How To Take Care Of Succulents In The Winter/Succulent City

Winter brings with it specific needs for your succulents. To ensure they survive, you have to tailor your care to these demands. In order to survive the harsh conditions, you need to learn about your succulent.

It could be as simple as that, tailoring your succulent care to the cold environment.

But then NOT all succulents have the same demands during this season—there are different types of succulents so there will be different types of care routines as well.

So, before having a look at the specific practices you need to adhere to on how to take care of succulents in the winter, knowing the types of succulents you’re nurturing is a good starting point. Let’s get to it!

How to care to succulents in the winter
@micro.mundos.pvz

Types of Succulents

For the purpose of this guide, succulents are of 2 types: hard succulents and soft succulents.

  • Hardy Succulents – refers to a group of succulents tolerant to both frost and very low temperatures. They thrive best outdoors.
  • Soft/ Tender Succulents – these are succulents that can’t bare being in contact with frost and extremely low temperatures.

The temperature aspect here brings on a new twist – for both of these types, the value beyond which they cannot survive varies.

And given that different areas have varied (minimum) temperature readings, you need to be sure your place of residence is ideal for that particular succulent.

How to Determine Your Zone

Determining your area is a straightforward process. By doing this you will ensure that you buy or obtain the right succulents that are capable of thriving in your particular zone’s environment.

Simply head over to USDA plant hardiness to find out whether you have winter succulents or more summer succulents. Type in your zip code and you’ll find the zone in which your area falls, denoted by Zone “value”, e.g. Zone 5.

To tell if a succulent is ideal, you’re going to compare the value given above and that of the plant. As a general rule, the value of the plant should be lower than that of the area for outdoor growth all-year-round.

Take Phoenix, Arizona as an example. It is rated at Zone 9. That means that all succulents rated Zone 1-9 can comfortably survive outside during winter. Anything above that will have to be taken inside when the season comes knocking.

How to care for winter succulents
@1amor.suculentas

Caring for Your Succulents in the Winter

As you’ve already seen above, the winter-caring regimen will depend on the type of plant; hardy or soft.

How to take care of succulents in the Winter(hardy)

  1. Be sure to nip off dry leaves – dry leaves are part of a normally developing succulent plant. The plant sheds them and simultaneously grows new ones. But in winter, when the conditions are cold and wet, these dead parts take in huge amounts of moisture which can cause rot and disease to the whole plant. So make sure they are gone as soon as they show up.
  2. Shelter from water – you’re definitely going to reduce your watering frequency during winter. But it’s also important that you stop any other water from coming in contact with your hardy succulent. Usually, snow is a good enough cover, but consider moving your plants under a cover in case it is absent. This way, you avert the rot that comes from prolonged exposure to wetness.
  3. Consider transplanting – this is a step you should take several months prior to winter to ensure roots have adapted and the succulent is well-developed. Instead of leaving them in pots, put your plants into the ground as it offers better conditions. In the event that you come up short on time, move your plants to a location with a few hours of sunlight and free from rain or any other source of water.

Caring for Soft Succulents in Winter

  1. Transfer your succulents indoors – one characteristic of tender succulents is that they don’t survive in frost and extremely low temperatures. Leave them outside to battle these two and you won’t have them a few weeks into the season. Bring them inside where temperatures are fair to them and the frost non-existent. They’ll thank you for that.
  2. Reduce the watering frequency – the soil is drying up slowly because of the winter and the fact that your pots are in-house. If you keep up with the same watering routine, you run the risk of losing your plants to rot. For this reason, your watering should be well spread-out for the soil to dry up completely which allows your soft succulents to thrive.
  3. Ensure maximum light exposure – sunshine is going to be a scarce resource during this time. Also, the fact that your plants are indoors, means there is little exposure to the already reduced sunshine. If you can, place your plants near a window – a sunny one at that – and make sure to rotate the pots so that your plants don’t bend or fade due to light coming from only one side. In the absence of an appropriate window, consider investing in a grow light.
  4. Maintain steady airflow – you need to keep the air moving so as to dry up the potting mix fast, which further averts rot and pest infestation. Just open the windows to let the wind in or make use of fans. You can always combine both for enhanced results.
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Caring for succulents in the winter
@cosas_de_crasas

General Care for All Succulents in Winter

Forget about fertilizer (for now)

Most succulents are at a dormant stage during the winter seasons. With that said, refrain from trying to force-feed any nutrients by applying fertilizers (homemade or store-bought). Fertilizers during this time period will lead to soft leaves that are susceptible to rot.

Note: There are a few varieties of succulents that grow during the winter seasons. Therefore, it is best that you keep applying fertilizer for such plants to grow even during this time.

Watch out for pests

Especially bugs that appear like tiny cotton balls on the underside of the leaves of your succulents. It’s safe to assume you know what pests can do to your precious succulents plants right?

First, remember to keep the affected plant away from the rest to curb or control the spread of the pests like mealybugs or scale insects. Afterward, eliminate them by spraying the plant with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water.

Read how you can safely get rid of mealy bugs or other pests here, we’ve provided an in-depth article for you.

Aim for some light

Winter is a period of time where there is reduced sunlight. With that said, keep in mind that you should try to expose your succulent plants with enough light at least 3 hours per day for continued healthy development.

If you’re living in places where the guaranteed sunlight is less than 3 hours a day, you might want to take a look at getting your succulent a grow light of some sort. This will help you guarantee light for your succulent in order to steadily grow.

 

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In a nutshell, your succulent plants will not fall on the wayside if you’re properly caring for them properly during winter conditions. Follow the simple routines we’ve outlined above and rest assured that your succulent will continue growing even in less than ideal conditions.

Incorporate the above steps and let us know how your succulents grow during the winter, take pictures too! You can share your pictures with us and join the conversation in the Succulent City Plant Lounge.

Be sure to keep an eye on our Succulent City Youtube channel! We are organizing to release some great quality videos to help all succulent parents have plants that thrive. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on new videos.

Did this article help answer your succulents care questions? We sure hope so! We do have resources with more detailed information. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulents lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on Best Lighting Practices for Succulent Growth or even The Correct Way to Water Succulents today!

 

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What’s the Difference: Soft vs Hard Succulents

Did you know that some succulents can survive in extreme, below freezing temperatures? A few species of succulents can even be outside when it’s negative thirty degrees!

Some succulents can withstand cold winter weather, but others just can’t handle it. You may be wondering… why? Succulents have similar characteristics and adaptations, so why can’t they all brave the cold?

The answer is that some succulents have adapted to colder temperatures because they grow in harsh, alpine climates. This group of succulents is called hard or hardy succulents.

Succulents that are native to warmer, arid climates don’t do well in chilly weather. They’re called soft or tender succulents. They can die if you leave them out in the winter, so it’s important to figure out which type of succulent you have so you can prepare it for colder weather!

If you want to learn the complete differences between hard and soft succulents and figure out how to identify and care for your own plants, then keep on reading!

What Makes Succulents Soft?

Soft succulents are much more sensitive to frost than hard succulents because they’ve adapted to warm environments like deserts. So when temperatures drop below freezing, they don’t have the kind of adaptations that they need to deal with the cold.

If you’re worried that your plants will suffer any frostbite during the winter seasons, here’s everything you need to know about taking care of succulents during winter

The water that’s stored in their cells actually starts to freeze when it gets too cold. If your plant stays outside long enough and fully freezes, its leaves will turn brown and get soft and mushy.

Sometimes you can save frozen succulents by pruning the brown, soggy parts, but some succulents sustain such extensive damage that they die. That’s why it’s important to figure out whether or not your outdoor succulent is soft, and bring it in for the winter if it is!

What Makes a Succulent Hardy?

On the other hand, hardy succulents won’t freeze if you leave them out in below-freezing temperatures.

Most hardy succulents will be fine down to negative twenty degrees. A lot of them are from cold, mountainous regions, so they’ve adapted to winter weather much better than soft succulents. They’re tough little plants that can withstand a lot!

We made a list of 7 Cold Hardy Succulents For Northern Climate You Didn’t Know About!

Is Your Succulent Soft or Hard?

Unfortunately, you can’t really tell if a succulent is soft just by looking at it.

Soft succulents all have different appearances. Some have tender rosettes that look like they’d be damaged by frost, but others have spiky, rigid leaves that look like they should be able to withstand it. So if you make assumptions about your succulent’s cold hardiness based on its appearance, you might accidentally kill it!

Instead of going off appearance, you’ll have to do some research to learn which species are soft and which ones are hard. Some of the most common soft succulents are Echeverias, Aeoniums, Crassulas, Haworthias, and Senecios, but those aren’t the only ones. The most common kinds of hardy succulents are Sedums and Sempervivums.

Soft vs hard succulent plants
@succulentsyndrome

What we like to do to figure out if our succulents are soft or hard is to look up which growing zones they do best in. The USDA has a plant hardiness map that divides the country up into different growing zones based on the coldest temperatures they experience during the winter. (It’s quite neat!)

You can enter your zip code on the USDA website to find out which growing zone you live in. Then you can look up your succulents and see which growing zones they’re best suited to.

If there’s a mismatch between your growing zone and the zones your plants prefer, then you’ll know you need to bring them inside for the winter!

If you can’t move your succulents inside try using some type of plant protective covering like this for a temporary solution.

How to Care for Succulents in Winter

If you have soft succulents, the best thing you can do is bring them indoors when it starts to get cold. We like to move our succulents inside in September. That way we know there’s no chance of our succulents getting damaged by the cold!

Here are some cute owl planters we found perfect for the fall season when you bring in your succulents. If you get one of these please share it with us on Succulent Plant Lounge, people would love this!

Sunlight is Key!

Make sure that your outdoor succulents get plenty of light when you move them indoors. They’re used to more sun exposure than they’re likely to get indoors, so put them near the brightest window in your home to keep them healthy.

If you live in those places where the sun shines for less than 4 hours in a day, having a grow light might be your best bet during the winter season. Here’s a list with the best grow lights for succulents.

You should also water them less frequently than you did when they were outside. There’s less airflow inside because there’s no wind, so the soil dries out slower. Many soft succulents also stop growing during the winter and go dormant, which reduces their need for water.

So be careful with the watering can!

Hard vs soft succulent plants
@sexysucculents_

Watering During the Winter

Even though your hardy succulents can handle winter weather much better than your soft ones, there are still a few things you should do for them to keep them healthy through winter.

Succulents in pots are much less insulated from the cold than ones in the ground. If you can, try to transplant your potted succulents into the ground a few months before cold weather hits.

You should also be mindful of how much water your outdoor succulents are getting. If they’re cold and wet, you can run into some problems. Try not to water your succulents too much in the days leading up to a cold snap.

We want to make it easier for you, and that’s why we made a guide telling you “When Should You Really Water Your Succulents

If the winters in your area tend to be cold and rainy rather than cold and snowy, you may want to put your succulents under a covered porch or the overhang of your roof.

Tip: Use this manual air duster to get some of the water off that is sitting like a pool of water. Protect your succulents!

Snow can actually insulate your succulents from the cold without making them too wet, so it’s ok to leave them uncovered during a snowstorm. Succulents that have to deal with cold weather and rain at the same time, though, have a much higher risk of rotting. So if your area gets cold, rainy winters, try to shelter your succulents from the rain as much as you can!


There you have it! That’s the difference between hard and soft succulents. If this post helped you figure out what kind of succulents you have, let us know in the comments below. Happy planting!

Calling all succulents lovers— rookie or veteran! Succulent City has developed a line of 12 ebooks (see here), ranging on topics from indoor & outdoor succulents, essential tools, the best soil to use, and more! We even threw in a complimentary ebook to help get your succulent journey started you just have to insert your email on our front page for this. With our ebooks you’ll be a succulent guru in no time, have fun!

Also, if you didn’t know. We have a Facebook Group where fellow succulent lovers chat with each other and help grow succulent plants together. Think you would like to join the conversation?

 

Caring for Succulents in the Spring/Don’t Miss the Care Tips

What makes succulents plants so interesting during the Spring? This is the season to enjoy all the colors and shapes of many succulents plants, while other plant types try to show-off, succulent plants are the masters at it. (Prove us wrong)!

Blooms will begin to pop-up and with a little help from our great friend, the sun, succulents plants are showcasing their intensity and majestic colors.

Here’s something we could learn from our succulents plants, stress is not always a bad thing. It brings beauty and joy! (At least for succulents plants it does). The reason we’re calling it stress is simple. It is common in the succulents’ world that the exposure to more sunlight, fluctuations in the weather and changes in watering habits encourage great change in our succulents plants.

When they’re exposed to bright and constant light (about 4 – 6 hours per day) all kind of shades starts to appear in the most wonderful way. The light and seasonal changes in climate help bring the best-looking succulents plants to life.

Green succulent plant
@sunshinesucculents.co

Beautiful changes are very prominent succulent plants like the Pachyveria Bluepearl succulent plant. The succulent’s leaves change from silky blue tones to vibrant red tones. Another succulent plant that experiences incredible appearance changes is the Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi, its pinkish and purple tones are so majestic!

It’s truly amazing what succulents can do when exposed to more light, but keep in mind that the majority of succulents such as many echeverias thrive when they’re planted in pots with some protection from direct light. (Which is why a lot of care guides suggest that succulents get indirect sunlight rather than direct).

During the Spring, be conscious of where the sun hits your succulents. Be sure to still be mindful of how and where your succulent is placed. If the light is too harsh, re-position your succulent so that there are no direct hotspots on the precious succulent. (We don’t want our babies to dry out).

Popular Spring Succulents

Delosperma congestum— “Gold Nugget”

It’s easy to understand why this succulent plant gets the nickname Gold Nugget. Its vibrancy and bright yellow flowers are hard to miss. During the winter months, the leaves of the Delosperma Congestum succulent turns more of a maroon color.

Delosperma Congestum Gold Nugget
@druarmistead

Drosanthemum speciosum— “Rosea”

With purple flowers blooming during the springtime, its nickname Rosea couldn’t be any more fitting. Growing low to the ground and quite durable in poor soil mixes, this succulent can survive what most can’t.

Drosanthemum Speciosum Rosea
@thechigardener

Sedum Adolphi— “Firestorm “

This golden sedum speaks for itself. With the bright oranges and yellows it produces as it grows, it’s definitely quite the eye-catcher. Its nickname is even Firestorm! (Talk about a superhero type of nickname).

Sedum Adolphi Firestorm plant
@coastalcacti

Aloe Maculata— “Soap Aloe”

Are you mesmerized yet? Known as the Soap Aloe, this succulent has quite the structure and shape. The bluish-green tints as you get closer to the center of the succulent plant absolutely beautiful! Don’t you agree?

Aloe Maculata Soap Aloe plant
@aloesucculentsveramuch

Gardenia

This is as pure as it gets, just look at the hue in that white pigment! Delicate and soft, the gardenia plant takes a lot of maintenance in order to stay healthy and growing. Be sure you are prepared to get your hands full when taking care of this beautiful plant.

White gardenia succulent plant
@carolynnmanners

Why Caring for Succulents in Spring can be Different

We are in the growing season for most of the succulents species, many are “waking up”, meaning they grow again and start developing new pups, talk about more succulents! Aloes and Echeverias are just some of the spring loving plants.

According to Anne Lowings, a master gardener in Sonoma County at the University of California, to grow really big and showy succulents, apply small doses of a balanced liquid fertilizer to help them. We highly recommend this liquid fertilizer for succulents & cacti by Cute Farms. It’s super gentle on your plant babies & its a monthly use formula. We highly recommend checking it out here.

Also, the weather condition is a big difference, leaving behind the chill breeze, welcoming a loving bright sun and occasional blissful rain, enhance the beauty of each species, wherever they are planted in. Have you seen the 12 minimalist planters we recommended, they’re simple but aesthetically pleasing.

Grow your Succulents to Success

In order for succulent success, search for the needs of each cultivation in order to apply their specific water needs, especially if you plant them between other non-succulents plants. (You can also check out our article on when you should water your succulents, it has more than 2000 shares)!

Be sure to avoid water hogs by planting them in mounts with great soil draining practices. But, before adding the soil, make room where you can place a good layer of rocks for an even better drainage system, then add the soil. If you are looking for soil recommendations. We use this fast-draining + zero root rot succulent soil by Bonsai Jack in our office & we can’t say enough good things about it!

Remember, succulents are drought-tolerant plants, they don’t need as much watering as other garden plant types. With this in mind, use the rule of thumb, which is the easiest way to know when they need water. Soil should be at least two inches deep dry before you water them. When leaves pucker or are losing their gloss it is also an indicator that they are not receiving enough water.

When our beauties are growing in the garden, rainfall is a great blessing for them. This provides soil-enriching minerals and washes away any dirt or dust in their leaves, helping them to absorb nutrients and generate oxygen which allows them to keep growing healthy and strong.

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Hens and chicks succulent plant
@sunshinesucculents.co

Controlling those Pests during Spring

The best thing you can do to help your succulent is to avoid their sitting in water, overwatering our succulents we could cause rot and welcome many pests, like mealybugs. They are tissue sucking insects and hard to see at the beginning. Usually, they lodge deep in the layers of echeverias, sempervivums, and other rosettes shape. (Check out the other ways in why your succulents are dying here).

Besides mealybugs, there are other kinds of pests to keep an eye for, such as snails and aphids. If you notice them, here are some things you can do to get rid of them…

  • Remove snails by hand – Eww gross! It’s okay to be hands-on sometimes. They are nocturnal creatures so wait for the dusk or early morning hours to eliminate the threat while it is active. These creatures leave a slimy trail after them, so that’s an easy way to discover where they are. If you really don’t want to get your hands dirty though, just use a pair of succulent tweezers, make sure they are sterile too! Don’t have a pair of succulent tweezers? This succulent tool kit by Ginsco has them and it’s super affordable. (you can use that scooper for easy soil distribution on your tiny planters too!)
  • Diatomaceous earth – Also known as D.E. (found in gardening supplier stores), mix in with your soil or add some in the top near the stems of your succulents. This contains about 80%-90% silica, which helps kill insects by dehydrating them, but while capturing unwanted material allows liquid to flow through. Take precautions if you are using this product, diatomaceous earth in large amounts can be a health risk for humans. Avoid skin contact. We recommend reading more about this product before using them. If your local gardening store doesn’t have Diatomaceous Earth Powder, we recommend this one by Harris Co. It’s food-grade safe & includes a free powder duster so you don’t have to worry about skin contract. (win-win for everyone!)
  • Organic pesticides – Follow the label instructions and protect the succulents from the sun while you treat them with the pesticide.
  • Insecticidal soap – spray it on affected succulents both stems and leaves, keep using every 3 – 7 days (according to the brand instructions) to eliminate bugs. We have a small outdoor succulent garden at our office & we have used this insect soap by Safer Brand in the past. Sometimes they have a sale on their 2 packs, so we always recommend waiting & stocking up because who doesn’t love a good sale!

That’s it! Not many differences in taking care of succulents in spring as much as you would’ve thought right? It’s fairly simple and similar to how you’d care for succulents from other seasons.

Enjoy the beauty of each succulent species, help them grow healthy and watch how much of a presence they’ll bring to your home this Spring! Also here are 16 more succulent types in case you’re interested.

Also if you are succulent obsessed & are on Facebook, would you mind joining our Facebook Group “Succulent City’s Plant Lounge

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on Best Lighting Practices for Succulent Growth or even The Correct Way to Water Succulents today!

7 Succulent Care Tips

Succulents may not be a real scientific plant family, but they do have a lot of the same characteristics. Succulents are all drought tolerant. They have shallow roots that soak up as much water as possible and swollen leaves that store it for a not-so-rainy day.

Because succulents have these shared traits, you can care for each species in roughly the same way. Succulents require a lot less water than other plants and need lots of sunlight. They all need soil with good drainage, too, and a few other things that we’re going to talk about today.

Here’s our list of seven general succulent care tips that will keep your plant looking nice and healthy!

Keep the soil dry

Succulents, especially cacti, are super sensitive to water. Succulents are resilient little plants that can survive almost anything, but not overwatering. Their roots will rot and they’ll start to attract pests like mealybugs. You’ll have no choice but to toss your beloved succulent in the trash. Unfortunately, we’ve been there.

If you don’t want to make the same mistakes that we did, then make sure you let your succulent’s soil dry out completely in between waterings.Check out this post on how to water your succulents properly, too.

Sloth succulent planter
@botanicalsmh

Use the right soil

Using the right soil can also stop your succulent from rotting. The best soil for succulents will have sand and gritty stones in it like perlite and pumice to promote drainage. Perlite and pumice are porous, which allows water to pass through them easily and helps water drain out of the pot faster.

Commercial succulent and cactus soils have these kinds of ingredients, so they’ll do the trick. But you can also create your own custom soil blend using a few simple ingredients. We like to use three parts of regular potting soil, two parts of a gritty sand like builder’s sand, and one part of either perlite or pumice in our mix.

Still unsure of what soil to use that’s best for your succulent? Be sure to read our in depth guide for succulent soil, it’s helped hundreds of people so far.

Give your plant some air

Something that’s important for succulent health but isn’t often talked about is airflow. Succulents need to have a little room to breathe (I know I do sometimes), so you shouldn’t place them too close together in arrangements if you can help it.

Tight arrangements look great, but may have drainage issues. In order for the soil to dry out properly, enough air has to get to the soil and the roots, and tightly packed arrangements prevent that. If you space them out a little, your plants will have much healthier roots and more room to grow.

Space is good!

Give your succulent plenty of sun

Good ol’ sun rays!

Most succulents come from sunny, warm environments like the desert and the tropics, so they need lots of sunlight to stay healthy. Even succulents like the Snake Plant that can thrive in low light conditions love to get several hours of bright, indirect sunlight every day.

Try to give your succulents between six and eight hours of bright sunlight each day. Your plants will appear more vibrant and healthy if you keep them near one of the sunniest windows in your home, like a south or west facing window.

Giving your succulent babies plenty of sun will also prevent them from getting etiolated. Etiolation happens when a succulent isn’t getting enough sunlight and starts stretching towards the nearest light source, often growing sideways. Etiolated succulents also grow tall very quickly and end up looking quite “stretched out.” It’s definitely something you want to prevent from happening, so put your succulents someplace where they can soak up the sun!

Succulents on top of wooden benches
@lachicabotanica

Don’t let your succulent get too cold

Some succulents, such as Hens and Chicks and Sedums, can survive in freezing temps. But most succulents will actually get brown, mushy leaves if you leave them out in the cold. This is because the water they store in their leaves starts to freeze, which destroys their tissues. Once it happens, this damage is irreversible, so you want to make sure that you bring your outdoor succulent inside when it gets too chilly.

Every succulent has a different range of temperatures it can tolerate, so make sure you do a little research to find out when it’s time to bring your particular succulent inside for the winter.

Use fertilizer

Succulents are known for being slow growers, but fertilizer helps them pick up the pace. It also encourages flowering succulent plants to bloom, so if you want to see your baby flower, pick up some fertilizer.

For most succulents, we recommend using a low balanced, water soluble fertilizer. Balanced fertilizers contain equal amounts of the three main nutrients that your plant needs—nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. You’ll know a fertilizer is balanced if it has three identical numbers on the package, like 8-8-8 or 10-10-10.

“Low balanced” just means that the fertilizer isn’t very concentrated. Succulents need a lot less fertilizer than other plants, and can get burned if you use a fertilizer that’s too strong. That’s why we recommend low balanced fertilizers like 8-8-8 and 10-10-10 blends. Stay away from concentrated fertilizers with high numbers on their packaging, like 20-20-20 blends.

Even though you’re using a low balanced fertilizer, you should still dilute it to half strength to make sure that your plant won’t burn. If you’re using a water soluble fertilizer, you can do this by dissolving half as much fertilizer as the package recommends into the same amount of water. So, if the package tells you to mix one tablespoon of fertilizer into a gallon of water, you should only use half a tablespoon of fertilizer for the whole gallon.

Some people fertilize their succulents weekly, but we like to fertilize ours less often. Once a month is our sweet spot. The best time to fertilize is when your succulent is actively growing, which is usually in the summer, but can vary from species to species.

ALSO READ:

Succulent geometric planter
@unique.glass.florariums

Figure out the species of your succulent

That brings us to our last point! If you can, figure out which types of succulents you own. Not all succulents grow during the same time of year, so figuring out which species you have will help you administer fertilizer at the right time. Each succulent has slightly different light and water requirements, too. Knowing which succulents you have will help you give better overall care to your plant babies.

You can start off by figuring out if your succulent grows better in the summer or winter here.


Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on The Best Soil Recommendations for Your Succulent or even Best Lighting Practices for Succulent Growth today!

We hope that this post has helped you learn all about how to take care of succulent plants! If you need more guidance, check out some of our other posts. Happy planting!

Monocarpic Succulent: What are Monocarpic Succulents?

Seeing your flowering succulents bloom is exciting. Succulents produce bright, beautiful blooms in many colors like red, white, yellow, pink and purple. When you start to see flowers stalks shooting up from your succulent, it’s hard not to smile and wait impatiently for it to bloom!

But sometimes, right after that big beautiful display of flowers, succulents turn black and die. If this has ever happened to you, don’t worry—it’s completely normal. Some succulents are monocarpic, which means they die right after they flower.

There are things you can do to delay your plant’s blooms, but eventually, all monocarpic plants flower and die. Today we’re going to teach you all about this natural phenomenon and give you some tips that will keep your plant baby healthy for as long as possible.

Monocarpic succulent plants flowering
@pinkandplants

Definition of Monocarpic

Like we mentioned above, monocarpic plants are ones that die shortly after flowering or producing fruit. In Greek, “mono” means single and “karpos” means fruit, so it makes sense that plants that only flower or fruit once are called monocarpic. Plants that flower again and again over the course of their life cycle are called polycarpic plants, meaning “many fruits” in Greek.

Monocarpic succulents die because flowering takes up all of the energy that they have. These plants divert all of their resources to producing flowers because they contain seeds that will create brand new plants. Just like most living things, a succulent’s goal is to reproduce, so that’s why the plant devotes so much energy to produce flowers and seeds.

After monocarpic succulents sprout flowers, they can’t sustain themselves anymore because they have no nutrients or energy left over. Sadly, the monocarpic starts to turn black and die.

Many monocarpic succulents, like Hens and Chicks, live several years before they flower, while some succulents like the Century Plant take decades to flower. So don’t worry—you’ll get plenty of time with your succulent plant before it dies.

Types of Monocarpic Succulents

Agave, Sempervivum, and Kalanchoe plants are the three main types of monocarpic succulents. All Sempervivums are monocarpic, but not all varieties of Kalanchoe and Agave plants are. You’ll have to look up which species of succulent you have to determine whether or not it’s monocarpic.

(Comment below if you’d like Succulent City to make a database of monocarpic succulents for you).

Some Aeoniums and varieties of Yucca, like the Joshua Tree, are considered to be monocarpic as well even though they don’t die right after flowering.

I know what you’re thinking… aren’t all monocarpic plants supposed to die right after flowering? How can you call a plant monocarpic if it doesn’t die?!

Well, these plants do die, in a sense. Individual branches on these plants flower one at a time and then die, but it doesn’t kill the whole plant. These plants still have many other branches that continue to grow and thrive.

So, some monocarpic succulents don’t die after all. But is there anything you can do to keep the ones that do, like Hens and Chicks, from dying?

Monocarpic succulents sempervivums
@justgrowsucculents

Can I Stop My Monocarpic Succulents from Dying?

The answer is… maybe.

Some gardeners have been able to stop their monocarpic succulents from dying but the success rate is not as probable as succulent lovers might love to have.

If you take good care of your succulents, a lot of them won’t flower as quickly. Succulents may flower early when they’re under stress due to lack of water or sunlight. They do this in the hopes that their seeds will end up somewhere with better growing conditions. So make sure that you give your plant plenty of bright sunlight and enough water.

You can try to cheat nature and keep your succulent alive even longer by cutting the flower stalk down as soon as you see it. This works best with Kalanchoe plants, which have flower stalks that are easy to cut off, but you can also cut the blooms out of Sempervivums. (Here’s a list of gardening tools that can help you accomplish this).

When Sempervivums start to bloom, the leaves in the center of the rosette close up and the rosette tilts upwards. Eventually, the center of the rosette will grow into a tall plant stem that can get to be a few inches to a foot tall. As soon as you see your Hens and Chicks plant begin to tilt upwards, you need to cut out its central leaves if you hope to save it.

Monocarpic succulent plant succulent city
@st3jewellery

Grab a garden knife and use it to separate the tight, tilted leaves in the center of the rosette from the rest of the leaves. Make sure you remove everything and get a nice clean cut. Watch your Hens and Chicks for new growth in the coming weeks. If you see new offsets forming in the center of the rosette, then the procedure was a success!

We’ve never tried this method, but we can’t imagine that it has a high success rate. Your succulent may try to flower again, so one procedure may not be enough to keep it alive. Cutting out so many leaves will also change the way your plant looks. New offsets will form in the center, which can make your plant look a little wonky. We still think this method is worth trying, though. We’d rather have an imperfectly shaped plant than no plant at all!

If you’d rather sit back and let nature take its course, that’s great too! Enjoy the beautiful blooms that your succulent will produce over the coming weeks, and try to harvest the seeds to grow more plants later. If you take care of the offsets that your plant produced during its lifetime, that bare spot in your garden will be filled in no time!

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We hope that this post has shed some light on this rather confusing topic! If you’ve just discovered that your succulent is monocarpic, or figured out the reason why one of your plants randomly died on you a few years ago, let us know in the comments below. Happy planting!

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 complementary guide. 

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