

Succulent sunburn occurs when succulents are exposed to too much direct sunlight, causing damage to their leaves and overall health.


Discolored patches on succulent leaves are a common symptom of sunburn. These patches can vary in color, with shades of brown, black, or red being typical. In severe cases, sunburned succulents may experience curled leaves or leaf loss.

Additionally, affected plants may exhibit stunted growth and produce fewer leaves than healthy onesSun stress from excessive sunlight exposure can also result in vibrant colors and unique growth patterns in cacti and other succulents.

To identify if your plant is suffering from sunburn, look out for these symptoms and take necessary steps to protect your succulents from further damage.


Direct sunlight for extended periods of time is one of the main causes of succulent sunburn. When exposed to intense sunlight, the leaves of succulent plants can become damaged and eventually turn brown or yellow.

Overwatering harms succulents but maintaining balance is key to prevent heat stress caused by too much sun exposure. In doing so, you reduce dehydration and create an environment where your succulent plants thrive even under direct sunlight or high temperatures.

Moving them directly from a shaded area to full sun can shock their leaves and lead to discoloration. To prevent sunburn, it’s important to provide shade or use shade cloth when necessary and gradually expose your succulents to increasing amounts of sunlight over time.

More on sunburn prevention below.

How to Prevent Succulent Sunburn

Proper placement and providing shade are key in preventing succulent sunburn.

Succulents beautiful

Proper placement

Proper placement of your succulents plays a pivotal role in their overall health and growth. Initially, putting these special plants in areas with indirect sunlight protects them from potential sunburn damage.

Over time, you can gradually expose them to more direct sunlight by carefully shifting them into brighter spots over the course of one to two weeks. This slow transition allows the succulents to acclimate to increased light levels without being shocked by sudden changes.

Moreover, opting for locations that offer bright but filtered light comes highly recommended for maintaining vibrant and healthy succulents whilst preventing sunburn.

Providing shade

Creating a barrier between your succulent and the harsh rays of the sun is an effective method for preventing sunburn. With a shade cloth, you can easily provide adequate protection for your plant.

Depending on the specific needs of your succulents, they may require a cloth capable of blocking anywhere from 5% to 95% sunlight. Shade cloths are versatile tools that cater to diverse levels of susceptibility to sun damage observed in different succulent species.

Haworthia and Echeveria, two types of succulents known for their ability to tolerate high temperatures, often get too much direct sunshine causing them discoloration or worse – damaging new growth and leaves.

Strategic use of a shade cloth can help remedy this issue by controlling exposure to UV light. The goal is not necessarily to keep your succulents in full shade all day but rather limit excessive sunlight during the hottest hours while still allowing them plenty of indirect bright sunlight that these desert plants love.

Watering techniques

Smart watering techniques can save your succulents from sunburn. Succulents need a well-draining soil which allows you to keep the roots moist without standing water. Avoid spraying water directly onto the leaves, as this can magnify sunlight and cause burn spots.

Overwatering can contribute to sunburn as it weakens the plant’s resilience and makes it more susceptible to damage from the sun. Additionally, succulents that are not properly acclimated to bright sunlight may be more prone to getting sunburned.

Treatment for Sunburned Succulents

To treat sunburned succulents, first move them to a shaded area to protect them from further exposure. Then, prune any sunburned leaves carefully using clean scissors or pruning shears.

Finally, provide moisture in the soil by watering the plant thoroughly but avoid overwatering.

Moving to a shady area

To protect sunburned succulents and promote healing, it is crucial to move them to a shady area. Direct sunlight can further damage the already burnt leaves and hinder the recovery process.

By relocating the sunburned succulent to a spot with indirect sunlight or shade, you provide relief from intense heat and allow the plant to heal at its own pace. This change in environment will help prevent any additional stress on the plant and give it a better chance of recovering from sunburn.

Pruning sunburned leaves

Pruning sunburned leaves is an important step in treating sunburned succulents. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Inspect your succulent for sunburned leaves.
  • Use clean and sharp pruning shears to remove the damaged leaves.
  • Cut the leaves close to the base of the plant. taking care not to damage the healthy parts.
  • If the leaves are only partially sunburned (around 70% to 80%), it is recommended to prune them off completely.
  • Pruning helps the plant redirect its energy towards new growth and prevents further damage.
Pruning sunburned succulent leaves

Providing moisture in the soil

To aid in the recovery of sunburned succulents, it’s essential to provide moisture in the soil. Succulents are more likely to recover from intense heat if their roots remain cool and hydrated.

One way to accomplish this is by misting the soil lightly with water when the plants are outdoors. This helps to keep the roots sufficiently moist and prevent them from drying out.

Additionally, watering your succulent plant regularly is crucial for its overall health and recuperation. Make sure that you water enough to keep the soil moist but still well-draining.

By providing adequate moisture in the soil, you give your sunburned succulents a better chance at regaining their strength and vitality.

Remember that watering techniques play a vital role in ensuring successful recovery for your sunburned succulents as they love bright sunlight but can also get easily damaged by too much direct exposure.

Succulents on Balcony


To prevent sunburned succulents, make sure to place them in a suitable location that provides adequate shade. Additionally, water these plants carefully and avoid overexposing them to direct sunlight.

If your succulents do get sunburned, move them to a shaded area and prune any damaged leaves. Providing moisture in the soil will also help them recover. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to protecting your succulents from sunburn!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sunburned succulent?

A sunburned succulent is a succulent plant that has been exposed to excessive sunlight, resulting in damage to the leaves or other parts of the plant.

How can I prevent sunburn on my succulents?

To prevent sunburn on your succulents, you can: – Place your succulents in a shaded area, especially during the hottest part of the day. – Use shade cloth or other light-filtering materials to provide some protection from direct sunlight. – Gradually acclimate your succulents to higher amounts of sunlight, allowing them to build up tolerance over time.

What are the signs of sunburn on succulents?

The signs of sunburn on succulents can vary, but common symptoms include: – Discolored or brown leaves – Wrinkled or shriveled leaves – Sunburned spots or patches on the leaves – Damaged or burned-looking tips of the leaves

How can I treat a sunburned succulent?

To treat a sunburned succulent, you can: – Move the succulent to a shaded area to prevent further damage. – Trim off any damaged leaves or parts of the plant using clean and sharp gardening tools. – Give the succulent some time to recover by reducing direct sunlight and providing proper care.

Can succulents recover from sunburn?

Yes, succulents can recover from sunburn if provided with the right care and conditions. With proper treatment and sufficient time, new growth can emerge, replacing the sunburned leaves.

How long does it take for a sunburned succulent to recover?

The recovery time for a sunburned succulent can vary depending on the extent of the damage and the care provided. It may take several weeks to a few months for the succulent to fully recover and show signs of new growth.

Are all succulent species equally susceptible to sunburn?

No, not all succulent species are equally susceptible to sunburn. Some succulent species, such as those with a lot of farina (a powdery coating) or those adapted to high temperatures, are more tolerant of direct sunlight. However, most succulents need some protection from intense sunlight to prevent sunburn.