Since most succulents are accustomed to hot, arid environments, they are particularly hard hit by winter’s frigid temperatures.
Some succulents, like Aloe, Echeveria, and Crassula, require frost protection when the temperature falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The majority of the other species can endure temperatures higher than 40 °F.
No matter the genus, you should never leave your succulents in a freezer. The explanation is straightforward: because succulents hold a lot of water in their leaves, stems, and trunks, when the temperature drops below freezing, the water expands and bursts through the cell membrane. The plant will eventually expire.
The plants can sense fewer days and lower temperatures, which indicate the impending winter. However, by winterizing them, you can deceive your succulent. Before it becomes too cold outside, you can bring the plant inside and give it regular care.
Simply said, the fall is the ideal season to bring succulents inside. You need to keep your plants from detecting the shift in weather conditions, therefore don’t wait until the actual winter.
How cold should it be for succulents?
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.
How long do succulent plants survive in the cold?
Some succulents won’t even tolerate more than a couple of nights with a frost, as I’ve already explained. Not all succulents can withstand freezing conditions. This “tender” or “soft” group includes the majority of the more widespread succulent cultivars that you have probably heard of or seen.
You won’t be able to keep succulents outside through a winter with snow and ice, including Echeverias, Aeoniums, Haworthias, and the majority of Aloe species.
You can cover them with a frost cloth or other blanket if the freezing temperatures are only expected to last one or two nights, but this is not a long-term fix.
To find out what succulents are suitable for you outside, look up what growing zone you are in. Find out which succulents you have and what temperatures they are rated for after determining your growing zone.
Do succulents survive the cold outside?
There are many succulents that can endure the winter outside, even in extremely cold locations. These
Succulents that are hardy thrive in chilly, snowy winters. Sempervivum heuffelii, which maintains vivid colors for Winter Interest, is one of our favorites. The frost-hardy Sedum cultivars are especially recommended since they create excellent ground covers in practically all regions.
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!
I have succulents, when should I bring them inside?
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.
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.
Do succulents recover from freezing?
Can a frozen plant still be saved? This truly depends on the kind of plant and how long it was exposed to the cold. On all save the most tropical plants, light freezes are typically something that a plant can recover from.
Remove damaged plant material from woody plants in the spring. In the late winter, you can detect which stems are dead by scratching the bark. The tissue is still alive if the substance is green below. They will lose their leaves as a result of the freezing, but they normally re-leaf in the spring. After all threat of frost has passed, maintain the plants’ moisture and apply a mild fertilizer.
More delicate plants won’t be able to endure the freezing damage and will turn into annuals. Perennial plants that have been frozen-damaged may only have little root damage, in which case you can divide the plant and replant the pieces. The ones that recovered from the root area’s cold did not deal a fatal blow.
Do my succulents belong outside?
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.
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.