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.
In the winter, should I cover my succulents?
If you have a variety of succulents that can survive the winter outside, you might wish to do so. Your plump outdoor greens still require adequate care, though, otherwise the frost risked damaging them.
Not to mention that your plant’s roots could decay due to the winter’s damp soil. Additionally, if your region gets too much rain during the cold season, the succulents’ cells will swell. Additionally, the plant cell walls may rupture as a result of the frost. As a result, it is crucial to take precautions to safeguard your plant from all of these harmful situations.
Although some varieties of succulents can withstand below-freezing conditions, none of the species prefers frequent watering or excessive humidity throughout the year. Succulents prefer healthy soil that drains well, good airflow, and bright sunlight. Here are some precautions you should take to ensure your in-ground plants are taken care of over the winter.
Build a Greenhouse
The majority of succulents cannot withstand temperatures below 25 F during the winter nights. Bring your succulents into a DIY greenhouse if your area has the same winter temperatures, or if you have a gazebo, cover it with 5mm plastic and move your succulents there. Make sure to securely anchor the plastic, and tape the seams. You can even include a little heater if the temperature falls any lower.
Cover Your Succulents
Cover your outside succulent plants with bed sheets if your region occasionally suffers frost. Row covers and nonwoven fabrics, which are often constructed of spun nylon, are further options. Your plants will be protected when it is 2-4 degrees below freezing if you cover them with such blankets.
Additionally, don’t remove the dried leaves from your plants because they protect them from high temperatures. Move your plants that are sensitive to cold under a tree, deck, or eaves; this will prevent heat from escaping.
What degree of cold is too much for succulents outdoors?
Because they are fickle plants, succulents shouldn’t be kept in temps so low. Succulents cannot survive in cold climates, so if you see the outside temperature lowering, take immediate action to save succulents from freezing.
It is unlikely that succulents will survive in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Succulents are susceptible to freezing and dying at temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees.
When it gets colder than forty degrees Fahrenheit, succulents should be brought inside. Learn how to take care of your succulent in cold weather, why 40 degrees is the point at which it can no longer survive, and what other temperatures are harmful to these plants by reading on.
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.
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.
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.
Can succulents recover after a freeze?
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.
Prepare succulents for indoor living
Spray your succulents with a surface pesticide before bringing them inside. To ensure that your succulents are pest-free, this preparation should take place at least 3 weeks before their indoor adaption. By doing this, you can stop insects and other pests from spreading to your indoor plants.
After clearing the garbage, weeds, and leaves, look for any indications of an infestation. Change the soil if you notice flies gathering around the succulents. When you bring them inside your home, they will quickly spread to the neighboring plants if you don’t.
Make sure your succulent is in a pot with a drainage hole and well-draining soil. Because outdoor environments frequently have greater ventilation, a proper soil mixture is essential for indoor growing of succulents. Succulents need sufficient air circulation to sustain healthy roots. To improve drainage, you can also add pumice or perlite to the potting medium.
In addition to these actions, gradually cut back on the watering of your succulents. The plants will go into dormancy and be able to endure the harsh winter with the help of less water and a lower temperature.
Bring the succulents inside
Stop watering your indoor succulents and allow the soil to dry up. Water them lightly during the winter, just enough to prevent dehydration. Ensure that the temperature is consistently between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Providing enough light for succulents in the winter is another factor to take into account for indoor adaption. If your succulents have been kept outdoors for a while, they may have grown accustomed to regular exposure to intense light. It’s better to replicate their growing environment indoors. A sunny windowsill can provide 6–8 hours of bright light in warm zones 9–11, but in places with little sunlight, you might want to consider obtaining a succulent growth lamp.
Fluorescent lighting will promote healthy, stress-free plant growth, especially for non-dormant succulents.
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.
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.