Fairy lights are not bad for plants if you choose outdoor specific LED lights. These fairy lights will stay cooler, are charged by the sun and will not damage your plant in any way in the short term. Remove the lights after 1-2 months to avoid the light cable strangling the branches or stems of the plant.
The best thing about using solar lights is that they will automatically turn on and only stay on for a few hours. This will give your plant darkness throughout the rest of the night and reduce the effect on their circadian rhythm.
LED solar lights are also quite low in light so they will not shine as brightly as those attached directly to electricity. These are the best option for your trees to reduce any affect of the added light on the plant growth.
Putting fairy lights up for the short term holiday season won’t damage your plants at all. While I have become excited about Christmas this year and put lights up in October my camellia will still be fine.
Can you put fairy lights in trees?
When you put fairy lights in trees it is important to choose the right ones. There are a huge range of outdoor solar lights that are perfect for the festive season to decorate trees outdoors. Wrap strings of LED solar lights around your trees for a beautiful feature.
Fairy lights that are solar and LED, will stay cool and you can buy version that will automatically turn on when the light levels get low and turn off after 2-3 hours. This will give you a great decorative feature at the end of the night but give your tree a rest from the light later in the night.
If you live in an are that gets low light during the festive season and need to plug your fairy lights in there are waterproof options available.
Should you leave fairy lights on trees on all night?
Trees and shrubs will benefit from a period of darkness overnight so it is best to choose fairy lights that automatically turn off. Leaving fairy lights on for a period of 2-3 hours at night but automatically turn off are perfect for outdoor trees and shrubs.
I have recently wrapped my camellia in fairy lights for the festive season. This is the perfect tree for this as it currently has no flowers so the bright lights become the feature. This tree is out the front of my house so can easily be seen by me and anyone walking past.
The tiny solar panel can be placed in a full sun position throughout the summer and will charge throughout the day.
If you live in a cooler area without enough sun to charge solar lights go for cool outdoor LED fairy lights. These will stay cool and can be turned off by you at the end of the night.
Will solar fairy lights damage trees?
Solar fairy lights will not damage trees in the short term. The light will stay cool and will automatically turn off after 3-4 hours. Make sure you take the solar lights off the tree after two months. Check to see that any wires are not wrapped too tightly around tree branches or stems.
The only damage that could occur is rubbing from the cord of the fairy lights on the tree. Wrapping them loosely is the best way to do this. Secure the lights in place with soft plant ties that will stretch as the plant moves and grows.
The best way to cover plants with fairy lights without causing damage
Here are my top tips for decorating plants and trees with fairy light without damaging the trees or the lights.
LED are the perfect choice for outdoor lights to be used in trees or on shrubs. These lights will stay cool to the touch and therefore will not cause any heat or damage to plant leaves.
LED lights can be solar powered or plugged into a power outlet. As long as they are designed for the outdoors, waterproof and plugged into an outdoor power point that is designed to be weather proof they will be fine for your plants.
The best way to safely wrap fairy lights around your plants is to choose solar powered. These can be independently placed in your yard, run completely without being plugged into a power socket and waterproof versions can withstand the weather.
Solar fairy lights are perfect if you live in an area that gets winter sun. This means your festive lights can be powered by the sun, saving you power and they can be set to automatically turn off.
Choose outdoor fairy lights
It is very important when choosing fairy lights for you home to choose ones that are made for the outdoors. Whether they are solar or plugged into power, outdoor fairy lights will be designed to withstand the weather.
Place outdoor fairy lights in your yard when you are ready for the festive season or even use them for weddings or outdoor parties. They can be set up ahead of time and you won’t have to worry if a brief shower comes past.
Check the light heat levels
While outdoor, LED fairy lights are the best choice it can be tempting to dig out some old lights you have had sitting around your garage and put them in your trees.
I would only use old lights in trees if you are certain they can be used for the outdoors and can be plugged in safely. It is also important to test them before wrapping them around trees or shrubs to see if they stay cool.
Outdoor lights are fine if they stay cool but warm lights can disturb your plants growth. Always wrap them around trees with fresh green growth to reduce the risk of damage to the leaves.
Can you leave fairy lights on all night without harming the plant?
Fairy lights can be left on all night without harming the plant although it is best to turn them off if you have this option. Solar lights will generally automatically turn off after 3-4 hours as the energy stored in the battery from the days sun is used up.
Fairy lights that plug into the wall can have timers but it is also easy to flick them off before you go to bed. Try to do this rather than leaving them on all night so you plants get a rest in the dark.
Are fairy lights bad for plants? | Summary
Fairy lights are not bad for plants in the short term. Decorate trees or shrubs with LED fairy lights for the festive season, weddings or parties to add an amazing feature to your yard. Pair these with garden lights to light the path as your guests enjoy your backyard.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.