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Light Requirements

Indoors Give cacti and succulents the brightest light or sunniest window that you can provide. Most cacti and succulents are not happy in shady corners or north-facing windows as they need at least four to six hours of strong light daily if they are grown indoors. Plants with inadequate light may stretch (skinny growth). Outdoors Some cacti and succulents can tolerate full sun. However, it is important to realize that during the hottest days of summer, when the solar radiation exceeds 11,000 foot candles, all plants would welcome some respite from the harsh afternoon sun. Many cacti and succulents prefer to be positioned in an area that receives morning sun, and is protected from the stronger afternoon rays. Some cacti can even sunburn, as in the case of the spineless or naked cacti, unless given some shade in the hottest part of the day. Reddish discoloration, either in part or on the entire plant, is usually the result of overly strong solar radiation. Remember that most cacti and succulents receive shading from grasses, shrubs or trees in their natural habitat, especially when they are young. Your cacti and succulents will do nicely on a sunny windowsill or very bright spot indoors. However, for those of us not fortunate enough to have sunny windows and rooms, or mild winter climates where plants can be kept outdoors, there is another alternative. Plants can be grown under artificial light using fluorescent tubes. Don't attempt to use regular bulbs as incandescent light is not the proper light spectrum to maintain plants. For a few plants, use two 40-watt fluorescent tubes, either 24 inches long or 48 inches long, depending on the number of plants. Best is one cool white tube or daylight tube and one warm white tube. This will cover the necessary light spectrum needed for plants. For handling and transplanting smaller plants, thin rubber gloves can be used to protect the fingers. Tongs that have been wrapped with tape or other material to prevent damage to the plant also work well. Larger plants can be handled with a short section of hose wrapped around the plant, or a sling made from a rolled newspaper can be used.
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