How to Keep a Succulent Alive in an Office

how to keep a succulent alive in an office

Can succulents live in office light?

Succulents—not all though—can live with office light. However, there has to be a time when they are exposed to natural light, i.e., sunlight. Green plants need to trap energy from the sun so that they can make their food. So, you can either set them by one of the windows in your office or have the flower pots carried outside intermittently for exposure to the rays of sunlight.

In scenarios where there is no natural light streaming into the office, how then do you keep the succulent alive? what can be done? There’s the option of using grow lights.

Grow lights are special lights that imitate the natural sunlight. These lights contain the full spectrum of light that plants need for their growth and development.

However, before you go ahead to work with grow lights, you have to first consider certain factors. How much are you willing to invest in seeing your succulents grow?

If you aren’t inclined towards digging into your pockets, you could just opt for settling your plant vase in a place with plenty of sunlight. You’ll also need to consider the size of your office.

If it’s a small cubicle, you’ll have to get a grow light that won’t eat all the space.

Grow lights also need to be set at the right intensity, i.e., the intensity that would be just adequate for the growing succulents.

For smaller grow lights, the intensity of lights released may not be enough for the succulents. As a result, you’d have to leave the plants exposed to the rays for much longer.

It is important that you consider if this increase in exposure time will spike your electricity bills.

One last thing to consider is the heat released by these grow lights. The greater the intensity of these lights, the hotter your office tends to become.

The same can be taken into consideration when talking about the length of time the lights are turned on for. The longer the lights are on, the hotter the office feels.

So, if you have a small office with little ventilation, you might want to consider getting a grow light that doesn’t emit too much heat.

What other factors determine the likelihood of survival on the part of your succulents? Check out the following;

  1. Water Drainage

Succulents do not do well with excess water. Their roots are adapted to soils with little or no moisture and so, will end up rotting if immersed in water for too long.

In a scenario where you wet the plants with too much water, sunlight can do a lot of good in extracting that out. By the way, sunlight may not be as efficient as drainage systems integrated into the soil mix.

Drainage systems include organic matter like coconut husks; inorganic matter like crushed granite stones; holes within potting vessels, etc.

  1. The Potting Soil

When doing office planting, you have to ensure that you work with a soil type that drains quickly.

You have to consider how the water contained in the soil cannot naturally evaporate into the air, due to inadequate exposure to sunlight.

You should also consider how succulents cannot have their roots exposed to water for too long. That is why it is recommended that you work with soils that drain quickly.

Coarse sand is the best soil type for succulents. You can then integrate gravel, pumice, and other drainage-enhancing constituents into the soil mix.

  1. Food Production

Succulents may be good with water conservation, but then, they still need plenty sunlight. As green plants, the chlorophyll present in their leaves need to trap energy from the sun so that their food can be produced.

So, if you are planting indoors, you should either set the potting vessel in a place with plenty of sunlight or carry the vessel outside for a while. Then after a while, you take it back in.

  1. The Type of Succulent Plant

Different succulent plants have different requirements. For example, succulents like cacti will develop weak stems if they aren’t allowed enough exposure to sunlight.

For some succulents like Agave and Sedum, inadequate exposure to sunlight could lead to poorly colored foliage and flowers.

However, with succulents like Aloe Vera comes a sharp decline in their need for sunlight. These ones will wilt when exposed to too much sun.

Can succulents grow in an office without windows?

The only limiting factor the lack of windows in an office presents is sunlight. Without any exposure to natural light, succulents may do poorly. But then, this is where the subject of artificial light sources rises. An example of such system is the grow light. It supplies the light spectrum needed by plants for their growth and development. You could also opt to set your vases outside for a while before bringing them in later in the day. This can work since they do not enjoy extensive or long hours of exposure to the sun.

How to keep a succulent alive in an office

Most succulents cannot tolerate the conditions in an office, and that’s linked to the issue of low lighting. Some succulents like sedum require prolonged and intense exposure to sunlight.

Otherwise, they’d develop weak stems. Below is a list of plants (succulents) that can survive in regions with low lighting, i.e., an office.

Aloe Vera

This is one of the commonest succulents and you most probably have sighted one. It has spongy leaves that shoot out of a common receptacle.

Some of the species of the Aloe Vera plant are dwarf while the others are tall. Either way, they do not do well under intense and continuous exposure to sunlight.


If you want this plant to do really well, plant it in a place with filtered and indirect sunlight. They have the outlook of Aloe Vera, but are much smaller with their green leaves having pointed edges.

You’d also find them younger buds growing around them.

Snake plant

This plant works to purify the air of toxic constituents like benzene and formaldehyde. It is as a result of this trait that most people keep the plant at home and in office spaces.

If you want your snake plant to grow beautifully, you have to ensure that it is shielded from the direct rays of sunlight. Indirect light sources work well for it.

Christmas Cacti

This plant doesn’t grow on its own though. It’s an epiphyte that wounds around other plants. So, if you want to plant this in your office, it has to be in a flower bed that already has another plant growing in it.

Another good thing about this plant is that it doesn’t do well under direct sunlight, making it perfect for office conditions.

String of Pearls

This plant has pea-shaped leaves that extrude from thin fleshy stems. They require high maintenance though, and that is because their thin stems make them die quickly if too much water is rained on them.

This succulent also doesn’t do well when exposed directly to sunlight.

To keep your succulent alive in an office space, you have to ensure that it is exposed to a fair amount of natural light.

If that isn’t possible, you can source for grow lights that will aid its growth. You should also consider other factors like drainage and watering techniques.


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