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! 🌵

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 and sometimes harsh conditions.

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

But then NOT all succulents will be having 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 in taking care of succulents in the winter, knowing the types of succulentsyou’re nurturing is a good starting point. Let’s get to it!

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 is 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 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.

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.

Caring for Hardy Succulents in Winter

  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 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.

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). Fertilizer during this time period will lead to soft leaves that are susceptible to rot.

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

Watch out for pests

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


In a nutshell, your succulents plants will not fall on the way side if you’re properly caring for it with the conditions it is presented during the winter. Follow the simple routines we’ve outlined above and rest assured that your succulent will continue growing even in less admirable conditions.

Incorporate the above steps and let us know how your succulents grow during the winter, take pictures too! Thanks for reading our article and happy planting!

WAIT! If you haven’t joined the conversation in the Succulent City Plant Lounge, be sure to do so.

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!

Summer & Winter Succulents: What’s the Difference?

Spring is right around the corner! The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, the bees are busy pollinating and the days are getting longer. A lot of your succulents should be getting ready to wake up, while some are getting ready to slow their growth down as it gets hotter. But why do some of your succulents look great in summer, while others look great in autumn?

During the hottest parts of the year, Echeveria and Lithops get ready to put on a show, while in February your Kalanchoe are growing like crazy. Why is that exactly? Well, it’s because succulents, like all plants, have different growing seasons. (Even spring has it’s own uniqueness too)!

We refer to these as “summer growers” and “winter growers”, and knowing the difference can not only help you to better care for your plants, but it’s advantageous when potting arrangements to get a flower show year round from your succulents!

So what exactly are the summer growers and winter growers, and how should you care for them? Let’s find out!

Succulent plant rainbow
Succulent Plants@tudoparasuculentas

Summer Dormant Succulent Species (Winter Growers)

These are a few popular succulents that love it when the temperatures drop! While no succulent appreciates true winter and lots of snow, these generally start to wake up around September and grow until snowfall, then rest a bit until February and continuing to grow vigorously until May.

  • Aeonium
  • Aloe
  • Anacampseros
  • Cotyledon
  • Crassula
  • Dudleya
  • Gasteria
  • Graptopetalum
  • Haworthia
  • Kalanchoe
  • Pachyveria
  • Sansevieria
  • Sedum
  • Senecio

Popular Winter Growers

Aeonium— “Kiwi”

Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ is an essential winter grower! With striking, vibrant pink and yellow rosette’s, they are easy to grow and multiply quickly during their growing season.

Graptoveria— “Opalina”

‘Opalina’ is a common hybrid between Echeveria ‘colorata’ and Graptopetalum amethystinum. With chunky, opalescent, powdery leaves, they are an easy growing succulent that will reward you with lots of babies when cared for properly.

Sedum Morganianum— “Donkey Tail”

Arguably one of the most popular succulents in the world, these trailing Sedums are essential for everyone’s garden. Almost resembling long, chunky hair, these Sedums will grow fast and long, and are very easy to propagate.

Donkey Tail Succulent Plant @plant.heart.city

Winter Dormant Succulent Species (Summer Growers)

These are just a few of the more popular succulent species that thrive in warmer temperatures, usually going dormant from late October to mid February. It’s important to note that when succulents go “dormant”, that it’s more of a slow growing period than a true dormancy. So while you may see growth year round, the specific growing season of certain species determines how much growth you see as well as blooming periods.

  • Agave
  • Echeveria
  • Euphorbia
  • Lithops
  • Monadenium
  • Pachypodium
  • Stapelianthus

Popular Summer Growers

Echeveria Lola

Lola’s are a gorgeous, easy-to-grow succulent that will give you gorgeous colors year round! With a compact rosette, bright pink tips, and pastel pink on the underside of their leaves, they’re a great addition to anyone’s garden!

Agave Attenuata— “Variegata”

Agave attenuata ‘Variegata’ is a striking addition to anyone’s landscape. This is one of those succulents that you can truly let nature take care of, especially in warmer climates. They shoot out large, towering blooms that more closely resemble an alien planets landscape than a succulent bloom!

Agave Attenuata “Variegata” @twigtrunkandleaf

Euphorbia Trigona

An extremely common Euphorbia, they are very tolerant of extreme sun and temperatures. Take care when repotting/propagating, as the white sap they released when damaged can lead to skin irritation and potentially blindness! It is recommended to repot/propagate with gloves and goggles.

How to Care for Summer & Winter Succulents

So what does this mean in terms of caring for your succulents? Well, it’s fairly simple. Whether you have a winter grower or a summer grower will determine how much you water and when.

For summer growers like Echeveria, they prefer a lot more water during the hotter months, and very scarce amounts during winter. On the contrary, Sedums, an extremely popular succulent and winter grower, will need a lot more water during chillier months, and less when it’s hot out.

Not too hard to care for right? Now here’s where things get interesting. When it comes to succulent arrangements, mixing and matching winter growers and summer growers can result in a year long psychedelic show of colors and blooms, especially when you throw some cacti in the mix! But since summer and winter growers require different watering schedules, how do you keep them together and alive?

Well, it’s important to look at exactly HOW you water your succulents. Do you hose them down, soaking them fully? What about watering around the base of each succulent with a pipette or small watering can? Do you just let nature take care of them?

When it comes to succulent arrangements, whether they have drainage or not, it’s always best to water around the base of each succulent, as compared to soaking the entire arrangement. That way, you’re able to meet the needs of each individual plant more precisely.

Read how you can repot your succulents so that no matter if it’s summer or winter, your succulent can grow healthily and vibrant.

When arranging summer and winter growers in a singular arrangement, it’s often times a lot easier to separate them, giving you the ability to water one side more during summer, and one side more during winter. This will also make it easier to fertilize, as you can simply inoculate one side with nutrients, letting the other side stay relatively unfertilized until it’s time for their growing season.

Growing Succulents in Winterless Climates

So you’ve read through everything so far, but you’re confused because you don’t get winters colder than 45℉. Don’t worry, the same rules still mostly apply! Except you will have to pay closer attention to watering your succulents.

If you live in a place where sometimes January or February can reach 60℉ or more, a lot of your succulents will grow and bloom all year, just slowing down a bit during hotter or colder months.

Often times, master succulent or cactus growers will separate summer and winter growers into greenhouses with differing environments, only keeping them outside during spring and fall! However, if you don’t have access to heaters and coolers and greenhouses, a simple fix can be to bring some summer growers inside during the winter, to be placed in a bright window or under grow lights, so they can still experience a simulated winter!

Conversely, the same can be done for winter growers during the warmer months. Just pay close attention to their lighting needs, as succulents always prefer bright light! Here’s a great and highly rated indoor grow light if you’re growing your succulents in doors.


With all this new information under your belt, it’s time to start planting! Look at what you have, what care you can give, and start planning your succulent garden today! It’s always helpful to figure out what plant hardiness zone you live in, and go from there.

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!

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