Does Cactus Need Sunlight?

does cactus need sunlight

Last updated on June 21st, 2022 at 01:21 am

I have been asked this question over and over if truly, “does cactus need sunlight to thrive very well? , and my responses are still the same. Let me ask you too, so you can tell me what your response is in the comment section.

Many people believe cacti are only able to grow if they receive sunlight. In truth, many species of cactus can survive without direct light exposure from the sun. One example is the Christmas cactus, which does not require any natural or artificial lighting at all for its survival since it does not produce chlorophyll and instead derives energy from a symbiotic relationship with algae inside its roots.

Although these types of plants don’t need as much light in order to thrive, being exposed to some form of illumination will still benefit them by allowing their photosynthetic machinery that has been broken down over time due to lack of use function again.

But still, Cacti, like other plants need sunlight in order to grow. They are able to store water in their fleshy leaves and stems so they do not require a lot of watering. Cactus does benefit from more sun than many other types of plants because it does well with high temperatures as well as low humidity levels. It is important to bear this factor in mind when you’re considering where the plant will be planted outside your home or office building space.

Does cactus need sunlight?

does cactus need sunlight

Cacti that are shade tolerant, require less natural light than their counterparts, but they do still need some sun exposure in order to survive and produce fruit or flowers on the pads of the plant. If you notice your plant becoming etiolated, then try giving it more time with direct, unfiltered sunlight during periods outside of daytime hours so that it can grow as quickly as possible.

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How much sun does a cactus need?

They need about 12 hours of bright sunshine each day or artificial lighting to grow healthy and spread their seeds successfully.

Cacti require at least four hours of direct sunlight, but the more sun they get during the day, the happier and healthier they will be. However, as cactus plants grow in size, their leaves may block light to the smaller joints on their body which means that a lot of small cacti are planted together for this reason.

If you live in an area with high humidity or foggy conditions like Central California where I grew up it can often lead to leaf droopiness especially when grown indoors – even if they do not receive any direct sunlight. And yet despite these challenges most people still don’t believe that some cacti need all-day-long sunshine because so many types survive just fine without light exposure! Remember that in many cases the cactus will be planted close together to maximize its coverage.

If you’re one of these people who didn’t know that cacti need sunlight, it’s time to give your plants some extra love – even if they are indoors! Give them a little sun for at least four hours each day and watch as their branches grow taller while producing more delicate flowers. These beautiful gems can also thrive outside during the summer months when gardens get plenty of direct light from noon onward.

The length of time needed by cactus depends on how much sun exposure is available and this varies depending on where you live, so I recommend checking with an expert before deciding what type of plant needs less shade or water.

Can a cactus get too much sun?

Yes. A cactus can get too much sun if it is exposed to direct sunlight for more than 12 hours each day or artificial lighting for more than 14 hours per day. This will cause the plant’s leaves and stems to dry out, in addition to making them susceptible to rotting from fungal infections like Pythium that thrive in warm, moist environments with poor air circulation.

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Cacti should not be left out during rainstorms without a roof because they are very sensitive plants and water droplets may accumulate on their joints which could lead to rot over time especially when there isn’t any airflow around the roots of the plant due to being planted close together.

How to care for Cactus?

Cactus plants are well-known for their ability to survive in the harshest environments. They can last with little water and tolerate long periods without any sun, but they do need some light and a certain amount of humidity. In order to keep your cacti healthy, try to maintain optimal levels of both these things:


Cacti need at least 14 hours of light per day, and more is better. They can survive in much lower levels of sunlight than other plants – a few hours on sunny days outside should be enough to keep your cactus happy


Humidity needs are very individual for each cactus variety, but you want to find a happy medium between a dry and humid environment. Cacti should have the opportunity to live in both conditions, so you may want two plants: one that lives outside most of the time (so it can survive on less humidity), and another for inside when there isn’t enough natural humidity.

Are there Cacti that don’t need sun?

Saguaro Cactus

Some cacti are used as houseplants and so they don’t need direct sunlight to grow healthily. They will, however, require artificial lighting for at least twelve hours each day. Houseplants such as the Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) or Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi), for instance, both thrive in low light conditions indoors.

What are shade tolerant cacti?

Opuntia ficus-indica
Opuntia ficus-indica

Cacti that are shade tolerant are plants that can grow in areas of partial sunlight or darkness. The majority of cactus species require at least four hours a day exposure to direct sun rays for photosynthesis, but some exceptions do exist. One such exception is the Opuntia ficus-indica plant which will produce fruit with no flowering if grown away from any natural light source and only exposed to artificial indoor lighting. This type of opuntias is commonly known as the “prickly pear” due to its spiky outer skin protecting it from predators.

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The prickly pears also provide many benefits for humans like being excellent fodder for livestock because they contain high levels of vitamin A & C, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin.

What do you do when a cactus becomes etiolated?

If a cactus becomes etiolated, it is usually due to an interruption of its natural day/night cycle. This can happen if the plant does not receive enough sunlight or when light exposure changes from 12-hour days to 24-hour cycles. Essentially, this means that the plants are exposed to both natural and artificial lighting at all times which will alter their flowering patterns as well as cause them to become stunted and weak.

A person can identify whether cacti are just growing slowly or has actually turned etiolated by comparing it with other healthy specimens of the same species in proximity. If you notice any differences between your specimen and others nearby then try giving more direct sun exposure during periods outside of daytime hours so that the plant can grow as quickly as possible.

A cactus needs sunlight for photosynthesis which is the process by which plants use light energy to produce sugars from water and carbon dioxide. The amount of direct, unfiltered natural sun exposure that a cactus receives will dictate how healthy it can become and what type of flora it produces, flowers, or fruit on its pads. There are plenty of types of shade-tolerant cacti which might not need such intense amounts of lighting but they do require some level in order to survive long-term without negative effects like etiolation or stunted growth rates.

If you notice your specimen becoming less green after prolonged periods away from any kind of light source then provide more time with at least four hours worth per day.