Caring for Succulents in Winter

Last Updated on November 11, 2019 by Kimberly Crawford

Not all succulents are winter-hardy but have you ever wondered how outdoor succulents that are not winter-hardy survive the harsh cold during winter?

How about indoor succulents that are not built up for the cold, how do they survive? In this article, you will get to know some pointers in caring for succulents in winter, and so, let us begin.

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What temperature is too cold for succulents outside?

succulents outside winter

The too cold temperature for succulents differ depending on the family where the succulent comes from. Normally, sunny succulents or those who thrive better when it is hot like the Aloe and Echeveria cannot tolerate temperatures that are below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

More cold-tolerant succulents can tolerate up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit while winter-tolerant succulents can be put inside as soon as the temperature drops to 36-32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can succulents stay outside in winter?

The answer to this is quite complex because we all know that there really are succulent varieties that are made for the cold like the Sedum. But generally speaking, the frost will make the leaves and stems of the succulents expand and potentially burst so if you know that your succulent cannot make it to the cold, don’t risk it.

When should I bring my succulents inside for winter?

succulents indoor winter

The base temperature for bringing in succulents for winter would be from 40 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately -1.1 degrees Celsius) and below. Variants such as Aloe, Echeveria and Crassula may have to be brought inside when the temperature starts dropping from 45 degrees as they are used to hot temperatures.

Note that being exposed to too much frost will lead to the death of succulents because their leaves and stems will burst due to too much water (because succulents store water in their stems and leaves).

Succulents that grow in winter outside

Kalanchoe plant

As we have said, there are winter-hardy succulents that can just stay outdoors during the winter because they can manage negative temperatures. Winter-hardy succulents can tolerate temperatures that are up to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here are some winter-hardy succulents for your information:

  • Kalanchoe
  • Sedum
  • Sempervivums
  • Yucca
  • Agave parryi

These are important variants to know because not all succulent growers would have the time and energy to bring inside succulents every year during winter. At least, you may be able to strategize regarding which succulent to plant outside and which ones will be grown inside.

How to protect succulents from frost?

succulents frost

Freeze damage can be really brutal. Sometimes it will leave your succulents with bursting stems and sometimes it may manifest in terms of burnt leaf tips. Either way, you need to know how to protect succulents from frost.

First, you need to check how dry the soil is. If it is too moist, you will need to put the succulents in a place where there is enough light.

Second, you need to spray insecticide on the plant not only to prevent wilting due to the frost but to also ensure that you can save them after the winter season without fear of aphids and mealybugs niching on the leaves and stems.

Third, cover the succulents with frost cover especially those varieties that are not cold-tolerant. And lastly, water the succulents once every two weeks during the winter for them to survive.

Caring for succulents indoors and outdoors in winter

For this section, let us first take how to care for outdoor succulents during winter. According to Succulents Box, the most important thing to do here is to first spray surface insecticide to the succulent at least three weeks before they will be put indoors for the winter.

After this, you need to check for weed, debris and dead leaves to be removed. If insects and pests are swarming on the leaves or stem, you might need to repot the succulent before taking it indoors to avoid infestation among other succulents.

If all of these have been checked, you may now take the plant inside and gradually reduce the watering intervals. Through this, along with the cold temperature, the succulent will start going dormant for the entire winter.

For indoor succulents, the need for sunlight might be the first thing to consider. For this, you need to put them in the brightest space inside the house. Aside from this, you are required to follow the same procedure as that with the outdoor succulents.

When indoor and outdoor succulents are now all indoors for the winter, you need to ensure that there is good air circulation to lessen the dampness in the room. For succulents that are not winter-hardy nor cold-tolerant, you may need to cover them with frost cover, smooth fabric or bushels. You will still need to water the succulents once in a while during the winter so make sure that the soil has good drainage and that before you water, the soil is completely dry.
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