How to help tender succulents with frostbite

During the winter, tender succulents tend to suffer from frostbite. When this happens, ice crystals form in the succulent tissue, damaging the cells. Frostbite gives the succulent leaves a wilted and crispy appearance, which indicates your succulents are gradually dying.
While a succulent like Euphorbia tirucalli can recover from frostbite devastating effects, tender succulents like Crassulas and kalanchoes may be very difficult to save.
This article will provide helpful tips on protecting your tender succulents from frost and what you can do to revive a frostbitten succulent.

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Winter damaged Succulent

How to Protect Your Succulents from Frost

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Agave xylonacantha Frostbite: IG@ca.garden


To protect your succulents from frostbite during the winter, do the following

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Pest Spray on Succulents: IG@husqvarnaaustralia

Prepare Your Succulent for Indoors

Before taking your succulents indoors, apply insecticide on them for about three weeks. It will ensure that the succulents are free from pests and insects.

Next, get rid of the leaves and weeds. You may want to change the soil if you notice flies clustering around your succulents. Otherwise, the flies will spread to other plants when you move them indoors.

Succulents need adequate ventilation to develop healthy roots, and that is only possible indoors if you plant them in well-draining soil. Also, place your succulents in a pot with a drainage hole and add perlite or pumice.
Another thing to do when preparing to move your succulents indoors is to decrease the water amount gradually. It will help the succulents adapt to the water and temperature changes they need for dormancy during the winter.

Take the Succulents Indoors

Once your succulents are ready for indoor life, take them in and stop watering to allow soil to dry out. You should water the succulents sparingly during the winter, just enough to prevent dehydration.
It is best to keep your home’s temperature level between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit so the succulents do not freeze.
Outdoor succulents tend to thrive because they get an adequate amount of sunlight and water. Consider this when moving your succulents indoors during the winter. If the weather condition is not too severe in your area, you can place your succulents close to a window so they can get about 5 to 7 hours of light. But if you do not get much sunlight, you may want to opt for a growth light for your succulents to prevent discoloration and etiolation.

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Frost Cloth on Succulent: IG@mytinyurbanfarm

Use a Frost Cloth– to help tender succulents with frostbite

Besides taking your succulents indoors, you can use a frost cloth to protect them from frost. If your area’s temperature drops below the freezing point for a few hours in the morning, tender succulents will be mildly affected. If the weather stays the same way for a couple of days, the chance of your succulents recovering from the damage is very slim.
Cover your succulents with a frost cloth if you do not want to take them indoors. This cloth is available in different thicknesses, and thicker it is, the more layer of protection it offers your succulents.
Frost cloth is more effective than blankets or bedsheets for a plethora of reasons. For one, it allows sunlight to penetrate, so your succulents can carry out photosynthesis and grow. Also, while a frost cloth is thick, it still manages to be lightweight, suitable for your plants.
If you properly store the frost fabric when not in use, it will serve you for several years. However, if you leave the frost cloth under direct sunlight for over a year, its protective capacity will deteriorate quickly due to UV exposure.

You can get a frost cloth from online and Hydroponic stores near you.

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Damaged Succulent with Frost

Mulch Heavily– to help tender succulents with frostbite

Like you would wear a sweater on a cold day to insulate your body from the cold air around you, adding a layer of mulch will help insulate the soil and protect your succulents’ roots from frost.
You can use wood chips, leaf mold, or straws to create a layer of mulch. For the mulch layer to be effective, it should have a depth of 3 to 6 inches. Endeavor to leave at least an inch opening around the center of the mulch so that warm air of the soil can flow to the succulent.
Once the weather becomes more tolerable, you should consider removing the mulch layer.

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Glass Couche on Succulent: IG@jenvioletteglass

Cover Succulents with a Cloche

A cloche is a translucent bell-shaped plastic or glass that can be used to keep plants warm during the winter. If you cannot afford to get a cloche, you can improvise. Use a flower pot or a bucket.
The thing about cloches is that they do not allow sunlight and air penetration, so it is not a good idea to leave cover your plants with them all day. You can place a cloche over your succulent just before nightfall and remove it in the morning so that the succulent can take in some sunlight.

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How to Save Tender Succulents with Frostbite

If your succulents suffer from frostbite, you can save them if all their tissues are not damaged. Wait for a week or two to know the extent of the damage. If you notice any new growth at the base, that indicates that the succulent is revivable.
To revive the frostbitten succulent, dip knife in alcohol to disinfect and use to cut off the bad parts. If the blade is not disinfected, bacteria may attack your plant. Remove any soft or brown tissue, and ensure you clean the knife between cuts.
At this stage, resist the urge to water the newly trimmed succulents. Wait until the wounds heal before you resume watering.

Wrapping Up- help tender succulents with frostbite

As they say, “prevention is better than cure.” Instead of trying to save your succulents from frostbite, ensure that such does not happen in the first place. But if your succulents are already frostbitten, all hope is not lost, as you can still revive some of them, as we have shown you in the article.
In addition to the protective measures mentioned above, endeavor to water your succulents in the afternoon during the winter. When the soil is moist, it creates an insulation layer that radiates heat at night.

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