Succulent Sunburn : How to Treat 7 Things Must Know

What is Succulent sunburn and how it occurs? Succulents have become one of the trendiest plants, people adore and pamper as they always bring a cozy satisfaction. It is important to know how to take good care of succulents to keep them healthy and elegant.

Succulents prefer to be in the light, yet excessive exposure to the sun can cause eventual sunburns on leaves. Drastic sun rays are not healthy for succulents’ leaves, though they are identified as drought-resistant plants. Succulents have the ability to retain water in desert climates but it is important to moisture it whenever the soil gets dry.

Succulent Sunburn _ How to Treat 7 Things Must Know

Succulents always demand sufficient attention to remain healthy, as they easily get sunburns. It is frustrating to see the plants we cherish get sick. But proper care and attention will keep succulents away from succulent sunburn.

How To Treat Sunburned Succulents

The survival of the sunburned succulents (Succulent Sunburn) is always based on the severity of the sunburn. A few hours of exposure to the direct sunlight may not harm the plants. However, the disclosure to the direct harsh sun rays for days and weeks can damage the plant severely. This may lead to a disruption of the plant as the photosynthesis process does not occur in damaged leaves.

The whitish sunburned patches on the succulent leaves can be cured with a proper care. The brown patches always hint the severity of the damage. However, It is important to be vigilant on the amount of sun exposure that the plants receive, as there is no way to repair the strongly affected leaves. Succulents cannot recover from sunburns easily.

Particularly, the colored patches occur on the leaves are permanent.  Even though there is not any specific treatment to heal the succulent sunburn leaves,  you can follow some effective options to minimize the damage.

How To Prevent Succulents From Getting Sunburns

Most of the Succulents grow under the direct sunlight but that requires an adaptation. Subsequently, succulents need gradual exposure to increasing the levels of light. In this process expose your plant into the direct sunlight for 1 hour a day And move back to a shady warm area.

In addition to that, you can cover the succulents using a shade cloth during the time they get harsh sunbeams. This method prevents succulents from getting succulent sunburn. When exposing esculents to the direct full sun there are important environmental factors that you need to be aware of. Especially, succulents easily get dry and sunburn in hot weather.

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When succulents are planted in containers, plants easily get dry than they are planted in the ground. Even though it is recommended to water succulent when the soil is dry, you should spray some water more frequently in the hot weather. In the cool weather, it is advisable to water the plants in the morning or the evening. It is not an easy task to take care of succulents. The best thing you can do to avoid sunburn is maintaining the sunlight the plants receive.

Succulent Sunburn

Remove Affected Leaves And Propagate

Step 1: Get proper tools for succulent progression

Sharp Shears

When removing the sunburned leaves, it is important to use high-quality shears to prevent from damaging the sensitive plant tissues. Clean the shears using alcohol before and after using them in order to a minimum the prevalence of diseases from infected plants. Similarly, make sure to keep your tools sharp, as dull blades can damage the plants.


Many factors determine the right soil for healthy succulents. Use of the wrong type of soil may affect your plants in an unhealthy way. Always plant your leaves on light and sufficiently aerated soil to stimulate the root growth. Succulent soil is available on greenhouses and hardware stores. You can simply make your own succulent soil with a 1:1 mix of potting soil and perlite. It is advisable to cover the soil surface with inorganic mulch such as coarse sand and gravel.

Plug Trays

Plug trays are important in propagating succulents. You can plant many succulents at once until you plant them in spacious pots. Succulents can survive in a plug tray for months with proper care. As trays provide structure, the shipping process will be easy, and it will not harm the roots. Planting succulents on plug trays makes it convenient to transfer them into proper pots.

Step 2: Remove the affected leaves

Gently remove the affected leaves from your succulent in twisting motion to avoid any breakage.  In this process, any damage on the leaf will prevent root from sprouting.

Step 3: Treat leaves

Put the removed leaves on a paper towel for a couple of days until the cut gets completely dry to prevent them from rotting.

Step 4: Create tray

Create a two-inch thin layer using succulent or cactus soil on a tray. Moisturize the soil by spraying some water on it.

Step 5: Lay the calloused leaves

Gently lay the calloused leaves on the prepared tray. Always make sure to lay them as the top side of the leaf is facing up.

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Place the tray in a warm place as the leaves can receive adequate sunlight. Spray some water without letting the soil dries out.

Step 6: The leaves will begin to sprout and baby plants will appear Within a week.

Carefully Separate the baby plants from the soil and replant it when the affected leaves gradually begin to dry up.

How To Identify Succulent Sunburn

When succulents are exposed to the harsh sunlight, the plants gradually get discolored patches on its leaves. The tone of the patches gets tab, brown or black according to the severity of the succulent sunburn. Thus you can easily differentiate the patches on the affected leaves from the healthy part. Specialty the leaves with smooth surface becomes rough after getting affected by harsh sunbeams.

Minor sunburns do not show obvious changes in the color. White Mark’s in the leaves represent the light sunburn while brown patches represent severe succulent sunburn.

Are Sunburned Succulents Are More Susceptible To Pests?

“Insects and pests” is not an alien concern when it comes to gardening. There are both helpful insects that help the growth of plants while some invasive bug that infects the plants. However, succulents simply do not get affected by common insects. But there are very dangerous insects that can completely disrupt the plants.

Sunburns increase the susceptible to pests and cause premature deaths. In the rash sunlight, the leaves and soil get dry. Thus, when roots cannot supply adequate water to the foliage rapidly, the plant can easily be susceptible to pests.

Can Succulents Get Sunburn Indoor

Comparing to the outdoor succulents, indoor succulents do not get sunburns as much as outdoor succulents. Indoor succulents have the minimum effect of sunburns, temperature fluctuations and weather. Most of the people tend to place their succulents near widows which can cause mix effects. The intensiveness of the sunbeams often changes according to the weather and the time. The direction of the window is facing, causes a huge impact on the amount of sunlight the succulents get. You should be vigilant, not to exceed 6-8 hours, when providing sunlight.

If you are cautious about the sunlight the succulents get, the plant will be protected from sunburn.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does sunburn affect succulents?

The discolored patches on succulent leaves occur due to the sunburn. In some cases, succulent leaves turn dry and black. The leaves will begin to get blackish from the outer edges of the leave. Eventually, the leaves will get dry and crispy. Any severe harm on succulent leaves cannot be undone. Moreover,  Sunburns damage the photosynthesis process. This may kill the succulent eventually.

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Can succulents survive sunburn?

White marks mean it has a light sunburn; brown means the sunburn is severe. If your succulent is in the whitish stage of the burn, there is still time to undo the damage. Get it to a shady spot for 3-7 days, and moisturize the soil immediately if it is dry. The white marks should be less visible or completely vanished before putting them out in the direct sun.

If the succulent has brown marks, the damage is severe. But you should not throw the plant away. The damage will have to be grown out.

Why does my succulent look burn?

Succulents leaves get vibrant colors when they receive adequate sunlight. Succulents plants require about 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. However, the leaves get sunburns when they receive too much sunlight and uv rays. To get rid of this, move the succulents back to a shady place once they receive the daily sunlight it requires.

Should I cut off sunburned leaves?

Once the leaves get a sunburn, there is no way to cure them. If the leaves are not completely affected, you can simply remove them and propagate to spread more succulents.

Is sunburn permanent?

Unfortunately, there is no way to repair the sunburns on succulents.  But if the leaves have white patches you can cure the plant by taking good care of the plant.

How long will it take sunburn to heal?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to heal the sunburnt leaves on succulents. If the plant has got white patches, you can still save the plant by taking good care of the plant. Keep your plants in a shady place until the white patches disappear.

Can I put my succulents in the direct sunlight?

Succulent plants should keep in the full sun at least for 4 to 6 hours. They prefer to be in bright and sunny locations. However, make sure to provide adequate direct sunlight, yet it should not be harsh for your succulents.

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About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.