Succulents are incredibly popular as houseplants due to their ability to thrive in most indoor conditions. However, to really bring out the best in these colorful plants and help them grow faster, nothing beats an outdoor environment. Outdoor growing conditions provide succulents with more natural light, fresh air, better drainage, and air circulation. Keeping succulents outside helps them maintain their vibrant colors and prevent issues like root rot and fungal diseases.
However, if you live in an area with colder winter temperatures, you'll need to bring your succulents indoors for the season, as most species can't tolerate temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When the weather warms up and winter comes to an end, many succulent owners are eager to move their plants outside for some fresh air and sunshine, but when and how to do this will depend on a few factors, such as your location, the specific succulent species you have, and how you've cared for your plants during the winter months.
Spring weather differs in all climate areas. If you live in an area that experiences harsh winter weather and cooler springtime, it's best to wait until all danger of frost has passed before moving your succulents outside. In early spring, the temperature usually fluctuates, and there is still a risk of snow, frost, and temperature drop, especially at night. Most succulents cannot stand freezing temperatures, and sudden changes in the environment usually are harmful to them.
To avoid these risks, you should not move your plant completely outdoors until late spring or early summer if you live in a cooler climate area (for example, USDA zone 8 and below). Likewise, in warmer climates (USDA zone 9, 10, and 11), you may be able to move your plants outside earlier, when spring comes.
Indoor winter environment
The conditions in which your succulents were kept during the winter months can also affect the time you can move them outside. If they were kept in a warm, bright location with ample sunlight, they may be able to be ready for the outside sooner than if they were kept in a cooler, darker spot. Plants kept in a colder environment also need more time to adjust to the warmer outdoor temperatures.
The types of succulents
Some succulents are more cold-tolerant than others and can handle cooler temperatures, while others are more sensitive and need warmer conditions. For example, Sempervivum and Sedum species are generally more cold-hardy and can tolerate cooler temperatures than Echeveria and Crassula species. If you're not sure about the specific needs of your succulent, do some research or contact us for some advice.
Acclimate the succulents
The keyword for a successful transition from indoors to outdoors is acclimating. Moving succulents from a stable indoor environment to a more variable outdoor environment can be a shock to the plants, causing stress and damage that can impact their growth and overall health. This is why it's important to acclimate your succulents gradually to the outdoor environment.
Acclimating your succulents involves slowly exposing them to the outdoor environment over a period of several weeks and gradually increasing the amount of time they spend outside each day. This process helps your succulents adjust to the changes in light, temperature, wind, humidity, and other environmental factors that can differ between indoor and outdoor environments.
By acclimating your succulents properly, you can help prevent issues like sunburn, dehydration, and stress, which can otherwise harm your plants. A gradual transition also allows your plants to adapt to the outdoor environment and develop stronger root systems, making them more resilient to changes in conditions. You can follow these simple steps:
Begin by exposing your succulents to the outdoor environment for 1-2 hours a day, starting with some filtered direct morning sunlight from an open window. Make sure to place your plants in a shaded or partially shaded location away from direct sun and wind and only let them outdoors during the warmest hours.
Over the course of 1-2 weeks, gradually increase the amount of time your succulents spend outside each day by an hour or two. Watch carefully for signs of stress or damage, such as wilting or discoloration, and adjust the exposure time accordingly.
If your succulents have been living in a low-light indoor environment, gradually increase their exposure to direct sunlight. Start with a few hours of morning and late afternoon sun and gradually expose your plants to more direct light. Provide some shade during the scorching afternoon time.
Protect your succulents from extreme temperatures and weather conditions. If there's a sudden drop in temperature, high winds, or heavy rain, move your plants indoors or to a sheltered location until the conditions improve.
Remember to be patient, take things slowly, and watch for any signs of stress or damage, so you can adjust the exposure time or location if necessary.
- Choose a location with ample sunlight and good drainage for your succulents. It's also important to give your plants enough space to grow.
- If there is a lack of rainfall, you should check the soil moisture of your succulents and water them sparingly. Make sure you let the soil dry out completely between waterings.
- Keep an eye out for pests or other issues that may arise as your succulents adjust to their new environment. You should also protect your succulents from pets and other wildlife.
- It can take some time for your succulents to adjust to their new outdoor environment. Be patient and allow your plants to acclimate gradually and avoid making any sudden changes that can be harmful to your succulents.
- Springtime is the best time for pruning, propagating, and repotting, but you should wait until your succulents have adapted to the new outdoor environment to avoid stressing your plants.