Can Cactus Survive Without Sunlight

If you are unfamiliar with cacti plants, you might be unsure of their ability to live in the absence of sunlight. These are desert plants, after all, and you would be inclined to believe that shielding them from the sun is beneficial for them. Is that indeed the case? Most likely not.

Can a cactus survive in the absence of sunlight? The quick response is “no” Like other plants, cacti require sunlight to survive. Although these arid plants can endure brief periods of darkness, they require a lot of sunlight to grow and bloom. A mini-cacti plant typically needs four hours or more of direct sunlight each day to thrive.

Some cacti species are marketed as low light plants because they lack spines. The Christmas cactus is a nice illustration of this kind of cactus. The issue is that if you don’t give your cacti plants enough sunlight, they’ll become malnourished and maybe die.

Can cacti live in the absence of sunlight?

The amount required will vary according on the species, thus your particular cactus may require more or less than this.

Avoid leaving your cactus in direct sunlight for extended periods of time since succulent plants thrive when they can absorb light gradually.

If you must leave it outside during the day, move it every hour or two from a shaded area into indirect sunlight and then back before dusk.

For your plant to grow inside, it needs at least four hours per day of direct sunlight.

During these times, natural light intensity is at its highest, allowing your indoor cactus plant to receive more exposure without jeopardizing its health.

How long can cacti survive in the dark?

Succulents are tough plants that can endure many conditions that other plants cannot, but they do have a weakness: they require sunshine to survive. Succulent species and types may grow and survive without direct sunlight, but sadly, they are few and far between. In order to grow successfully, they will also require strong, indirect light.

For the majority of succulents, keeping their shape and color requires being in an area with at least a few hours of sunlight. What if, though, you only wanted to do something simple, like deliver succulents in a box or keep a lovely arrangement indoors while you have visitors? Will and how long can succulents survive without sunlight?

Succulents may endure for brief durations without any light at all. The exact duration will depend on the species, but generally speaking, most succulents will survive without significantly deteriorating for 10–14 days if they are in an area with little to no light. Some succulents that can tolerate shade might last longer.

The majority of the plants we sell at our tiny nursery are sold online, and we ship them all around Australia. I tested a lot of plants before I started the business by placing them in a box and keeping it completely dark for up to two weeks.

What type of cactus doesn’t require sunlight?

A group of 19 cacti in the genus Epiphyllum can thrive in less sunny environments. These cacti are also known as climbing cacti and orchid cacti. The epiphyllum cactus is relatively hardy and doesn’t require much maintenance.

Tropical epiphytic cacti called epiphyllum have thin branches and are typically serrated. The most well-known Epiphyllum species include Epiphyllum oxypetalum, strictum, pumila, and others.

Beautiful, fragrant, big flowers, some up to a foot long, are also produced by epiphyllum. Although their coloring can vary, it is often yellow, orange, and pink. From late spring through mid-summer, different flowers blossom.

Due to their tropical and epiphytic nature, epiphyllum receive less sunlight in their native environment because they are typically hidden by branches and other objects.

If your home doesn’t receive much sunlight during the day, you should be able to place your Epiphyllum cactus on the brightest windowsill you have. For these cacti, even a little period of morning sun is frequently sufficient. Bright yet filtered light is ideal for the remainder of the day.

You may need to be cautious when watering because there will likely be less sun and a lower temperature. Winter’s lowest temperature is 60 F. (16 Celsius). To prevent rot, wait until the soil is completely dry before watering. With a stick or a soil meter like this, you can measure the moisture in the soil.

#2: Eriocereus, or Harrisia cacti

A group of about 20 cacti in the genus Harrisia quickly and attractively bloom. These cacti have flowers that are about 6-7 inches (15-18 cm) long and bloom nocturnally (at night). These cactus feature the typical cacti appearance, including spines on the stem.

Harrisiajusbertii is one of the most well-known members of this genus of cactus. Among other well-known species are pomanensis, bonplandii, and others.

Although Harrisia cacti can withstand light shade and lack of sunlight, they can also withstand partial shade and even some full sun. Place on a windowsill that gets at least some morning to afternoon sun if staying indoors. Protect the cactus from the cold in the winter and make sure the summertime temperature is at least 55 F. (13 Celsius).

#3: Hatiora cacti

A tiny genus of epiphytic cactus called Hatiora has largely spineless leaves. These cacti have numerous branching stems that drop down and are attractive both inside and outside.

If you keep your Hatiora indoors and don’t get much sunlight, put it on a windowsill or another location where it will get as much light as possible. Brilliant morning light and indirect yet bright light throughout the remainder of the day provide the greatest illumination. During the winter, let them hibernate.

To prevent burns, these cacti need cover outside rather than direct sunlight. Be cautious while watering these cacti, and only do so when the soil has largely dried up. The ideal summertime temperature for these cacti is between 70 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (21-22 C).

You can discover epiphylloides, cylindrica, herminiae, and other hybrids in the Hatiora genus of cacti.

#4: Lepismium cacti

A genus of tropical cactus called Lepismium can survive without direct sunlight and doesn’t need it. In their natural environments, these cacti live on trees or rocks. They bloom in addition to having numerous branching branches (often referred to as trailing plants).

These cactus will look fantastic in offices and interior settings. They just require a few hours of direct light in the morning, so maintain them in a sunny area with warm temperatures.

These cactus will benefit considerably from morning sun in the direct and afternoon shade in the complete. They hate being soggy, so use caution when watering them. Bolivianum, cruciforme, and other Lepismium cactus species are common.

#5: Gymnocalicium cacti

Gymnocalicium, often known as chin cacti, are spine-equipped little and adorable cacti. Gymnocalicium require more direct sunlight than the other cacti listed in this article, yet in their natural habitat, they typically flourish in partial shade.

If you typically have plenty of bright light, at least for a few hours in the morning and shaded light for the remainder of the day, you can grow them at home.

Unless you can maintain them on a bright windowsill, these cacti are not the ideal choice for office desktops. To get plenty of bright light indoors, set them on a bright windowsill. Make sure they are shielded from the sun’s rays throughout the midday hours.

Most Gymnocalicium cacti require protection from direct sunlight. You might need to avoid picking some species because they require full sun. Some species, like schickendantzii and mostii, need full sun.

#6: Schlumbergera cacti

Schlumbergera, popularly known as holiday cacti, is a little genus with few cacti in it. Other common names for these well-known and stunning cacti include Christmas cactus and Mistletoe cactus.

Schlumbergera don’t have the typical cactus appearance; instead, they feature numerous split stem and leaf segments that are fused together. They also have lovely flowers that grow from the areoles and stem tips, most of which are pink but can also be white or yellow. Due to the latter season of their flowering, these cacti received their name.

Schlumbergera are highly common in Northern Hemisphere nations with less sunlight because they thrive in low light and higher humidity conditions (about 60%). Keep this cactus away from drafts, cold, and full sun in the summer and winter.

#7: Rhipsalis cacti

There are about 43 tropical cacti in the genus Rhipsalis, and several of them have hanging stems. In the wild, they can grow on both rocks and trees. You may cultivate these lovely cacti in areas that are both bright and shaded.

These cacti prefer mild summers; temperatures above 77 F (25 C) may be harmful. Put your Rhipsalis cactus in a sunny area with a few hours of morning to afternoon direct sunlight if possible. Shade the cactus thereafter to avoid burns and scarring. Allow them to dorm in the winter and maintain a temperature of about 59 F. (15 C).

Thank you for reading our article about the best low-light cacti! Check out this site for a list of cacti that lack spines.

Can cacti live in a dim environment?

Cacti plants are a particularly hardy category of plants, and they are diversified in addition to being hardy. You might be surprised at what other conditions some cacti can grow in considering how well-known they are for their ability to survive with minimal water and in harsh desert surroundings.

Which cactus grows best in low light conditions indoors? The answer is that there are several different types of cacti, including the scarlet ball cactus, crown cactus, zebra cactus, and Christmas cactus, that can thrive and flourish in low, filtered, or indirect light.

While the cacti that flourish in blindingly brilliant, intensely hot desert situations are the ones that everyone is most familiar with, there are other species that do extremely well in other locations. If you want to brighten up your apartment, office, or any other dimly lit room, you could be pleasantly surprised by the variety of cacti options available to you.

The four best cacti to grow indoors and in areas with little to no light will be covered in this article.


Despite the reams of nonsense written about it online, lighting plants is actually extremely easy. work out

Find a lamp that effectively offers the amount of light that you need for the area and number of plants that you have.

However, cultivating cacti under artificial lighting is difficult and might not be very profitable. Maybe you can say it now.

is simple, but you must invest several hundred pounds in a kit and anticipate police inquiries when you do it.

The majority of cacti require light that is nearly as strong as full sunlight. Many of them would desire even more ideally

light that is more powerful than the sunlight in Britain. Only HID lighting can produce this level of light intensity.

Per square foot of plants, 100W of lighting is typically required. In actuality, a half can produce respectable outcomes.

or one-fourth of that, as the light may be kept at that level throughout the day, every day. Make certain you

Summertime direct sunshine is 5 to 10 times more powerful than most indoor lighting sources.

lighting for plants Even the summer sun is brighter than the majority of artificial lighting systems. So if you have access to natural light, use it.

The biggest issue is that plants in windows can lean or stretch since the back side of the plants never receives enough light.

In addition to being expensive, the heat produced by the necessary amount of lighting for cacti can be a major issue.

should run a reasonably powerful fan system in order to prevent overheating in both the house as a whole and the plants.

You could do better to look for varieties of cacti or other succulents that can thrive outside or in your western window.

without a lot of sun. The epiphytic cactus in general, the “jungle” cacti, and a few Caribbean or South American species

control your lighting levels. Many of the organisms you see, including small globulars, Gymnocalyciums, Fraileas, certain Mammillarias,

can be found in bubble packs at B&Q, are resilient to unfavorable circumstances. Or perhaps you could grow to appreciate Haworthias.

Light Requirements

A full-time desert cactus requires more than 2,000 lumens per square foot of light to grow. As a

As a general rule, start with 20W per square foot; 30W is preferable. little tubes, like the two-foot

Compact fluorescents and 20W bulbs are less effective; you would need at least 30W per square foot, but I don’t advise it.

them. Although it is lower in the early morning and late afternoon, direct noon light has 10,000 lumens per square foot or more.

when it’s cloudy, later in the day and lower. By keeping the lights on for 14 or 16 hours at full power, you can make up some of the loss.

hours a day, but the plants won’t grow as compactly, won’t have the same spination, and may be challenging to manage.

blossom, but would undoubtedly be content at a period like the winter. Cacti in full sun could be grown continuously if you want to.

The spiral compact fluorescents can be utilized in very small spaces, however you’ll require roughly 50% more electricity because they

are not particularly productive. Straight fluorescent tubes work well in medium- to large-sized spaces, but avoid using very short ones unless you have to.

have no other option. Unless you have a large room full, metal halides are usually not necessary for cactus seedlings, however

they work well for sizable regions with mature cactus. Again, unless you have a fully occupied room, I wouldn’t advise HPS.

because unless you add additional light, cactus will etiolate beneath them. Avoid using halogen or incandescent lights too frequently.

heat and insufficient light LEDs are now an option, but it can be challenging for a novice to determine what is required and whether it is adequate.

A bit of a red herring, the heat issue is that a 400W lamp emits more heat than a 150W lamp. Possibly a 15-watt lamp

Less heat, but you can determine why you wouldn’t use it for yourself. Choose a lamp that provides adequate illumination; anything larger is

Work out whether you need fans to cool it or if you’re just wasting money (and that’s before you have to turn the A/C up!).

These values presuppose that you use a good reflector and side baffles or other lighting techniques to direct the majority of the light onto the plants.

light used inside a white growth enclosure. The majority of conventional reflectors would likely lose half the light.

If you are raising jungle cacti seedlings and have some natural light, you may be able to utilize lower light settings.

or simply for the winter. For overwintering some winters, I use 5x36W T8 fluorescent lights at almost 2,000 lumens per square foot.

developing warm-loving plants like succulents and 1-2 year seedlings. 10–12 hours a day are spent operating these lights.

because some plants only flower in the winter or right after the winter and are sensitive to day length. I employ 600–1,200 lumens every

Light Intensity

The amount of light falling on a specific region determines its intensity. To match the intensity of, you have to put in a lot of effort.

artificial lighting in direct sunshine. The UV content of the light is typically lower, even if you can handle it. But you may provide the entire thing.

continual intensity of light that the sun cannot provide. It’s still challenging to provide an adult cactus enough light.

Let’s simply stick to plant lights because the word “penetration” is so frequently misused. Few people are aware of what penetration actually

simply been conditioned to believe that strong lights have good penetration and can reach the plant’s base.

In reality, penetration is a result of light collimation, which we have already discussed. light sources that are

spreading out rapidly have weak penetration, which means that the plant’s bottom receives significantly less light than its top.

This is why putting a plant next to a light that is poorly built won’t help stop the light from spreading.

In order to minimize the disparity in light intensity, powerful light sources are typically situated far from the plants.

between the plant’s top and bottom. Hence the “myth” that strong light sources penetrate farther than weak ones.

ones. The best illustration is the sun, an extremely strong light source that is so far away that there is basically no difference.

between the top and bottom of a plant’s light coverage. near to the plants, a strong light source has

Very poor light penetration; the top leaves will be burnt by excessive light while the bottom leaves will die from insufficient light.

Diffusion of Light

The efficiency of fluorescent lights, like all other lights, doesn’t decrease with distance; instead, the light just spreads out. Prevent

Plants can be placed wherever you desire, and you can keep the light from spreading out. Of course, there is no method for limiting or concentrating the

installing the lights at one end of your basement and placing the plants in the corner at the other end will provide 100% effective light.

likely produce subpar outcomes! Keep in mind that shop light “reflectors” are made to spread the light over the entire space, not to concentrate it on one spot.

Therefore, they are useless for what we require. seed or plant tray. Remove any diffuser from your lamp, too.

After all, why would you put a light fixture intended to illuminate a 400 square foot room evenly on two square feet of plants? Use

inverse square laws, light loss efficiency, and a lighting system intended to concentrate light on a limited area

exit through the window. Why should you settle when searchlights and lasers don’t diminish in intensity with distance?

for a plant light that diminishes in intensity over time? Or one where the plants are completely missed by three-quarters of the light?

The worst conceivable solution is to practically directly touch plants with fluorescent tubes, which is a very simple method. You

only good if you require a very well lighted basement for 16 plants, as half or more of the light will still miss the plants.

days a week. Additionally, there is a difference in light intensity between, say, two inches at the bottom of the plant and one quarter inch from the tube.

will be enormous, leading to subpar growth. Once the plants reach taller than a few inches, the entire arrangement is absolutely useless.

Nothing about this is magical. A certain quantity of light is produced by plant lights, and as long as it doesn’t leave or get

No matter how far away the plants are, if it is absorbed, it must eventually reach them. In reality, each bounce off a surface results in a loss of around 20% of the

There’s no need to jam anything up against the tubes, but you also don’t want to move too far. Whatever you decide to do

Instead of simply converting your basement into a man-made beach, it’s crucial to direct as much light as possible onto the plants. Invest in a decent reflector,

The ones that come with fluorescent lights are made to disperse the light throughout the entire room rather than focusing it on a few square

feet. Put as many white surfaces around the lights and plants as you can: white wall behind it, white shelf above and below, even hung

Nobody can really tell you how near to place the lights because it all depends on how your reflector is made. when plants begin

raise the lights to blaze. Try to position the lights so that their distance from the plants is at least equal to their height. Try to with an open shelf

Place the plants in a uniform row with respect to the lighting. It won’t matter if you cover at least three sides with white sheeting.

It doesn’t matter how far the lights are. The amount of light that reaches the plants as opposed to leaving through the windows is what matters.

the remainder of your basement up. The easiest (and worst!) method to direct a lot of light onto a plant is to place the lights close to it.

a tiny plant area. To avoid overheating and to allow the light to spread, very high intensity lights must be positioned far from the plants.

Nearly all of the lights can be directed without loss onto the plants by using a “enclosure.” If you’re using a container,

Instead of going to the hassle of using mylar, simply paint it white. They might use latex paint to make your roof reflect sunlight.

The best interior flat emulsion paint, but regular flat paint is almost as excellent. Moisture is an issue in cages used to cultivate adult cacti.

humidity increases as moisture is trapped. Using enough lights for a mature cactus will also cause heat accumulation, so create an

a ventilation system into your enclosure. Seedlings do well in enclosed lightboxes because they prefer steady, moderate light, high humidity, and consistent warmth.