How To Care For Indoor Succulents During The Winter

The cold season means a change in the way you take care of those babies. Reason? Your succulents’ needs have changed. Sticking to what you’ve been doing all year round will put your plants’ survival in jeopardy. Certainly, you don’t want this. No succulent lover wants their plants getting a hit from the cold.

Keep reading to find out how you can care for your indoor succulents in the winter.

How to Care for Indoor Succulents During the Winter
Potted succulent plant @cosas_de_crasas

What Winter Brings With It

Before delving into the care regimen you’ll need during this season, it’s essential to have at least an idea of why the needs of your succulents change. In other words, how the low temperatures affect the plant itself and the surrounding conditions.

First off, a good deal of indoor succulents have varying growth patterns during this time of the year. That means some of them will be:

  • Actively growing – the needs will remain constant; hence, you can keep on with usual care routine. HaworthiaAloe, and Aeonium are some of the indoor jewels that keep growing in winter.
  • Partly dormant – the plant is still growing but a slower rate. That means you have to reduce necessities like water and fertilizer.
  • Or fully dormant – the plant has completely stopped growing. You may have to withdraw or reduce by a significant amount of the growth requirements. For instance, watering can be only once or twice for the whole winter season and no fertilizing at all.

Secondly, a couple of natural growth requirements become scarce, light being the most prominent one. That calls for additional steps to try and maintain those optimal growth conditions. And the other steps are exactly what we’re going to look at.

Make sure to also check out our similar piece “How to Care for Succulents in the Winter” to see different kinds of tips to taking care of your succulents during the cold weather.

Caring For Your Indoor Succulents In Winter – 5 Simple Steps

Grab yourself the following winter care guideline to keep your indoor succulents beaming with life during this not-so-nice season.

1. Sort out your succulents

If you’ve been raising succulents for some time, you may have a collection of different plant types. And as it is, each one of these is going to have its unique requirements, especially in terms of light and temperatures.

It’s possible to find several succulents with common needs. Use this criterion to group your succulents. This makes it easier for you to give each of the plants a dose, albeit a reduced one, of the elements of life.

Additionally, it helps to avert any mishaps that may doom the existence of your plant – like fertilizing a dormant plant and reducing watering for an actively growing succulent.

By the way, an easy way of grouping your plants will be using the growth patterns. So you put the actively growing ones (the AloesAeonium, and Haworthia) in one group and the rest (that is partly and fully dormant) in another.

This just one way of going about it. Be sure to look at each plant’s needs and see what you can come up with.

2. Identify the brightest spot in your house for the succulents

Naturally, there is much less light indoors, and winter only makes the situation worse. So you should pay attention to the light aspect to keep those babies in good shape – even if some of them aren’t growing.

This will be relatively easy if you’ve made an effort to group your plants as per their requirements – light in this case. Some succulent types like the HaworthiaSenecio, and Crassula can still do fine in low light. So you’ll be on the right to dedicate these to a spot that isn’t that much lit.

For those that require more light, reserve the brightest spot in the house for them. This will most likely be a sunny window. And while at it, be sure to rotate the pots regularly so that the rays hit the plant all around. This prevents both stretching and discoloration.

But sometimes the brightest window might not also cut it in shining enough light on your plants. The number of hours the sun is up can be quite little – less than 3 hours per day.

In such a case, a grow light will be your savior. Grab one ASAP and have your succulents soak up those rays – and keep your interiors beaming with plant life.

But…

Don’t let the lights on throughout the day. Take care of your indoor succulents by providing about 8 hours per day for them to thrive. A full 24 hours of light will interfere with the growth patterns, and hence the health of the plant. Those few hours of darkness every day are also beneficial.

Check out our article “How to Successfully Grow Indoor Succulents” to see our guide to growing the succulents.

How to Care for Indoor Succulents During the Winter
Succulents at a bright spot of the house @j.l.perrone

3. Be vigilant about pests

This would be a regular thing for all seasons. But considering the conditions that come with winter, it’s very important to heighten your lookout. The season brings with it some particularly favorable surroundings for pesky little invaders.

Picture this: as you strive to keep your house warm by utilizing that fireplace, you’re creating just what mealybugs love. So you’re indirectly inviting these pests to take a bite of your babies. Should you then brave the cold to protect your plant from attacks? Of course not. Get to know what to do in a minute.

Another contributing factor to pest infestation is the generally calm nature of the indoors. Pests love this and quickly jump in to draw some juices. The solution here is to instigate an artificial airflow – by blasting fans and opening windows.

But if it turns out that several of your plants are attacked, the standard procedure of curbing these insects applies.

The first step is to separate the affected succulents to control any further spread of these agents of destruction. The next step will depend on the extent of the pest attack. If they’re just a few mealybugs (or any other houseplant pests), dabbing them with a cotton swab dipped into dilute rubbing alcohol is all you need.

For significantly larger attacks, you might have to use a spray bottle. Alternatively, you can use a water jet to wash off the insects. 

Make sure you also go check out “Succulent Leaves Changing Color? Find Out What That Means” to see if your succulents changing colors is a good thing or bad.

4. No fertilizer

That is for winter dormant types. Fertilizer is only useful as long as it’s getting utilized. And when your succulents have put growth on hold, there is every chance that it won’t get used – even if it gets absorbed.

This has the same effect as excessive water – it leads to your plant rotting. Only that the rot here will pick off from the leaves as they become soft due to fertilizer accumulation.

You should fertilize your plants near the end of the summer as they prep to enter dormancy.

5. Cut back, significantly, on watering

Succulents need even less water when the cold season kicks off. Firstly because the plants’ rate of growth is zero. Even in the partially growing ones, growth is significantly slowed down. Consequently, the rate of water intake is also slow.

But most importantly, the soils are taking much longer to dry out. As pointed out above, in the enclosed interiors, air circulation is greatly hampered. As such, the rate at which water evaporates from the potting mix is very slow.

This can be a major problem for your plants if you maintain the same watering routine. In winter, watering every once to twice a month is fine.

Or you can let the top part of the potting mix guide you. As usual, water when it is dry 1-2 inches down.

Don’t miss out on our ebook “The Correct Way to Water Succulents” to see our full guide to watering your succulents during all seasons.

How to Care for Indoor Succulents During the Winter
A succulent growing in a white planter @itsjustmejenp

Thank you for reading with us today! Need some options for picking your succulents for your garden? Be sure to read “Summer & Winter Succulents: What’s the Difference?” for succulent picks hardy enough for winter.

Loved learning about this succulent and now inspired to add more to your collection?! (We don’t blame you) Check out Succulent City’s new line of ebooks covering topics from, “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor and Outdoor” “Different Types of Planters” and many more helpful in-depth ebooks. Head to this link to view our full line of ebooks and get started with our complimentary guide.

Happy Planting! 🌵

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