How to Care For Succulents In Winter

Succulents are known to thrive in warmer climates. Caring for Succulents in winter is somewhat challenging. In the winter season biggest challenge you may face is to keep your succulents alive in winter freezing temperatures. Significantly when you are growing succulents outdoors. This is because the extra effort is required to protect your succulent from frost and cold damage.

Cold hardy succulents can stay outside in winter, even in snowy weather. However, soft succulents cannot survive in a freezing climate. When growing such soft succulents, you have to perform arrangements to make them healthy, happy, and vibrant in cold weather.

Succulents care in winter entails more than just protecting them from freezing temperatures. There are many factors to consider to provide them with a high quality of life. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about growing and care for succulents in winter.

succulents in winter

So, how do you care for succulents in the winter? How you care for succulents in winter varies. Depending on the varieties and location of the plants it depends. The majority of succulents varieties dormant in the winter seasons and a few of them actively growing. For indoor succulents, need to maintain proper temperature, watering only the soil dried and adequate bright light. Outdoor soft succulents require to move to indoor spaces to protect from frost and rain. For outdoor cold-hardy succulents should not water and covered with a blanket to protect them from frost.

Identify Succulents Type.

Temperature sensitivity.

First, we have to identify the succulents type. There are thousands of succulents species, and a majority of plants native to semi-desert, desert, or arid high-temperature areas. Though some of the succulents thrive in humid and cold environments that can withstand temperatures below 32°F (0°C). For instance Hen and chicks. Based on their temperature tolerance we can divide these plants into two groups.

  • Cold-resistant (hard succulents): These types of succulents can survive winter.
  • Soft succulents (not resistant to cold/tender succulents): These species do not tolerate low temperatures.
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Actively Growing Cycle & Dormancy.

Another important factor is the active growth cycle. Succulents are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Some succulents actively grow in summer and are inactive (resting/hibernating) in the winter season. Few of the succulents actively grow in the winter season and dormant in summer. Several summers dormant succulents are the Sedum family (eg: jelly bean, Graptosedum California sunset), Haworthia family (eg: zebra succulent), Lithops, Sempervivum. If you are living in a region where there is no significant seasonal effect, you cannot see any hibernation.

The simple method to identify the succulents’ dormancy is by checking the plant growth. In the hibernate periods, succulents stop producing new growth (leaves and buds). If it has new leaves they become brown or yellow and if the succulents have a rosette, it will become narrow. In succulents’ inactive seasons, it won’t take up as much water in the rest of the period. Therefore plants need a less frequent watering schedule.


Do Indoor Succulents Go Dormant?

Indoor succulents receive controlled climate conditions. Therefore there are insignificant temperature fluctuations. Indoor succulents will not go dormant if you provide everything they need to thrive (temperature, light, well-drained soil, water). Once the plants receive favorable growing conditions they will continue to grow.


Succulent Care in Winter.

Winter is the coolest time in the year and lowest temperature and decreased sunlight. These climate conditions are not favorable to soft succulent to thrive. Therefore you have to take several actions to keep succulents alive in winter. No matter if is indoor or outdoor all the plants require basic protection to survive succulents in freezing temperatures.


Care of succulents indoors in the winter?

Generally, it is easier to keep succulents alive in winter, especially when growing them indoor spaces. Since these plants require minimum requirements you have to provide basic requirements during the cold seasons. The following recommendation will help to remain indoor succulents happy, healthy in the cold season.

  • How to water succulents in winter.

In the winter succulents require very little water. With the low temperature and lack of light water evaporation is too low and take longer than usual to dry. Due to that reason, the winter season’s succulent watering requirement is low. That applies only to succulents that hibernate in winter.

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However, as I mentioned earlier, some succulents actively growing in the winter seasons, such varieties require more water than those that are hibernating. Such as the Sedum family, the Haworthia family. However overwatering can kill the plant. Soak and dry methods are not recommended in the winter season.

It is hard to mention how often water succulents in winter. Because it depends on the potting soil dryness. Once the surface and 2 inches deeper soil are completely dry add a couple of tablespoons full of water directly to the surface soil. While watering succulents, do not let water touch the leaves.

You can use a squeezing water bottle or tablespoon to water in the winter season. These methods will prevent your plant from overwatering.

  • The lighting of succulents in winter.

When the winter season arrives, it reduces the daytime hours. As a result of these environmental changes, the natural sunlight availability to plants is reduced. As they require bright light it is essential to move the plant to brighter spaces. Alternatively, you can provide artificial grow lights for succulents during the winter season. It is recommended to use full-spectrum grow lights for succulents in the winter season.

  • Control the temperature.

Succulents do not prefer sudden temperature fluctuations. A sudden temperature drop can kill the plant. The majority of succulents prefer temperature range is 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 26°C). Some succulent tolerate temperatures below 40°F (4°C) or over 90°F (32°C). When the succulent getting stressed, it produces more vibrant colors. Below the 40°F (4°C) temperature is too cold for succulents.

  • Do you fertilize succulents in the winter?

Succulents that are dormant during the winter season do not require fertilizers. However, succulents that grow in winter seasons like the Sedum family, Haworthia family, Lithops, Sempervivum require little fertilizers.


Caring For Succulents Outdoor in Winter.

Generally, hardy-succulents survive a freeze. No matter if it is a soft or cold-hardy succulent, it is essential to take certain precautions when caring for succulents outdoor during the winter. The following recommendation will help to remain succulents happy, healthy.

Cut the watering.

In the winter season, there is plenty of ambient humidity. Therefore it is not necessary to regular water succulents during winter. As I already explained, always water after potting mix dry. You can use a moisture meter or dry stick to check succulent potting soil moisture levels. Before watering, the soil around the root bowl completely dry up, otherwise, it can lead to succulent root rots.

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Move the plant to an indoor bright space.

It is recommended to move your succulents to indoor places. There are several benefits of keeping the plant indoor spaces during winter.

  • Protect succulents from frost.

Not all succulents survive frost. Therefore it is highly recommended to move the plant indoors.

  • Control the moisture.

In an indoor space, you can easily control the moisture. If you place them in an open area, they will expose to rain. Even if you have good drain soil, succulents do not like to keep too much moisture. Exposing succulents at high moisture

Provide shelter.

In the winter season, not all regions frost. If your region does not snow, you have to provide good shelter to prevent succulents get wet. Move them to a temporary greenhouse or indoor area.


Few Questions and Answers.

What temperature is too cold for succulents?

How cold can succulents tolerate, depending on the species?  The majority of the succulents cannot survive under 40°F (4°C), especially soft succulents. Most of the succulents prefer 65°F (18°C) temperature. The average indoor temperature is ideal for succulents plants.

Cold hardy succulents can survive -20°F (-29°C). However, some of the frost-hardy succulents will tolerate extreme temperatures like -30°F (-34.4°C) (Hens and Chicks). Although the majority of the cold-hardy tolerate below -20°F (-28°C).


How often do you water succulents in winter?

Watering succulents in winter depends on plant location and soil dryness. For indoor plants, water your indoor succulent once a month during the winter subject to the surface and around 2 inches of soil dryness. Outdoor succulents always check the surface soil dryness and around 3 inches of soil moisture. If there is no moisture, you can water.

Will succulents survive a freeze?

Cold hardy succulents can easily survive in a freeze. However soft succulents cannot survive in freeze. Therefore you have to take appropriate steps to protect soft succulents from frost.

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