We all love our succulents and want them to thrive, but like all plants, succulents don’t grow 24/7. They’ll flower and expand quickly during the growing season, given the right care and attention, but during the off-season, you won’t see much change. To learn how you can keep your succulents happy and healthy during their dormant season, read on:
What is Dormancy?
Dormancy is a period when succulents slow their growth and physical activity. Like the growing season, dormancy may come a few times a year, depending on weather changes. Typically, dormancy occurs when the environment your succulent grows in becomes unfavorable. It will enter a dormant period to save energy and resources, similar to trees in the winter.
Dormant succulents don’t lose their leaves, though. Instead, they grow slowly and require fewer resources to stay alive. Depending on your succulent’s growing season, it will go dormant in either the summer or winter. For example, if its growing season occurs during the summer months, it will have a winter dormancy period.
You’ll be able to tell when your succulent’s dormancy period approaches based on weather changes. Typically, succulents will go dormant when the temperature either rises or drops outside their comfort zone. Then, monitor how your succulent grows. If there are no new growths, or its leaves begin to yellow or droop, your succulent may be entering dormancy.
How do I know my Succulent isn’t Dying?
There are a couple of ways to check if your succulent is dormant and not dying. Dormant succulents typically look dead on the surface but are very much alive underneath. To check if your succulent is dormant, you can first examine its roots. A dormant succulent will have healthy roots, despite its appearance. Another way to check for dormancy is to use the “snap-scratch” test. This simple examination often used on trees works for just about any plant, including succulents. To perform the test, cut a small portion of your succulent’s branches and bend it sharply. If the branch is alive, it won’t bend easily and will appear green and moist on the inside. If your succulent doesn’t have branches, scratch a small portion of the stem instead.
When Will my Succulent “Wake Up?”
Your succulent will wake up as soon as the temperature starts to rise, and winter ends. For some succulents, this may happen as snow begins to melt, or when outside temperatures reach at least 40 degrees. You’ll start to see signs of growth and movement as your succulent begins to wake up from its dormancy, as well as a color change-- its leaves will begin to look much more vibrant than they had during the dormancy period.
Do Indoor Succulents Experience Dormancy?
Outdoor succulents typically experience dormancy more often than indoor succulents since it’s easier to control a room’s temperature indoors. However, if your indoor succulent goes dormant during the winter months, that’s completely normal! Succulents will go dormant if lighting, temperature, or humidity change beyond what they enjoy. Indoor succulents may not experience full dormancy but will still go dormant with temperature changes.
Types of Succulents that go Dormant in the Winter
Most succulents can be categorized into two groups: those that go dormant in the summer and those that go dormant in the winter. Winter dormancy succulents tend to thrive in warmer temperatures and don’t like it when the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter dormancy succulents include:
Even if your succulent is dormant, it still needs care, but its needs during dormancy are a bit different than during the growing season. Always make sure your succulent is fully settled into its pot before entering dormancy, and always repot during the growing season to ensure the best results.
Your succulent will still need light, but not as much as it would during the growing season. To ensure your succulent is getting enough light while it’s dormant, place it somewhere it will receive indirect sunlight for at least three or four hours a day. If you don’t receive a lot of sunlight during the winter, consider using an artificial light specifically for plant growth to mimic the sun.
Even though your succulent is dormant, it will still need some water. If you notice your succulent’s leaves starting to get dry and wrinkle, give it a little water using a watering bottle. To prevent overwatering and potential root rot, make sure your succulent is in well-draining soil. Proper drainage can help reduce the high risk of overwatering when your succulent is dormant.
You won’t need to fertilize your succulent during its dormancy period, especially if you have a regular fertilizing schedule during its growing season. Instead, keep watering your succulent as you would, and slowly increase watering frequency as it begins to wake up. When your succulent is out of its dormant period, you can use fertilizer again.
By far one of the most important things to watch for during your succulent’s dormancy period is the temperature. Winter succulents will go dormant once the outside temperature drops below 40-50 degrees and may die if the temperature drops further. If you have any outdoor succulents sitting in pots, consider bringing them inside for the snowy season since you can regulate your home’s temperature inside.
The dormant period may be a bit nerve-wracking at first, but your succulent will be okay! Make sure to keep giving it the love and care it deserves to ensure it has a good sleep before its next growing season.
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For Types of Succulents Careguide. Read more information here.
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