Yes, it is the answer. Although certain succulents can withstand frost, they are frequently thought of as drought-tolerant plants. They flourish in chilly, snowy conditions, and the extreme cold even brings out their magnificent, vivid colors. They are referred to as “Hard Succulents.” Sempervivum, Sedum, and Euphorbias genera contain some of the most hardy succulents. You may plant such succulents outside all year round because the majority of them can withstand temperatures as low as -20F (Hardiness Zone 5).
“Soft Succulents” are another group of succulents that are more susceptible to frost. When the weather drops below freezing, they must be winterized inside.
THE IMPACT OF TEMPERATURES ON SUCCULENTS
Succulents typically prefer climates with temperatures between 60 and 80 °F. Some people can withstand temperatures as high as 90°F or as low as 40°F. These severe temperatures are occasionally used by gardeners to “stress” their succulents into changing color. Many succulents, especially soft succulents, can often benefit from high temperatures between 80°F and 90°F to keep their beautiful hues. You’ll notice that many hues will start to get more intense when the temps fall (but remain over 40F). The chilly (but not freezing) temperatures over a prolonged period of time intensify these colors. Be mindful that your succulents can suffer from temperatures that are too high or too low. Never recommend a temperature of 40°F or greater than 90°F.
Your succulents may suffer from sunburn in the summer due to the combination of high temperatures and direct sunlight, which can harm both the leaves and the root systems. You should move your succulents to a shaded place during the warmest part of the day or cover them with shade cloth. People who reside in regions with extremely hot climates might think about planting their succulents directly into the ground as opposed to in containers since soil temperatures remain largely stable regardless of fluctuations in the weather. If you want to grow succulents in containers, pick materials like concrete, terracotta, ceramic, or wood that are excellent at protecting plants from rapid temperature changes. Avoid using metal and glass containers.
Keep the temperature above freezing to prevent frost damage to your succulents over the winter. You can do this by covering them with a cloth or bringing them inside. While some tropical species like Euphorbia and Lithops demand temperatures of at least 50-60F, some cold-hardy species, like Sempervivum, can endure frost and love cool temps from 30 to 40F. Check out the Hardiness information on each of our plant product pages, where we provide thorough information on the USDA Hardiness Zone for each plant, to discover precisely whether a certain succulent variety is suitable for the climate in your location.
When it gets cold, should I bring my succulents inside?
Before you even plant your succulent in your yard, this is the easiest way to find out if it will survive the winter in your region. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is referenced on the labels of the majority of plants that are sold in retailers. The label will indicate whether or not the plant will survive the winter depending on the zone you live in. The zones are separated by a difference of 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit in their lowest annual temperature. There is minimal likelihood that it will survive the winter in that area if your zone is lower than the recommended zone on the label.
Tip #2: Bring Them Indoors
Bring your succulent indoors during the winter even if it is in the right climate zone. Even though sudden temperature dips are uncommon, one chilly night is all it takes to harm your plants. They can be kept in your garage if the temperature there doesn’t fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t forget to give them three to four hours of indirect sunshine each day. Checking for insects like mealybugs and aphids is a crucial factor. Spray the leaves with a mixture of 1 part water and 3 parts rubbing alcohol to kill the bugs because you don’t want them inside your house.
Although it’s frequently overlooked, preparing your put for indoor play is crucial as well. Your succulents’ containers are probably a little muddy if they have been playing hard outside. To prevent them from spreading around your home when you transfer things inside, first clear the pot of any dead leaves and other debris. Second, clean off any extra dirt from your pot; you want a clean transition from the inside to the outside! Lastly, look for bugs. Creepy crawlies taking over your house is the last thing you need. You should be well on your way to your indoor succulents thriving after following those three steps.
Tip #3: Reduce Watering in the Late Fall
Winter is the period when succulents go dormant, so watering is even less necessary. So once the weather becomes colder and the days get shorter, stop watering them. Reduce it to once a month, but you should also check the soil’s moisture content first before watering. When the ground is entirely dry, only do it. It only takes a good five minutes to water. To prevent succulents from dying from moist roots, check that the soil has excellent drainage. Sand or organic matter with good drainage should be added to the soil for indoor plants. Mulch shouldn’t be used near the base of outside plants since it can trap moisture.
Before you fully stop watering your succulents, here’s a short tip: identify them! Winter is when most succulents go dormant, however some are winter growers. The plants that don’t go dormant will require more water than the others. Keep an eye on things at least to prevent your freshly indoor succulents from becoming overly dry. (Succulents will dry out more quickly than others if they are close to vents or heaters.
Tip #4: Sunlight
When putting your succulents indoors, sunlight is absolutely crucial! Making sure they receive adequate sunlight in the winter is challenging. To get the most indirect light, place your succulents close to your home’s brightest window. Try to provide succulents with at least 6 hours of sunshine each day for the healthiest results. They’ll begin to slant toward the window if you’re not providing them with adequate sunshine. Simply turn them the other way to straighten them out.
Tip #5: Cover Up Your Succulents
If you are unable to bring the plants inside due to impending cold weather, you can cover them with various forms of protection. Snow covers are beneficial because they provide protection from snow, frost, and strong winds. You can buy them from your neighborhood garden supply store or online. Bushel baskets can be used to cover and safeguard succulents if you have any lying about. Just be cautious not to leave them covered for an extended period of time. The plants require ample sunlight and clean airflow.
These straightforward suggestions can help you keep your succulents happy and healthy throughout the winter. Give your friends and neighbors the information so they can preserve their succulent plants as well!
My succulents are outside, is that okay?
Succulents are drought-tolerant plants because they can retain water in their large, irregularly shaped leaves. Succulents have a broad variety of eye-catching shapes and textures, which provide any landscape aesthetic interest. Can succulents live outside? is an often asked question. The quick response is “yes”! Growing succulents outdoors is an excellent alternative because they do well there and can withstand some neglect. They also do well in sunny areas with warm, dry weather.
Succulents can be grown in the ground, in pots, or hidden in unexpected planting locations. Take the uncertainty out of caring for these wonderful conversation pieces with stunning foliage by reading our suggestions for growing succulents outside.
I have succulents, when should I cover them?
“Frost tender” succulents may experience variable degrees of damage, depending on how long the temperature is below freezing (32 degrees F). A sensitive plant’s cells expand, burst, and transform its leaves to mush when liquid inside them freezes. In a “light frost,” only the tips of the leaves may be harmed (“frost burn”). A “hard frost” is characterized by sustained temperatures below freezing, which can cause entire plants to die. Typically, succulents do not recover from roots.
Ones that are among the most fragile succulents include crassulas, aeoniums, euphorbias, and kalanchoes. Some succulents, in particular, have an inbuilt antifreeze that allows them to endure temperatures considerably below 32 degrees Fahrenheit—in fact, below zero.
Are your outdoor succulents at risk over the winter? Depending on where you reside, Please refer to “Cold Weather Care for Outdoor Succulents, By Region.”
Your area is frost-free (lucky you!) if…
This soft-leaved agave in my garden is the canary in the mineshaft when it comes to cold. Many succulents may survive a brief cold (less than an hour), but Agave attenuata’s leaf tips immediately reveal damage.
Although ugly, this damage rarely results in death. See how each leaf’s healthy green portion is? Cut each leaf to a point using scissors to remove the tissue-paper-like frozen tips. The harm won’t be very evident when you’re finished. Those shorter, clipped leaves will be buried by new growth during the summer. (Note: Such damage is comparable to scorching brought on by excessive sun and heat, which is common of desert conditions, and by wildfire, which, believe it or not, does occur.)
What about a succulent or agave that only suffers damage from frost on the tips of its leaves? Don’t even try trimming them. In a few months, it will shed those oldest leaves nevertheless.
areas with sporadic, light frosts (like Southern California’s interior):
If there is a “frost advisory” for your area, keep an eye on the weather forecast, and before it gets dark, go outdoors and cover your sensitive succulents. After midnight, frost is more common, and temperatures increase colder as dawn approaches. Warm air is lighter than cold air, which travels down hills and gathers in low areas. Succulents in swales are therefore more vulnerable than those on top of berms. You may have heard that Christmas lights slightly increase the temperature. Yes, if they are the traditional variety. LEDs in current use don’t produce heat. You should be concerned about succulents that are exposed to the elements and have nothing over them. I occasionally lean over a succulent and look up. It becomes draped if there aren’t any tree limbs or eaves directly above.
I reside at 1,500 feet in the foothills NE of San Diego (Zone 9b). And yes, after seeing the weather forecast on the late-night news, I have been outside at 11 p.m. in my pajamas and slippers, freezing while I place blankets on delicate plants while my husband holds a flashlight. I may leave the plants covered if several nights of frost are expected; otherwise, I take the sheets off the next morning. I fasten them with clothes pins and rocks to make sure they won’t blow off. AVOID using plastic. The plants are unable to breathe because of it.
In my yard, jades and other delicate succulents are covered in frost cloth. WATCH THE VIDEO
Why cold damages some succulents and not others
The origin of a certain plant type affects it greatly. Most succulents are native to dry, hot areas where they can store water in their leaves to survive drought. The ones that don’t freeze, however, are from dry, cold climates. See my essay, Showy Succulents for Snowy Climates, in the Wall Street Journal. The “hardies” include:
several species and cultivars of sempervivums (hens-and-chicks, above); some cactus, yuccas, and agaves (such as Agave utahensis, A. montana, and A. parryi); and lewisias from the Pacific Northwest.
Where do I put my succulents during the winter?
Making sure succulents receive adequate sunshine indoors, especially during the winter, is one of the most challenging aspects of indoor succulent gardening.
Your succulents should be placed next to the room’s brightest window. The ideal window will receive all-day, brilliant indirect light.
This is crucial because the days are shorter in the winter. To retain their shape inside, succulents require at least 8 hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day.
Your succulents may start to spread out or lean toward the window during the winter months when there are a lot of gray or cloudy days. They aren’t getting enough light, as evidenced by this.
You can rotate your succulents in this situation to help correct any leaning. However, you will need to supplement with a grow light to avoid stretching.
Make sure the lights aren’t on all the time because succulents require darkness at night to complete their normal growth cycle.
At the conclusion of the winter, you can take off the tops and propagate any succulents that do start to stretch out or get tall and lanky. After that, you’ll have an abundance of summertime plants!
This is best done in the spring because most succulents don’t grow as quickly throughout the winter. Check out my post on extending succulents for more information on how to achieve this.
How can you survive the cold with succulents?
Many of the most popular and stunning succulents will need to be taken indoors for the winter unless you are fortunate enough to live in a place where it does not get below freezing. Although a greenhouse is ideal, few gardeners have access to one. Fortunately, it’s simple to overwinter most succulents inside.
There is a vast variety of various plants classified as succulents, some of which have very particular requirements. But the advice provided here will help most widely cultivated succulents survive the winter.
When grown inside, succulents frequently develop a habit of being stretched out and lanky, producing weak and unsightly plants by spring. When care for succulents indoors throughout the winter, light, water, and temperature are three crucial considerations that can help to reduce this.
Light is Critical
Light is the main component in succulent survival during the winter. Succulents will extend if there is insufficient light in an effort to get closer to the source. In general, succulents want full sun. Although it can be challenging to do so inside, expose them to as much direct sunshine as you can. The ideal window is one that faces south, though east or west windows can also be used.
If there is inadequate natural light, fluorescent lights may be employed. It’s crucial to keep the plants between the bulbs and 1 to 2 inches away from them. Over a distance of 3 inches, fluorescent light is practically useless to plants. For plant growth, incandescent lights emit the wrong spectrum of light and becoming too hot.
Succulents Need Little Water During the Winter
It is always preferable for succulents to be too dry than too moist. This is particularly true in the winter, when plants experience less-than-ideal lighting conditions and below-average temperatures. During the winter, keep your succulents on the dry side. Just enough water should be provided to prevent plant shriveling. You might just need to water once every 10 to 14 days in a cold area.
Keep the plant itself dry at all times, especially rosette plants like Echeverias. The plant will swiftly decay and become mush as water will collect in the rosette’s center. Keep in mind that keeping a succulent moist will destroy it quickly!
Cool Temperatures are Good
The majority of succulents do not require extra warmth during the cold. It’s crucial to prevent them from freezing. The ideal temperature range is between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants will remain in a semi-dormant state if kept cool. With the lower light intensity indoors during the winter, a warm environment fosters the growth of the plants, resulting in lanky plants.
No Fertilizer Needed
During the autumn and winter, succulents do not require any fertilizer. Instead of encouraging the plants to develop, you want to maintain them alive.
I’ve had great luck using these methods to overwinter plants like Echeveria, tender Sedum, Aeonium, Agave, Aloe, Crassula, Graptoveria, Kalanchoe, Faucaria, and Senecio.
The plants may endure the winter in a semi-dormant state with little stretching if you keep them sunny, dry, and cool. The succulents can be put back outside for a summer of sunbathing once the weather is no longer frosty.