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

How to Care for Succulents in the Winter

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
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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!

 

ALSO READ:

7 Cold Hardy Succulents For Northern Climate You Didn’t Know About

7 Cold Hardy Succulents You Need to Know About

Succulents are known for loving sunshine and warm temperatures. So if you live in a cold climate, you probably think you can’t plant succulents in your garden. Well, luckily, you’re wrong! Some succulents can be grown in cold areas of the country, so you won’t have to settle for other plants!

While it is true that lots of succulents come from warm places like rainforests and deserts, some succulents come from colder, mountainous regions. They’ve adapted to handle below-freezing temperatures, severe frosts, and even snow, so they can stand up to any weather you throw at them!

If you live in a cold, dreary climate, you should plant one of these cold-hardy succulents in your garden this winter to brighten things up! Keep reading to see our full list of seven unique cold-hardy succulents that you probably didn’t know about until now!

1. Whale’s Tongue Agave

The Whale’s Tongue succulent is native to northeastern Mexico, a region that gets some pretty severe winter frosts. That’s why it can handle temperatures down to zero degrees and thrive in growing zones seven through eleven. 

This plant isn’t just cold hardy⁠—it’s also absolutely gorgeous! It has wide, blue-gray leaves that are both distinctive and beautiful. Some people say the leaves look like the curved tongues of orcas and other whales, which is how this succulent got the unique name Whale’s Tongue! 

The Whale’s Tongue succulent can grow to be up to four feet tall and wide. So between its distinctive leaves and its tall height, it’s a real statement plant! 

Interested in the Whale’s Tongue? Click here for our in-depth guide on caring for these large beauties!

7 Cold Hardy Succulents You Didn't Know About
Whale’s Tongue Agave @plantsmans_nursery

2. Blue Spruce—Sedum Reflexum 

This sedum got the name Blue Spruce because its leaves resemble pine needles and are a beautiful blue-green color, just like spruce trees. In the winter, though, the blue-green leaves, that they’re known for, flush salmon pink. We love how the blue and pink colors contrast with each other and add visual interest to a mostly dormant winter garden!

Sedum succulents can stand up to frigid winter temperatures. Sedum can survive cold blasts down to negative thirty degrees, which is pretty impressive for a succulent. So if you live in a super chilled area of the country like the Midwest, Blue Spruce succulents are the ones for you! 

If blue is the color for you, here’s 8 Blue Succulents You Need in Your Succulent Garden!

7 Cold Hardy Succulents You Didn't Know About
Blue Spruce @tanne_tante.de

3. Jovibarba Heuffelii

You’ve probably heard of Hens and Chicks succulents, but have you heard of Jovibarba? They’re a small genus of succulents that are native to alpine regions and can withstand temperatures down to negative thirty or even forty degrees. They’re often called the “other Hens and Chicks” because they sprout lots of chicks, both on stolons and around their leaves. Jovibarba succulents also have rosettes that are very similar to Hens and Chicks, so they’re pretty hard to tell apart unless you’re a succulent expert! 

This particular variety of Jovibarba, Jovibarba heuffelii, has beautiful green rosettes that flush red during the winter. They also sprout bright yellow bell-shaped flowers in the warmer months and are a beautiful addition to any garden. They’re a little harder to track down than the more common Hens and Chicks plant, but they’re worth the extra effort!

Check out our guide on How to Grow Hens and Chicks Succulents in this article!

7 Cold Hardy Succulents You Didn't Know About
Jovibarba Heuffelii @dig_if_you_will_the_pics

4. Cooper’s Ice Plant—Delosperma cooperi

Ice plants are succulents that are strong enough to withstand the cold— down to negative twenty degrees. Surprisingly, they didn’t get their name because of their cold hardiness, though! Their name stems from the fact that their leaves seem to glisten. Some people say that their leaves look like they’re covered in frost or ice crystals. Sounds beautiful. 

That’s why ice plants are perfect for your garden! In addition to having beautiful, shimmering leaves, they also produce vibrant blooms throughout the summer that look like daisies. This particular variety, Cooper’s Ice Plant, produces bright pink flowers that stand out. So if you want to plant something in your garden that makes a statement all year round, pick up a few of these ice plants! 

Ready to add an Ice Plant to your succulent garden? Here’s our guide on caring for Ice Plants!

7 Cold Hardy Succulents You Didn't Know About
Cooper’s Ice Plant @trueseptemberlove

5. Bronze Carpet—Sedum Spurium 

This beautiful sedum is called Bronze Carpet because it has shimmering coppery leaves and spreads out quickly, covering up the exposed ground around it. In addition to making excellent groundcover, these plants are also incredibly cold-hardy. They can survive in below-freezing temperatures down to negative thirty degrees because they go partially dormant in the winter. They die back and drop some of their leaves in the winter, but they sprout again in the spring, bringing back their beautiful bronze foliage!

Have you noticed some of your succulents losing their leaves? They may be a monocarpic succulent. Learn more about monocarpic succulents in this article. Click here!

7 Cold Hardy Succulents You Didn't Know About
Bronze Carpet @welcometomyplantcollection

6. Soapweed Yucca

Most yucca plants come from warm, tropical regions, but luckily there are a few cold-hardy varieties that can be planted in temperate climates! This particular variety, the Soapweed Yucca, is cold hardy down to negative thirty-five degrees. 

This plant has thin and pointy bluish-green leaves and looks very similar to agave. It can grow to be three or four feet wide and sprouts impressive white flowers in the warmer months. They’re bell-shaped and grow on a tall flowering stalk that towers above the rest of the plant. You’ll love how this plant looks in your garden all year round, but especially in the summer when it flowers!

Check out these 5 Outdoor Succulents to give your new Soapweed Yucca some friends!

7 Cold Hardy Succulents You Didn't Know About
Soapweed Yucca @dain_carlson

7. Euphorbia Rigida

This Euphorbia isn’t as cold-hardy as some of the other succulents on this list—it can only survive if the temperature is zero or above. But it’s a pretty impressive, beautiful succulent, so it’s worth planting in your garden anyway! It has spiky green leaves that grow off of a stem and sprouts beautiful yellow-green flowers in the spring. It grows upright and can get to be two feet tall, so it’s an attention-grabbing succulent that will become a centerpiece in your garden no matter the season!

For some inspiration on succulent displays, here are the Top 8 Succulent Terrariums of the year!

ALSO READ:

7 Cold Hardy Succulents You Didn't Know About
Euphorbia Rigida  @ugghfhfh2

All of the succulents on this list are both eye-catching and cold hardy, so they’d make great additions to your garden! Which of these succulents are you going to hunt down and plant in your backyard? We want to get our hands on some ice plants. Let us know your favorites in the comments section below!

Since we touched upon succulents that can confidently withstand the cold, it’s only fair we display succulents are that extremely heat resistant! Click here for our article “5 Extremely Heat Tolerant Succulents.” And check out our guide on Overwatered Succulent Remedies too!

Join our succulent community today on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest! And join our exclusive Facebook Group, Succulent City Plant Lounge, to learn all the best succulent tips from succulent experts themselves. See you there!

Happy planting! ?