Sometimes succulents need a helping hand to get through winter.
Growing succulents indoors during the sun-shiny months of summer is a breeze, but what if you live in the Pacific Northwest in winter, where most days are cloudy? Or worse, the midwest, where your window panes are more likely covered in snow and frost than rays of sun? This is where grow lights come in!
When your little desert plants need more than a windowsill to continue growing and thriving, investing in a grow bulb is a cost-effective way to keep ’em happy no matter the weather outside.
To Use Grow Lights or Not To Use Grow Lights
There are two basic options for all you cold-weather houseplant parents that we see work, and you can choose between them by simply testing ’em out:
Option 1: Skip the Grow Light; Embrace Dormancy
Leave your bbs on that chilly windowsill and allow them to go dormant for the winter. Ideally the windowsill would be south or west-facing so they get the most light possible, and you really don’t need to water them hardly ever – maybe once a month tops. They’ll likely pale in color, and they won’t really grow (these are normal signs of dormancy), but they’ll come to life in springtime. This is a simple, cost-effective, hands-off way to go. No grow lights needed.
Option 2: Get the Grow Light; Keep ‘Em Thriving
Purchase a 30-45 watt Full Spectrum grow bulb (details below) to keep your succulents growing during the winter. This is a good option if you don’t think the windowsill trick in Option 1 is cutting it for your succulents, and it gives you some flexibility for where you wanna keep ’em – as long as they’re under the light for ~12-18 hours a day, they’ll be fine. With this method, you’ll water more frequently (once every two weeks) and your succulents will either not go dormant or come out of dormancy.
Choosing Your Grow Light
- Choose LED lights over CFL or incandescent bulbs. They are far more efficient, produce less heat, and don’t need to be mere inches away from your plant to work.
- Anywhere between 30 to 45 watts is great for succulents.
- Anything that says “Full Spectrum” will work. It should have a combination of blue and red lights, giving off a purple hue.
Distance to Plant:
- Situate your grow lights 12″ to 24″ from your succulents.
- The higher the wattage of your grow bulb, the further it can be from your plants.
- Your succulents need more time under a grow light than they need under regular sunlight.
- 12 to 18 hours a day is ideal – be careful not to exceed 18 hours. At least six hours of darkness is required for your succulents to remain healthy.
Where to Buy:
- We like this 30W Full Spectrum grow bulb from Amazon. It can be screwed into a standard light fixture, which is great if you’ve got a spare desk lamp you can nestle some succulents beneath.
- This 3-pronged Full Spectrum grow light from Amazon is awesome if you’ve got a broader surface area of plants. Plus, it clips on to windowsills, table edges, etc. for super flexible placement!
Whether you choose to use grow lights or not, keep an eye on your succulent for normal signs of dormancy (pale color, slow growth, closed rosettes), as well as signs of sunburn from the grow lights, stretching due to lack of light, and other signs of succulent distress.
As always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns about your succulents!