Succulents and cacti prefer to reside in the “sweet spot” of temperature, just as is the case with sunlight exposure. These hardy plants can suffer irreparable harm from either extreme of the temperature range, so it’s important to monitor their health and adjust the environment as necessary.
Succulents and cacti thrive most effectively in temperatures between 40 and 80 °F. Outside of this range, little temperature swings are tolerated, but swings of five or more can result in permanent harm. Even more intriguing is the fact that temperatures that are on the edge of the bearable range (about 40°F or 80°F) can operate as “stressors,” positively affecting the plant and encouraging the expression of more vivid hues.
Succulents and cacti should ideally be kept above freezing during the winter to prevent frost damage. While more tropical types like euphorbia and lithops demand minimum temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, other cultivars are actually frost hardy and prefer cooler overnight temperatures of 30 to 40 degrees. Searching for “ideal temperature for insert plant name here” on Google is currently the quickest approach to find out what temps are optimal for your plants. Each plant product page will eventually feature our own documentation.
Extreme Cold and Extreme Hot
Succulents and cactus can, you guessed it, freeze when exposed to freezing or below-zero weather! The water that has frozen inside the plant’s cells expands as it thaws, killing the cells by rupturing them. When the plant finally thaws out, the damaged regions will start to decay or scar permanently—a symptom that could take a few days to manifest. To stop the rot from spreading, the best course of action in this circumstance is to remove the afflicted region with a clean razor blade.
It is preferable to relocate your collection under a patio cover or inside of your home while the freezing conditions last in order to prevent damage from frost and freezing temperatures temporarily. A “frost blanket,” which is just a thin piece of fabric designed to protect plants from cold, can also be used to cover your plants. Plants should be taken indoors for the winter or placed in a sunroom or greenhouse with plenty of natural light in regions of the country where cold temperatures last for months at a time (essentially everywhere else save California).
However, heated temperatures can also do harm if they are not controlled, so they are not the only bad guys in this tale. A variety of things can happen to your plants when it becomes too hot (90 degrees Fahrenheit and above), especially when combined with full sun exposure. For example, leaves may shrivel and/or burn, water inside plant cells may steam and explode, and root systems may become fried.
Because soil is not a very good conductor of heat or cold, succulents planted in the ground with developed root systems can withstand high heat and cold more better than those planted in containers. On the other hand, containers easily conduct heat and cold, focusing such extremes on the roots of the plants.
There are always exceptions to the norm, just like there are in everything else in life. Succulents can withstand temperatures well below freezing and temps as high as 100 degrees. Drive about and observe what sorts of succulents your neighbors are successfully cultivating to find out what varieties work best in your specific climate.
Moisture and Extreme Temperatures = Bad News
Extreme heat and dampness are among the most troublesome environmental conditions. You should never put your plants in a situation where they are both hot and damp or cold and wet. Whether in the ground or in containers, plants that are grown in dry soil perform far better than those that are not. The water in the soil might start to steam in exceptionally hot weather, thus “cooking” your plants. Water can obviously freeze in freezing or subfreezing temperatures, harming the root system and producing rot. If you absolutely must water your plants when extremely high temperatures are predicted, try to do so as early as possible, ideally before 7 a.m.
The TLDR (too long, didn’t read) Summary
Average temperatures are much preferable to harsh ones for succulents. Frost damage can occur in cold conditions, whereas scorching and atrophy can occur in hot temperatures. Paying attention to what your plants are saying is the simplest method to make sure they are content. Bring them indoors or wrap them in a frost blanket if they are suffering from frost damage. Move them to a sheltered spot or cover them with shade cloth if they are scorching or wilting.
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.
Can succulents endure temperatures of 40 degrees?
Whether a succulent is a soft or hard succulent determines what temperature it can withstand.
Anything warmer than 32 degrees F will be enjoyable for soft succulents. preferably over 40 degrees.
These plants cannot endure colder than freezing temperatures. Their hefty, thick leaves, which serve as water reservoirs, will freeze and destroy the plant.
Succulents that can withstand the cold can sustain -20 F. The best it can manage is a zone 4 to 5, and let me tell you, that is very impressive.
You must keep in mind that even if they can withstand temperatures below zero, they still like dry soil. That remains constant.
The majority of winters in the contiguous US will not only be dry but also wet and snowy.
Succulents should be brought inside when?
Again, a lot of this depends on where you reside and what you’re growing. You should generally bring your succulents inside before the first frost. In the US, this occurs during the end of September for many people.
Naturally, if you are raising cold-tolerant succulents, they can spend the entire winter outside.
Knowing your local growth zone is crucial. You should at the very least be aware of your region’s typical low temperature. For instance, we were in Zone 5 when I lived in Utah. The majority of my succulents at the time were Zone 9 plants.
All succulents with a Zone rating higher than 5 must spend the winter indoors since they cannot withstand the cold.
Since I currently reside in a Zone 9 region near Phoenix, most of my succulent plants perform well year-round outside. Only a few succulents classified as Zone 10 or 11 will require spending the winter indoors.
Therefore, begin by classifying your succulents. Afterward, ascertain which growth zone you are in. Look how how the two contrast! Plants that are rated higher than where you reside should be brought inside.
You can use this video to decide whether you should bring your succulents indoors for the winter.
When it gets cold, should I bring my succulents inside?
The type of succulent you have will determine how to care for it in the fall and winter. They are, on the whole, a group that is simple to develop. If you provide them some sand, some water, and sunlight, they will repay you with beautiful shapes, cleaner air, and comforting company. But it helps to know how to handle a variety of these delicate guests and make them feel completely at home, whether you’re welcoming them inside over the winter or prolonging their stay as houseplants!
Know Your Succulents
With over 6,000 distinct varieties of succulents in 60 different plant families, it’s critical to understand which particular succulent you are taking care of. Knowing if your succulents are indoor growers or cold hardy succulents is important when talking about winter. The majority are from distant, scorching desert locations, but we do have a few that can withstand our zone 5 temperature. Some varieties of Sedums and Sempervivums, among others, may weather the harsh winters in the Chicago area, but many traditional succulents, such as Aloe Vera, Jade Plants, Panda Plants, and Christmas Cactus, must be kept warm and sheltered indoors.
Bringing Succulents Indoors
Before it gets below freezing, you must bring all of your sensitive, non-cold-hardy succulents indoors. Check for bugs and get rid of any ants, spiders, or other small creatures you find if you’re keeping them in the same pot. Additionally, remove any debris from the soil’s surface, such as dead leaves and twigs. Over the winter, you should offer your succulents a clean place to dwell and keep them away from any rotting objects.
Fall and Winter Maintenance
Succulents typically grow in dry, arid areas. They can store water for a long time thanks to their hefty, luscious leaves. This distinguishing characteristic lends them their distinct beauty, but properly caring for them still necessitates a few skills.
Repotting: You might want to do this if you’re bringing your succulents indoors. They could possibly use some fresh soil or a smaller container that will fit next to your window. Sandy, well-draining soil will help these desert plants flourish. Choose a particular succulent or cactus mix instead of a potting mixture that maintains moisture. Give them a container with lots of drainage holes, and take special care not to hurt their fragile roots when moving them.
Sunlight: Succulents are native to a variety of locations worldwide. Many originated in dry, fully-lit locations, while others developed in the cover of a jungle canopy. Find out whether your plants like direct or indirect sunlight by speaking with the gardening specialists at our garden centers or researching them online. Check on your guests sometimes to make sure they are not becoming sunburned because glass can sometimes enhance the strength of the sunshine. However, if you notice them slanting toward the window, it can indicate that they aren’t getting enough light.
Water: Many overzealous plant enthusiasts drown their succulents here. They are unaware that maintaining their dryness is just as crucial as moistening them. Between waterings, the top inch of the soil should be absolutely dry. When you do water them, give them a drenching similar to a desert downpour before cutting them off until their next need. Keep in mind that you should water the soil and not the leaves, which could decay. If the foliage is mushy, discolored, or squishy, you’re providing them with too many refreshments.
Navigating Winter Dormancy
Succulents spend a portion of the year inactive, like the majority of plants. This is a component of their coping strategy during a tough or dry season. Some plants hibernate over the winter, including your hardy sedums, agave plants, and pincushion cacti. They need considerably less water at this time. Frequently, watering once every two weeks is adequate.
Since many of them are native to the desert, they really hibernate during the hot, dry summers. Popular varieties of summer-dormant succulents include Kalanchoe, Aloe Vera, Snake Plants, Haworthia, and Jade Plants. It follows that the fall and winter are when they genuinely awaken and grow. In other words, they will only require low-normal watering levels. Discovering your plants’ dormancy schedule will help you take better care of them.
Live succulent plants have the beauty of requiring minimal upkeep for the most part. All they want for is soil with good drainage, sporadic moisture, adequate dry spells, and adequate sunlight. These simple conditions must be fulfilled for these gems to not only survive the fall and winter, but even thrive and grow—or, depending on the species, contentedly rest until the following spring!