As temperature is starting to drop, you will be wondering if your succulents will be okay. To take good care of your succulents in the winter, we have some useful tips for you. Here is a complete guide of how to winterize your succulents.
Can succulent survive in winter?
The answer is yes. Succulents are often known as drought-tolerant plants but some of them can also tolerate frost. They thrive in cold, snowy weather and the extreme temperature even brings out their gorgeous and vibrant colors. Those are called "Hard Succulents". Some of the most cold-hardy succulents belong to the Sempervivum, Sedum and Euphorbias genus. Most of these can tolerate temperature as low as -20F (Hardiness Zone 5) so you can grow those succulents outside all year round.
Other succulents that are more sensitive to frost are "Soft Succulents". They must be winterize indoors when temperature falls below freezing point.
How to winterize succulents
1. Prepare succulents for indoor living
Before actually putting your succulents indoors, first spray them with a surface insecticide. This prep work should occur at least 3 weeks before their indoor adaptation to make sure your succulents are pest-free. This will prevent insect and pest from spreading to your other indoor houseplants.
Next, remove the debris, weeds, and leaves, then check if there is any sign of infestation. If you see flies start to gather around the succulents, change the soil. Otherwise, they will soon spread to the nearby plants when you move them inside your house.
Make sure your succulent in well-draining soil and a pot with drainage hole. Succulents need good air circulation to maintain heathy roots and since outdoor settings often provide better airflow , a good soil mix is crucial for indoor growing. You can also add pumice or perlite to increase drainage of your potting medium.
Along with these steps, gradually reduce the amount of water for your succulents. Less water and lower temperature will put the plants into dormancy and help them survive the cold winter.
2. Bring the succulents inside
Succulents live indoors
When your succulents live indoors, stop watering them and let the soil dry out. During the winter time, water them sparingly, just enough to keep them from dehydration. Also make sure the temperature is always between 50 – 60 Fahrenheit degrees.
Another thing to consider for indoor adaptation is providing enough light for succulents in winter. If your succulents have been kept outside for a long time, they've gotten used to being exposed to bright light on a regular basis. It's best to mimic their growing conditions inside the house. In hotter zone 9-11, a sunny windowsill can sufficient 6-8 hours of bright light but for regions that don't get much sunlight, consider getting a growth light for succulents.
Especially with non-dormant succulents, fluorescent lighting will help plants grow healthy and unstressed.
When is the right time to bring succulent indoor
As most succulents are used to hot and arid environment, going through freezing weather during winter is especially rough for these plants.
Some succulents, such as Echeveria, Crassula, and Aloe will need frost protection when the temp drops below 45 Fahrenheit degrees. Most of the others can survive when the temp is above 40 Fahrenheit degrees.
Regardless of genus, you should never put your succulents in freezing temperature. The reason is simple, succulents store a lot of water inside their leaves, trunks, and stems and when the temperature freezes, water will expand, bursting through the cells’ membrane. Eventually, the plant will die.
Succulent tray garden
The plants know when winter is coming, by sensing shorter days and lower temperature. However, you can trick your succulent by winterizing them. You can bring the plant indoors, provide it with proper care, before it gets too cold outside.
In short, the best time to bring succulents indoors is when fall comes around. Don’t wait until the actual winter because you need to prevent your plants from sensing the change of weather conditions.
How to care for your succulents in the winter
Winterize your succulent is an important step prior to bringing it inside. as you have removed the “bad stuff from the pot”, changed the soil, watered sparingly, cleaned and changed the pot (if necessary), it is now time to take care of the plant indoors.
In fact, the caring works for putting the succulent inside is more a task of maintenance. However, the level of caring will be different depending on whether the succulent is winter or summer dormant.
If your succulent is summer dormant, it will need water more frequently. Regardless of the dormant type, always water the plant just when the soil is completely dry.
Moreover, as the airflow indoors is not as strong as outdoors, the soil will take a longer time to dry. In case you want to accelerate the drying process, put your succulents near the heating vent.
Another note for caring for succulent in winter is providing enough sunlight. It is ideal to place your succulents near the brightest windows, so they can get indirect yet bright natural light all day. Winter days are shorter, therefore the plants will need at least 6-hour exposure to the indirect sunlight.
Overall, caring for succulents during winter time does not require much work. As you can see, it should always be on the “just enough” level.
For detail guide on how to prepare your succulents for winter, you can watch our video below:
See more about How to Care for your Indoor Succulents
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