Although succulents are resistant to extreme conditions, not all of them can survive throughout different season cycles.
If you are living in areas where the four major seasons occur every year, then you might worry about the health of your succulents.
The reason is obvious; succulents are not equal. Some of them are soft. Only a few are hardy.
So, can succulents stay outside in winter? It depends on the type of succulents you are growing. But the best variety that can thrive in winter is the Sempervivums and their cousins the Opuntia. These hardy succulents can stay outside in winter.
The key to a successful succulent garden is understanding the variety you are growing. If your succulents are placed outside all year long, you should probably need to choose the hardy varieties.
If you are a beginner, it is more likely that you don’t know that there are hardy succulents that can thrive in outdoor even in a below freezing point temperature.
It actually happened to me back when I was started growing these plants. I did not even have the idea that there is such variety as the hardy succulents.
Because I never thought that hardy succulents like Sempervivums existed, I usually placed my plants on the window sill. I kept them there until the freezing temperature outside subsided.
I only brought the plants outside in summer when the outdoor temperature is warm enough for them to grow and survive.
But my whole practice as far as growing succulents goes changed when a friend of mine introduced me to the hardy ones.
Of course, I was surprised to know that winter tolerant succulents really exist. Then I tried to buy some and include them in my succulent garden.
Specifically, I bought Sempervivums, Sedums, and Opuntia. What I found was that these succulents are really versatile. In fact, they are not only tolerant of winter but also warm climate like summer.
You can plant these succulents directly in the ground or plant them in your preferred pots. Whichever strategy you choose; these plants will surely grow well.
Sempervivums are beautiful and sturdy rosettes succulents. Other than that, these succulents come in different colors such as pinks, reds and purples, green, yellow, and blues.
The hardy Opuntia is my favorite. What I like this succulent is that it produces stunning flowers during the spring. It’s full of surprising features. But at first look, it looks like any other succulents.
If you are living in areas where four different seasons happen every year, you better look for hardy succulents similar to what I mentioned above.
This will help your garden a lot. And most importantly, you’ll be at peace regardless of the seasons.
Nothing can be more rewarding than seeing your plants thrive well even in winter. This only happens when you choose the right succulents.
Some succulents will not be able to stay outside in winter. Some examples of succulents in this category are the Echeverias, Aeoniums, Haworthias, and some Aloes.
These plants are soft. They can’t stand against below-freezing temperatures. If you have these plants in your outdoor garden, better transfer them indoor.
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Types of Succulents that Can Stay Outside in Winter
There are only a few varieties of succulents that can thrive outside in winter.
Sempervivums are also known as Hens and Chicks. These succulents are known to be one of the toughest succulents that can withstand cold and summer temperatures.
To achieve maximum sturdiness, that is to make this plant more tolerant of extreme environmental conditions, plant them in the ground.
This is because when planted in the ground, succulents can access more nutrients and materials necessary for healthy growth.
Stonecrop Sedums are another great succulent that can stay outside in winter. The best thing about this succulent variety is that it grows quickly spreading like a fire.
Like Stonecrop Sedums, Rosularia also a great ground covers. It is versatile and sturdy enough to withstand freezing temperature and heat.
Succulents that cover the ground are also tolerant of heat and therefore can survive the high-temperature climate.
This is because, unlike the container or pot, the natural ground retains the coolness in the soil keeping the succulents safe from sunburn.
But if you have baby succulents or the newly planted succulents, make sure to provide them shade.
This is because baby succulents don’t have well-established roots to keep them alive when exposed to direct sunlight.
So the key to making them grow healthily is to protect them from heat or extreme cold weather.
Once baby succulents have rooted well, they can be sturdier and therefore be able to stay outside in winter or summer.
Although some succulents are hardy enough to withstand cold or heat, you still need to check them occasionally.
During summer for instance, when succulents are more active, you might want to increase water amount and watering frequency.
This way you’re helping the plants to successfully grow.
How Winter Affects Succulents and What You Can Do to Save Them?
Winter, like other seasons, can pose serious issues in succulents. This usually happens when you have planted the wrong variety in your outdoor garden.
During winter, the soft succulents are the most affected ones. The most common problem is rotting. It starts with black spots which later on softens the plants.
In this section of the post, we will talk about how you can help your succulents survive in winter and remain healthy and blooming.
Here are the things that we will be discussing:
- Making succulents safe outside in winter
- Transplanting hardy succulents
- Removing all the dried leaves
- Protecting hardy succulents from overwatering
- Protect soft succulents from overwatering
Making Succulents Safe Outside in Winter
The best way to keep succulents safe during winter outside is to plant the hardy succulents. So the main job for succulent growers is to figure out what succulents you are growing.
It is very important to remember that there are two types of succulents. Generally, succulents can be grouped into soft and hardy.
Hardy succulents are the type of succulents that can tolerate frost and can thrive in the below-freezing temperature environment. They are not only great in winter but also better when remained outdoor.
Hardy succulents are resilient to high temperatures too. Unlike the soft ones, hardy succulents actually love summer or hotter days. This is the main reason why they are healthier when left outside.
Soft succulents, on the other hand, as you’ve guessed, are more vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
They love sun exposure but not freezing temperature especially during winter. They are better off indoors than outdoors.
This means that if you have a soft succulent in your outdoor garden, you have to transfer them inside before winter strikes.
Failure to do so will detriment the plants.
Although generally, succulents do not actively grow during winter. However, now all succulents are equal.
So in terms of winter dormancy, there are three main classifications of succulents: winter growing, semi-dormant, and totally dormant.
This means that some succulents are active during winter. Although most of them are partially dormant.
Dormant succulents in winter do not need much water and fertilizer. During cold seasons, the watering frequency is low.
Because succulents are not actively growing, they don’t need water. Only water the plants if the soil is dry. This happens once every two weeks or so.
It is very important not to overwater the succulents during winter. To avoid this, always check the moisture of the soil before watering.
Transplant Hardy Succulents
Although hardy succulents are frost tolerant, they can be stronger when planted in the ground than in the pot.
If you want to make sure that your hardy succulents will surely survive in winter, it is better to transplant them in the ground.
This is because, when in the ground, succulents can establish stronger roots than in pots. This is only possible if you still have time before winter.
But if there’s not enough time, you should find ways to keep your succulents safe. The best way is to move them in areas with accessible morning sun.
In addition, provide them with protection from heavy rainfall. Keep them safe from harmful elements too.
Remove All the Dried Leaves
Like other plants, succulents do change leaves. New leaves sprout just over the old ones. But during winter, those dried leaves can cause rotting. The dead leaves absorb water which later on detriment the whole plant.
To make succulents stay healthy during winter, take all the dried or dead leaves out of the succulents. Not only this makes your plants cleaner but also makes them even more beautiful.
Protect Hardy Succulents from Overwatering
You might already know that during winter most succulents are not actively growing. So they need less water and fertilizer.
As a result, you don’t give them too much water or no water at all. However, the water may come from different sources.
During winter, the water dripping from trees and roofs could potentially flood over your plants.
The best thing you can do to avoid this problem is to place the pots in safer outdoor areas. If you can, place all the hardy succulents on a platform or something that elevates them from the ground.
Or, you can provide a roof over the plants to keep them safe from the dripping water from all sources.
I had caught in the same situation before. Almost half of my succulents died without me noticing the catastrophe.
Constant monitoring of your plants will help a lot.
Protect Soft Succulents from Overwatering
As mentioned, during winter, there can be many sources of water that could potentially overwater succulents. If you are growing the soft succulents, you must be careful of this.
Because soft succulents are more vulnerable, you need to eliminate all the possible threats to their growth.
The best way to protect them is by transferring them indoors. This is the best way I did for my succulents too.
The good thing about having succulents indoors is that you can easily monitor them and tend to their needs while inside.
Yes, that is right. Succulents have several needs. This includes light, soil, water, and airflow.
One of the challenges that you may encounter when growing indoor succulents is finding the light source for the plants.
This happens especially during winter when the light is limited. One of the solutions though is to place the succulents in the window sill.
This way they can catch the light every morning. But if the rooms in your house have no access to sunlight, you can use the grow light (click here to check it on Amazon).
Grow lights are designed to provide light for indoor plants. Although these are just artificial light source, it is a great alternative for succulents which demand light in their environment.
Succulents need good ventilation. That said, you must give them enough air source. The best thing to do this is by having fans before them. Or, if it is okay, open the windows or doors to allow the air flows from outside.
One of the critical parts of growing any type of succulents is the soil they are planted in. Succulents don’t like compact soil that retains too much water and moisture.
The best soil for succulents is the one that drains fast. I strongly recommend using the soil mix for succulents and cacti (check this soil on Amazon). You can order them online or from the nearby garden supplies.
Do not compromise the health of your plants by using inappropriate or low-quality soil. Always go for the best.
Of course, succulents do need water. But you must give them enough especially during winter. This is because, during this season, the soil takes longer to dry.
Secondly, the succulents are mostly dormant during winter. So it is very important that you reduce the watering frequency during the cold season.
Do succulents survive without water? The answer is no. Succulents are like any plants that need water to grow and thrive. Eliminating water from the equation will surely not help the plants.
Can succulents thrive without light? No. Succulents do need light to maintain healthy growth. Light triggers photosynthesis. Without it, any plants would die.