Updated August 2023.
For those in colder climates, growing succulents outdoor in winter time can sound intimidating. After all they’re known for loving sunlight and not the opposite, however there are still species of succulents that do well in snow weather. Sempervivum, Hardy Sedum and Hardy Opuntia are three of the most cold hardy genus that can survive freezing winter up to -30F. Some other succulents, like Agave or Rosularia also have great cold tolerance.
Sempervivums are cold hardy to - 30 degrees Fahrenheit (Hardiness Zone 4 - Zone 9). Low temperature in the winter may make their rosettes close up a little tighter and their colors darker (some turn deep red) as these are Sempervivums natural defense mechanism against cold weather.
Low temperature in the winter may make their rosettes close up a little tighter and their colors darker.
Sempervivum Red Lion
Sempervivum Red Lion is a perennial easy-to-grow succulent that is perfect in containers. It can live in very cold area therefore it is also a great plant for outdoor gardens in cold weather.
Hardiness Zone: 4a - Zone 6a (-30°F to -5°F).
Sempervivum Mahogany is an evergreen perennial succulent that forms mats of beautiful multicolored rosettes. Sempervivum Mahogany has leafy stems that produce clusters of star-shaped, light pink flowers in summer.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 3b - Zone 11: -35 °F to 40°F.
Sempervivum calcareum, also known as Houseleek, is a succulent perennial plant that can reach 6 inches (15 cm) tall. Sempervivum calcareum forms dense mats by multiplying via short-stalked offsets.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 7b: 5 to 10 °F.
Sempervivum Cobweb- Sempervivum arachnoideum (Cobweb Hens and Chicks) is a small-growing selection of hen and chicks. Their pointy blue-green rosettes are covered with crisscrossing fine white threads that resemble a cobweb.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 5a - 8b: -20 to 20 °F.
Hardy Sedum or Stonecrop Sedum is another resilient species. They sometimes respond to cold weather by dropping their leaves, taking a temporary “death”, but under their dead foliage some new growth is forming. Some Sedums turn brilliant color when temperature drops and still look amazing after the snow.
Some Sedums turn brilliant color when temperature drops and still look amazing after the snow.
Sedum Dasyphyllum Major
Sedum Dasyphyllum Major, also known as Corsican Stonecrop or Blue Tears Sedum, is a quick-to-grow evergreen succulent. Sedum Dasyphyllum Major can withstand light foot traffic, making it an excellent low-water lawn substitute. Hardiness zone: Zone 5a - 6a: -20 to -5 °F.
Sedum Golden Moss
Sedum Golden Moss is an evergreen perennial creeping groundcover that is perfect for rock gardens. It forms a beautiful mat with small star-shaped bright yellow flowers in spring and summer.
Hardiness zone: Zone 3a - zone 9a: -40 to 25 °F.
Dragon's Blood Sedum
Dragon Blood Sedum is an amazing sedum with hot pink flowers that bloom in early to late summer. Its leaves are green in warmer weather, but turn a gorgeous wine red in cool temperature.
Hardiness zone: 3a - 4a: -40 to -25 °F.
8. Cape Blanco Sedum
Sedum Spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco' is an adorable miniature sedum with tiny white silvery rosettes. The rosettes are covered in a waxy coating that prevents moisture loss. In cooler weather, the rosettes can turn plummy pink. \
Hardiness zone:5a to 9b: −20 °F to 30 °F.
Opuntias, widely known as Prickly Pear Cactus, is a genus belong to the cactus family. Mostly grown for the sweet fruit, they are basically the most common succulent that can be found across US. One great thing that you might not know if that Opuntias in general are cold-hardy. Some like Eastern prickly-pear cactus can easily withstand temperature as cold as -22F. When spring comes, its stems will turn brown and shriveled up. Generally, a few weeks are needed for the cactus to bounce back.
Some like Eastern prickly-pear cactus can easily withstand temperature as cold as -22F.
Other cold-hardy succulents
Ice plant Oscularia Deltoides
Native to South Africa, Ocularia Deltoides is a succulent with plump, green leaves and produce purple daisy-like flower in the summer. This succulent can be grown both indoors and outdoors. It requires well-drained soil and moderate watering.
Native to South Africa, Ocularia Deltoides is a succulent with plump, green leaves and produce purple daisy-like flower in the summer.
General Care: This succulent can be grown both indoors and outdoors. They require well-drained soil and moderate watering. Make sure the soil is fully dry before watering again. Pink Ice Plant grown in full sun naturally requires more watering than one grown in partial sun.
Hardiness: It can tolerate temperatures as low as 15-20F. However, constant exposure to frost and below freezing temperatures can be damaging to Ice Plant.
Originate from the semiarid Mexican states of Puebla and Oaxaca, this rosettes succulent can reach 2 feet tall at maturity. It has grayish-green and cream-colored thick leaves. It actively grows during spring and summer then go into dormancy when temperature get cooler.
General care: This plant is sun-loving and prefers an outdoor spot with bright, full sun. It does well in gritty, mineral soils and pots with drainage holes. Over time you'll see new offsets or "pups" sprout up around the base of the mother plant.
Hardiness: Agave Butterfly is a very slow-grower and can tolerate high heat and extended drought. This variety can survive light frost and temperature as low as 22F.
Agave Butterfly actively grows during spring and summer then go into dormancy when temperature get cooler.
Like other succulents, even though these succulents can survive extreme cold weather, their growing area in the garden need good drainage so that they won’t rot from melting snow.
When getting cold-hardy succulents from warmer weather, you need to give them gradual acclimation before planting outdoor in snow weather. These species are two of the most resilient succulents so even if they don’t look so good in the winter, they’ll come back lush and healthy.
Read more about INDOOR & OUTDOOR WINTER CARE GUIDE FOR SUCCULENTS
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