winter succulents : how to care

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 presetBelow is a guide on how to care for your plants during the winter months.

Unless you are lucky enough to live in a location that does not fall below freezing during the winter, many of the most popular and beautiful succulents will need to be brought indoors for the winter. A greenhouse is ideal, but few gardeners have this luxury. Fortunately, most succulents can easily be over wintered indoors.

Succulents encompass a huge assortment of different plants, some of which have very specific needs. However, the tips outlined below will keep most of the commonly grown succulents alive through the winter.

Succulents often have a habit of becoming stretched out and leggy when kept indoors, resulting in weak and ugly plants by spring time. This can be minimized by taking into consideration three important factors when caring for succulents indoors during the winter: light, water, and temperature.

Light is Critical

The biggest factor in keeping succulents alive over winter is light. Too little light will cause succulents to stretch in an effort to get closer to the light source. Succulents, in general, thrive in full sun. This is difficult to provide indoors, but give them as much direct sunlight as possible. A south facing window is best, but east or west windows will work.

Fluorescent lights can be used, if natural light is insufficient. It is important that the plants be kept within 1 to 2 inches of the bulbs. Fluorescent light becomes practically useless to plants at more than 3 inches from the bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are too hot and give off the wrong spectrum of light for plant growth.

Succulents Need Little Water During the Winter

Succulents are always better off too dry, than too wet. This is especially true during the winter when the plants are receiving less than ideal light and cooler than normal temperatures. Keep your succulents on the dry side during the winter. Water just enough to keep the plants from shriveling. In a cool room, you may only need to water once every 10 to 14 days.

Be especially careful to keep the plant itself dry, especially rosette plants like Echeverias. Water will set in the center of the rosette and rot will quickly turn the plant to mush. Remember, the quickest way to kill a succulent is to keep it wet!

Cool Temperatures are Good

Most succulents do not need to be kept especially warm during the winter. The important thing is to not allow them to freeze. 45°F to 55°F is perfect. Keeping the plants cool will keep them in a semi dormant state. A warm location encourages the plants to grow and with the lower light intensity indoors during the winter, results in leggy plants. 

No Fertilizer Needed

Succulents do not need any fertilizer during the fall and winter. You want to keep the plants alive, not encourage them to grow.

These steps have worked very successful for me in over wintering Echeveria, tender Sedum, Aeonium, Agave, Aloe, Crassula, Graptoveria, Kalanchoe, Faucaria, Senecio, and others.

By keeping the plants bright, dry, and cool, they remain in a semi dormant state all winter, with minimal stretching. Once frost-free weather returns, the succulents can be returned outdoors for a summer of basking in the sun.

Words by Josh Spece. Photograph by Emory Ann Kurysh.

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2 Comments

  1. Great post!
    I love cactus and succulents and infact they are the nicest houseplants in my opinion ☺
    I recently did a post on the ones in my apartment currently… so this post was such a treat to read ☺
    Love from India
    Ankita
    Xoxo
    https://beautyandthebeing.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hello, friends. My name is Emory. I live on the Canadian prairies with my husband, daughter, and animals. Welcome!
    helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

  • Thank you to all those who liked, commented, and sent me messages yesterday. I am overwhelmed by your love. I would like to share one more thing. Since 2013, I have used my blog as a creative outlet and my Instagram account as my diary. I feel it’s a much better platform to reach out to others, and to be more truthful (if we dare). I try to only follow those who don’t always show the ups and highs of their “perfect” lives. While I think that the more popular, beige square, ad-infused, California chic, glam mother accounts are beautiful, I also find them to be depressing and unoriginal. A miscarriage is real. It is nothing to be ashamed of. If you don’t choose to discuss yours, that’s totally fine! I needed to share mine in order to begin my grieving and healing process. I am now a mother to two children. This is something that I did not want to, nor will I ever hide. Yes, our second child came much too early and did not survive, but that does not make his/her life any less worthy. Our baby was alive at one time. Our baby has a soul. Now, our baby has a name and will forever be part of our family. We are a family of four- three on earth and one angel in heaven. So, thanks again all. Sadness. What a difference a year can make. Last holiday season, Remy turned 10 months old. She had just gotten her first two teeth, and on Christmas morning, had learned to crawl. This year, we are mourning the loss of our second child. I suffered a miscarriage this week, and it has left a deep void in our family. This was going to be our Christmas card where we revealed to friends and family our joyous secret. Now, it remains one of our only photos as a family of four. Because of this, I want to share it with the world. Give your children an extra hug and kiss for me tonight. You are so blessed to have them. All my love, Emory.
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