12 Succulents to Grow in Full Sun

Succulents make the perfect low-maintenance outdoor plant. Which ones should you consider for a full sun environment?

Succulents are usually characterized by their fleshy, thick leaves or pads that store water. They originated in hot and dry environments, making them perfect as low-maintenance outdoor plants.

Let’s look at the best succulents to grow in full sun.

The Advantages of Growing Succulents

Succulents’ leaves can hold a lot of water. Their ability to conserve moisture allows them to survive and even thrive in environments with little available water.

Because of their resilience, they are among the easiest plants to grow. On top of that, they have both therapeutic and air-cleansing qualities.

Caring for succulents can be a relaxing activity that helps alleviate stress. These plants also allow you to get creative with color combinations and placement to enhance your home’s interior decor.

12 Succulents That Thrive in Full Sun

Succulents can be planted both indoors and outdoors. While most full-sun varieties are placed in a garden for visual appeal, they can also thrive in indoor locations that receive a lot of sunlight.

A full-sun plant can survive in direct sunshine without any shade.

1. Cotyledons ladismithiensis (Bear Paw) 

With its scarlet blooms and dense foliage that mimics bear paws, the cotyledons ladismithiensis is a work of art.

This succulents’ flowery allure is impressive. It grows beautifully when exposed to six hours of sunlight per day.

The plant is native to South Africa, where it thrives on rocky cliffs and in shallow soil. It is drought and frost tolerant, making it suitable for rockeries and water-conserving gardens.

Cotyledons called bear paws succulents

2. Graptopetalum (Ghost Plant)

Graptopetalum displays ghost-like qualities. The petals turn yellow and then brilliant pink when exposed to direct sunlight.

The heat-resistant succulent should be left alone to establish its petal color and form. Expect the plant to grow up to 3 inches in diameter as it matures.

The thick green leaves that grow in a circle around the core are the plant’s main feature. Its flowers are green.

3. Senecio mandraliscae (Blue Chalksticks)

The tapering leaves of this succulent grow in bunches and have a chalky, powdered blue hue. S. mandraliscae is an excellent choice for creating an eye-catching ground cover in your backyard.

It is native to South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, but it can also be found on cliffs along California’s coast. Despite growing close to the sea, these require relatively little water, particularly during the winter.

Blue Chalksticks are best propagated through leaf and stem cuttings. Make sure you allow the end to callous over before transplanting it into new soil.

beautiful senecio succulent under the sun

4. Agave

Agave leaves are rosette-like. They grow well in full sun, although they tolerate light shade and even partial shade.

The agave resembles aloe vera and is one of the most common succulents. The main distinction between the two is that the agave has more foliage and grows larger.

Agaves come in a variety of sizes and shapes, with some dwarf kinds growing up to 10 feet in height. When the agave blooms, it will produce yellow or white flowers.

5. Euphorbia Tirucalli (Indian Tree Spurge)

Euphorbia tirucalli, popularly known as Indian Tree Spurge, is a spineless shrub with a thick trunk, brown primary branches, and pencil-like, young green branches.

When exposed to direct sunshine, the branch tips develop vivid colors. The flowers grow in clusters at the tips of branchlets, with large petal-like ornamental bracts disguising the delicate small yellowish flowers inside.

euphorbia fire stick succulent plant in the frontyard

6. Aeonium

Aeonium is a delicate, one-of-a-kind succulent variety that is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and sought-after houseplants.

The plant has delicate, elegant spoon- or spear-shaped leaves in burgundy and green that can provide a touch of flair to any living space.

They are easy to grow, making them perfect for indoor and outdoor décor. It is non-toxic to both humans and animals.

7. Sedums (Stonecrops)

Stonecrops, commonly known as sedums, are a type of succulent that grows effortlessly. The plant will shoot out roots and establish itself where the stem or leaf touches the soil, which is generally enough to start new growth.

Sedums are evergreen perennials with a slow growth rate that make excellent ground cover. As they mature, they proliferate and spread upwards.

Sedums are simple plants that require little attention. Shorter versions may form as a result of sections that come into contact with the ground.

yellow succulent sedums during sunset

8. Crassula Ovata (Jade Plant)

The crassula, or Jade plant, belongs to the large categories of succulents. They are perennials and are native to Mozambique and South Africa.

When exposed to direct or full sun, the color changes from dark jade green to red on the tips. Some varieties have leaves with a golden yellow-green tint.

They have huge, thick, smooth, and glossy leaves that grow in opposing pairs. The branches thicken with age.

9. Opuntia (Prickly Pear Cactus)

The prickly pear cactus is a one-of-a-kind succulent that comes in various interesting forms and exquisite flowers.

The majority of its varieties have removable spines and clusters of sharp bristles, or glochids, that can cause severe allergic skin reactions. However, there are also spineless variants, such as O. ellisiana, that are easier to handle.

The cactus pads will look shriveled and withered as the plants prepare for winter, but they will quickly turn green again in the spring.

beautiful opuntia flowers in yellow and pink

10. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a succulent that belongs to the Aloe genus. It has very little to no stem and thick, meaty leaves with spiky edges and white dots on the surface.

The juice from the leaves can be applied topically to relieve pain from wounds and burns.

When grown indoors, an aloe vera does not receive enough sunlight to produce flowers, no matter how sunny the location. When planted outside, however, the yellow flowers that bloom from a spike that emerges from the core will delight you.

11. Sempervivum (Hen-and-Chicks)

Sempervivum, commonly known as the hen-and-chicks plant, is a resilient succulent that thrives in rocky mountainous terrain. They require little to no maintenance and will enhance any landscape with their appealing rosettes.

Its most prized characteristics are its lovely bracts, flowers, and spirally-patterned leaves. Each rosette is a young, monocarpic plant. The pointed tips of the leaves display a distinct color, usually scarlet.

The rosettes will elongate and pull upwards if the plant does not receive enough light.

colorful variety of succulent plants

12. Pachyphytum

These slow-growing succulents have bean-shaped leaves that produce a cluster of very thick and meaty green and orange foliage. It blooms with white flowers in the spring.

Pachyphytum is a hardy plant that may grow in a variety of environments. It needs more water during its growing season, which is the winter months, but remember to let the soil dry up before watering because it uses the water it stored.

This low-maintenance succulent can tolerate full sun and even freezing temperatures, but extended frost exposure should be avoided.

Tips for Care

Growing succulents is not hard, but with a few important notes, the whole process can be simple. Water, soil, and sunlight are the three most important variables to consider.

In normal temperatures, they won’t require much water. However, if they are placed in direct sunshine, they dry out faster and require more frequent watering since they absorb heat.

Some succulents flourish in poor soil, but the majority require well-drained soil and fertilizer throughout the growing season.

The presence of sunlight is another key aspect. To help them thrive, rotate all potted plants so that all of the parts receive equal warmth and no one side becomes overheated.

Carley Miller
Carley Miller is a horticultural expert at Bustling Nest. She previously owned a landscaping business for 25 years and worked at a local garden center for 10 years.
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