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Should I Grow Succulents Indoor or Outdoor?

First of all, succulents are drought plants they will survive with minimal water and sunlight. If you want your succulents to 'survive' then they could be indoor plants. 

However for those who really into their succulents or have seen those beautiful stressed succulents, you will find that all the prettiest succulents are grown outdoor. Not because we are growing rare succulents (in this website yes..) but we appreciate the full potential a succulent could be. In fact they are desert plant, meaning they could tolerate extreme temperature difference and minimal water. Therefore growing them outdoor are more fun and rewarding. 

Take an example of Echeveria Agavoides Lipstick, the most common succulent you could find at local garden nursery or supermarket, I got mine from B&Q. Just like any newbie, I bought her as window sill plants, during summer she gave me some cute blush. As soon as I discovered 'succulents are not indoor plants' she was one of the early plants I left outdoor in March.. ( yes you read it right, during cold winter!) 

The result? You can see from below yourself 

March 11th, under the indoor grow light. To be honest I wasn't sure which Agavoides I bought from the beginning

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March 15th, 3 days after I threw her outdoor. 

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April 1st, did I forget to mention she will get freckles too?

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 April 27th- TADA! She showed me her prettiest just over a month by growing her outdoor.. 

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As I was previously growing her outdoor, her leaves have grown quite long and thin (this is a sign for sun-deprived). Most of my stressed succulents have slowly turning green but she is one of those that remains full blush.

If we want to talk be science, when placed in the sun or extreme temperatures, the anthocyanins are in higher concentration in the plant cells. The anthocyanins act as antioxidants protects plants against overexposure to UV lights and extreme temperatures. It’s also known that anthocyanins which are more stable in lower temperature hence you see the red, purple, orange starts to appear on succulent and that's what we call 'Stress'.

And yes there is bad stress, it usually happens during summer when the high heat and humidity that cause them to change to brown and that's when you need your shading net or fan to cool them down. Read here about sun damage. 

Anyway back to indoor. I find growing indoor is way more tricky. First of all they don't do well with humid and comfortable environment. If your indoor tend to be quite warm your succulents will have high chance of getting infection like mealy bugs or worst, rotten. There are many reason they are rotten ie humidity, overwatering, wrong soil, cold and hot at the same time  ( close to window with heater underneath). You probably will also need a grow light if they are indoor. I would always recommend getting 'Full Spectrum Grow Light' instead of normal blue and red led lights. 

However I am not saying it is not possible to grow them indoor. Lisa is doing extremely good job growing her succulents indoor and of course with a proper set up. She grows her succulents on shelves of which each shelf is installed with full spectrum led light, mini fan and unheated room. So she has basically tackled light, humidity and temperature difference. This has proven that it is possible to grow them indoor if you don't have any garden but still addicted to succulents. 

Balcony is another ideal spot for you to grow succulents but that would be semi-indoor. I would suggest getting shelf to store them and cover them horticultural polysheet whenever it rains  and extra layer of fleece during winter to protect. You would want to leave them outdoor so that they would go into hibernation during winter. Otherwise if you decided to bring them indoor, they would be continue growing (due to warm cozy indoor temperature) but probably showing signs of etiolating due to lack of sun. 

 

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