Are you looking for the best succulents for full hot sun? Do you have a spot in your garden that feels the heat of the midday sun, and you are struggling to find a plant that will thrive there? Or a sunny windowsill that is looking for its ideal plant?
In this article, we’ll run through a complete guide to choosing the right plants for that spot that sits in the full, hot sun, as well as some care tips to keep them healthy and happy.
There is such a vast array of succulent species and varieties, and there is bound to be one suited to your garden or your indoor space.
Some varieties of succulents are more heat-tolerant than others. These are some of the best succulent types for full sun:
Not all varieties within these species are tolerant of full sun, so you still need to check the sun tolerance of your chosen individual variety.
You should also take in account the climate and region you live in. Full midday sun in Illinois, for example, will be far less intense than full midday sun in Texas. Even plants that we’ve listed as liking full sun may struggle with very intense midday and afternoon sun and may require some shade at that time.
Let’s look at some examples from the species above of the best succulents for full hot sun.
Aeonium – Black Rose Aeonium
If you’re looking for a succulent that can handle full hot sun, you’ll want to consider an Aeonium. These hardy plants are native to the Canary Islands and thrive in sunny, dry conditions.
Aeoniums come in a wide range of colors, from bright greens to yellows, purples and even black (well a purpley-black). Aeonium arboreum zwartkop, the Black Rose Aeonium, is a great example of a sun-loving aeonium variety. Also known as Tree Houseleeks, aeoniums have beautiful rosettes of leaves, usually on a woody stalk. They make an excellent addition to any succulent collection and are relatively easy to care for.
Agave Parryi – Mescal Agave
Agave is a genus of succulent plants native to the hot, arid regions of Mexico and the southwestern United States. Many species of agave are adapted to thrive in full sun, making them ideal plants for hot, sunny gardens.
One of the best agaves for full sun is Agave Americana, also known as the Century Plant. This fast-growing agave can reach up to 8 feet tall and produces beautiful greenish-yellow flowers.
Another good choice for hot, sunny conditions is Agave attenuate, known as Fox Tail Agave, which has wide, blue-green leaves and grows well in containers.
If you live in a particularly hot climate, you might also consider one of the many drought-tolerant species of agave, such as Agave Victoriae-Reginae (Queen Victoria Agave), or Agave parryi (Mescal Agave) (pictured above). These plants can survive with very little water, making them ideal for dry gardens.
Agaves love well-drained soil. Most agaves are slow-growing, but some species can become quite large, so it’s important to give them enough space to reach their full potential.
Aloe Vera is also a great option when you are looking for the best succulents for full hot sun. This tough plant is native to Africa and tolerates harsh conditions well.
Aloe Vera is a low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require much watering. It’s also resistant to pests and diseases, making it a great choice for those who don’t have too much time for succulent care.
If you live in an area with hot summers, Aloe Vera is the perfect plant to add to your garden. It will thrive in the heat and provide you with beautiful foliage that’s perfect for adding a touch of greenery to your outdoor space. It works well indoors, too and is tolerant of a range of conditions, including low light. A very tolerant plant indeed!
Selenicereus Grandiflorus – Night Blooming Cereus
If you’re looking for a succulent that can take the heat, then the night-blooming cereus is a great option. This hardy plant is native to hot, arid regions and can withstand high temperatures. It is also drought-tolerant and does not require much water to thrive.
Night Blooming Cactus, or Queen of the Night, are names used to refer to several cacti varieties. Pictured above is Selenicereus grandiflorus. Night blooming cacti are renowned for their magnificent blooms that open only at night. These flowers are large, often reaching around 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter and are in white or cream color. The flowers typically have numerous slender petals that form a star or funnel shape. Each flower will only last for one night (see time-lapse Wikipedia video). The flower will start to open in the evening and, by morning, will have withered and died. The flowers are scented with an aroma similar to vanilla.
Selenicereus grandiflorus has long, slender climbing stems. The dark-green stems grow aerial roots that help anchor the plant to nearby trees or rocks for support.
Cotyledon Tomentosa – Bear Paw Succulent
Cotyledon tomentosa, commonly known as Bear paw succulent, is a desert succulent that loves full moderate-intensite sun and is easy to care for. It gets its name from its plump leaves that feature scalloped, red tips giving them the appearance of a bear’s paw.
In its native habitat, it grows in dry sandy soil, in hot areas with little rainfall and plenty of direct sunlight.
With its quirky foliage, Bear’s Paw is an interesting addition to any garden or sunny home window.
Echeveria Agavoides – Lipstick Plant
Echeveria agavoides has beautiful green fleshy leaves decorated with bright red edges. The leaves grow in a compact rosette. Known as Echeveria Lipstick or Lipstick Succulent because of the red tinge to the edges of the leaves, it is also known as the Molded Wax Agave because its shape is reminiscent of agave plants (although it’s an echeveria).
It is slow-growing and will grow to around 6 inches (15 cm) tall.
In bright sunlight, the bright red edges of the leaves will be more intense than if it is grown in lower light levels, but it will cope with lower light levels.
It is easy to care for and does not require much water.
Euphorbia Tirucalli – Firesticks
This succulent is native to South Africa and has adapted to climates with long periods of direct sunlight. The plant has an interesting tree-like shape and can grow up to 20 feet (6m) tall. The Euphorbia Tirucalli is a popular choice for landscaping but also works as an indoor plant when young and small.
Euphorbia Tirucalli is known as the Firesticks, Sticks on Fire, Red Pencil Cactus or the Pencil Tree Plant. These nicknames refer to the plant’s narrow, tubular branches that turn from green to red if grown in bright light.
Euphorbia Tirucalli is a great choice for those who want a low-maintenance plant that can withstand full sun.
Ferocactus Grusonii – Golden Barrel Cactus
Ferocactus grusonii, commonly known as the Golden Barrel Cactus or Golden Ball, is a sun-loving cactus. It thrives in full sun and can withstand intense sunlight and high temperatures. In its native habitat of central Mexico, it typically grows in arid desert regions where it receives abundant sunlight throughout the day.
Golden Barrel Cactus prefers at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. In lower light conditions, it can become elongated and lose its compact barrel shape and golden color.
Kalanchoe Luciae – Paddle Plant
If you’re looking for a succulent that can thrive in the full hot sun, then the Paddle Plant, (or Kalanchoe luciae), also known as Flapjacks, is a great option. This tough little plant is native to dry regions of South Africa and can tolerate long periods of drought.
You may also see this plant referred to as Kalanchoe thyrsiflora. The plants are very similar but Kalanchoe thyrsiflora does not produce the red coloration on the leaves.
The paddle plant gets its name from its thick, round leaves shaped like paddles. These leaves store water, allowing the plant to survive during extended periods of dry weather. The leaves are also covered in a waxy coating that helps reflect sunlight and prevent water loss.
In its native habitat, the paddle plant thrives in full sun, where it receives direct sunlight for several hours a day, where the leaves develop their characteristic red or bronze hues.
It is a low-growing plant and usually only reaches around 12 inches in height. However, it can spread up to 3 feet wide, making it an excellent groundcover plant.
When grown indoors, the paddle plant can still tolerate bright light and benefit from a few hours of direct sunlight each day. However, it may need some protection from direct sun to prevent sunburn, and if you notice the leaves becoming pale or yellowing, it may indicate that the plant is receiving too much direct sunlight. Paddle plants can even tolerate low light levels but may lose the bronze coloration.
Paddle plants are easy to care for and make an excellent addition to any succulent collection.
Portulaca Molokiniensis – Petal Leaf Succulent
The Petal Leaf Succulent, Portulaca Molokiniensis, is a beautiful, sculptural succulent perfect for beginners who want a stylish plant that is easy to care for.
It loves full sun and likes at least six hours of bright light every day, plus warm temperatures and well-draining soil.
Native to rocky volcanic slopes and sandy soils in Hawaii, it is drought-tolerant and will forgive some neglect.
This stunning plant is a firm favorite of ours.
Sedum Morganianum – Donkey’s Tail
Sedum morganianum, known as Donkey’s Tail because of the shape of its leaves, is another great option for a sun-loving succulent. These plants are native to hot, dry regions and are well-suited to growing in sunny areas.
Sedums have thick, fleshy leaves that store water, allowing them to withstand long periods of drought. Sedums are easy to care for and require little water or maintenance.
Sedum varieties grow in a wide range of colors, including green, blue, purple, and red. Sedum nussbaumerianum, commonly known as Coppertone Stonecrop, is another sun-loving sedum with beautiful copper-colored leaves.
Sempervivum varieties are a great option if you’re looking for a succulent that can thrive in the full hot sun. We’ve selected Sempervivum Tectorum, but most sempervivum will thrive in full sun. These tough plants are native to mountainous regions and are accustomed to harsh conditions. As such, they’re perfect for growing in sunny, dry areas of the garden.
Sempervivum is a low-growing succulent that forms rosettes of fleshy leaves. They’re available in a range of colors, including green, brown, purple, and red. When blooming, they produce tall flower stalks topped with small flowers.
Senecio Mandraliscae – Blue Chalk Sticks
Senecio mandraliscae is a species of flowering succulent known as Blue Chalk Sticks.
It is native to arid regions of southern Africa, where it grows in rocky habitats. This succulent plant produces thick, fleshy, blue-green leaves arranged in an open rosette.
This tough little plant is perfect for hot, sunny locations. It can handle the full sun and extreme heat and, once established, it is quite drought tolerant.
Senecio mandraliscae is also suitable for growing in containers.
If you have an outdoor area with full hot sun or a sunny window with constant sun, the succulents above are perfect for your conditions.
They are all easy to care for and will thrive in the heat.
These are just examples of sun-loving succulents from the sun-tolerant succulent species listed at the top of the article. So, if you are looking for beautiful, low-maintenance plants that will thrive in full sun, these succulents are the way to go!