Best Succulents For Full Sun (With Photos)

Succulents are hardy plants and the great majority need at least some exposure to direct sunlight to grow well. But not all succulents are created the same and while some can handle exposure to very hot sun, others can perish. Below is a list of super hardy succulents we grow at our nursery and have tested in full sun, in some pretty intense heatwaves.

12 Best succulents for full sun

  1. Aeonium Schwartzkopf
  2. Aloe Spinossima
  3. Crassula Ericpides
  4. Crassula Ovata
  5. Delosperma Cooperi
  6. Echeveria Prolifica
  7. Graptopetalum Paraguayense
  8. Graptoveria Fred Ives
  9. Portulacaria Afra
  10. Sedeveria Maialen
  11. Sedum Rubrotinctum
  12. Senecio Serpens
Aeonium Schwartzkopf

Aeonium Schwartzkopf

Aloe Hedgehog Orange Flower Succulents

Aloe Spinossima

Crassula Ericoides

Crassula Ericoides

Crassula Ovata

Crassula Ovata

Echeveria-Prolifica

Echeveria Prolifica

Graptopetalum Paraguayense large clump

Graptopetalum Paraguayense

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Portulacaria Afra

Portulacaria Afra

Sedeveria Maialen

Sedeveria Maialen

Sedum-Rubrotinctum

Sedum Rubrotinctum

Senecio Serpens

Senecio Serpens

While in moderate climates many more succulents will handle being in full sun, once temperatures start climbing north of 30C/86F some may start to suffer. It is not the temperature that matters as most succulents will handle high temperatures over 40C/104F if they are in shade. It is exposure to direct sun’s UV when it’s very hot. These UV rays can burn succulents just like they can burn human skin.

Forecast temperatures are also shade temperatures, not what you actually get in full sun. While the weather app may be saying its 30C, if you put a thermometer in the sun it will several degrees higher.

The above plants have all survived extreme heatwaves we have experienced at our nursery, west of Sydney, Australia. The highest temperature we have clocked so far was around 46C/114.8F and these succulents were exposed to full, afternoon sun.

While in some circumstances even these succulents can burn in full sun, they are unlikely to die and will end up growing out of the burns.

Advanced succulents will always be a lot hardier. More established they are, higher the temperature and sun exposure they will cope with. Young plants with small roots and cuttings are a little more touchy and it is advisable not to expose them to hot, afternoon summer sun until they grow bigger and harden up.

Top 5 colourful full sun succulents

  1. Aeonium Sunburst
  2. Crassula Ovata ‘Red Coral’
  3. Graptoveria Fred Ives
  4. Graptosedum California Sunset
  5. Sedum Pachyphyllum
Aeonium-Sunburst1

Aeonium Sunburst

Crassula red coral

Crassula Ovata 'Red Coral'

graptosedum california sunset

Graptosedum California Sunset

Sedum Pachyphyllum

Sedum Pachyphyllum

Succulents are popular due do their outstanding colours. It is important to keep in mind that the majority of succulents will change colours throughout the seasons based on many influencing factors such as the cold, rain, potting mix, size of pot and sun exposure.

The five plants mentioned above are likely to always retain quite a bit of their colour even during summer when most succulents turn a little green. As a plus, they are also exceptionally hardy.

Top 11 hanging succulents for full sun

  1. Echeveria Prolifica
  2. Graptopetalum Paraguayense
  3. Graptosedum Vera Higgings
  4. Othonna Capensis
  5. Sedeveria Starburst
  6. Sedum Clavatum
  7. Sedum Rubrotinctum
  8. Sedum Rubrotinctum Aurora
  9. Sedum Morganium
  10. Senecio Fishooks
  11. Echinopsis Chamaecereus
Sedum-Rubrotinctum-arrangement

Graptosedum Vera Higgins hanging in a pot with Sedum Rubrotinctum and Sedeveria Maialen

Sedeveria Starburst

Sedeveria Starburst

Sedum Rubrotinctum Aurora

Sedum Rubrotinctum Aurora

Sedum Jelly Beans

Sedum Rubrotinctum, Sedum Rubrotinctum Aurora and Sedum Pachyphyllum are all great full sun hanging plants

Sedum Clavatum

Sedum Clavatum

Senecio Fishooks

Senecio Fishooks

Echinopsis Chamacereus Orange Flower Succulents

Echinopsis Chamaecereus

Hanging succulents are a fantastic way to beautify a home and create a pretty spectacle either in hanging pots, window boxes or tall pots. All of the plants mentioned above will trail to some extent. Perhaps the best ones, that will also grow longest are Othonna Capensis ‘Ruby Necklace’, Sedum Morganium ‘Donkey’s Tail’ and Senecio Fishooks.

I can almost hear some of you thinking ‘But what about String of Pearls or Chain of Hearts?’. Well, as much as I love these gorgeous succulents and we have many pots with strings measuring more than 2m in length, these plants are not likely to survive full sun during summer and can very easily burn once the temperature is quite hot. They are, however, fantastic shade plants suited to covered patios or super bright spots in the house.

Ceropegia Woodii

Ceropegia Woodii is likely to struggle in hot summer sun, but is a fantastic shade hanging plant.

The ten succulents mentioned above will easily cope with the summer sun and look fabulous hanging.

Hanging pots will dry out a lot quicker than pots sitting on the ground and so it is quite important to water succulents planted in pots that hang in the air a lot more often.

Best flowering succulents for full sun

  1. Aloe Spinossima
  2. Crassula Ovata
  3. Delosperma
  4. Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi
  5. Graptopetalum
  6. Graptosedum
  7. Graptoveria
  8. Senecio Serpens

The majority of succulents will produce flowers at some stage in their lives. The above genera and species flower usually once every year, but their flowers can easily last for over a month. Senecio Serpens and some Delosperma species will flower more often.

Delosperma  flowers

Delosperma flowers more than once per year, usually in warmer months.

Senecio Flower

Senecio Flower

Succulent flowers

A variety of succulent flowers

Some succulents can take years or even decades to flower, but most will bloom yearly once mature, some even as little baby offsets.

Are succulents ok in full sun?

Whether succulents are ok in full sun will greatly depend on the particular species of succulent and climate. Most succulents will be fine in full sun, though there are some that prefer a shaded spot. Not many succulents will like being in full sun in heatwaves over 40C/104F.

Succulents such as Haworthia or Gasteria are better off in bright shade/ filtered sun and can struggle if exposed to very hot summer's sun. We have a more in depth article on succulents and full sun here.

Can succulents survive extreme heat

Most succulents can survive extreme heat if they are not exposed to direct sun on very hot days. It is the sun’s UV that will kill a succulent and therefore succulents in extreme heat, in the sun can very easily be burned or cooked to death.

When it comes to extreme heat events, the survival of many succulents will depend on things like whether they are planted in a pot or garden, what colour the pot is, species of succulent, moisture levels etc.

The succulents mentioned above should all cope with extreme heat even when exposed to the sun, but if they are, say, in small black pots and haven’t had a sip for a while, even the hardiest of them all can easily die once temperature starts climbing over 35C/95F.

To read more about how to care for succulents in extreme heat, you can read another one of our articles here.