To survive long periods of dryness and heat, succulent plants store water in their stems and leaves. Succulents in cold winter climates require some way of avoiding the water in their cells in freezing. They do so by becoming dormant and allowing their cell sap to lose water. To grow succulents well, you will need to mimic natural conditions and also expose the succulents to raising cold, and then revive them in spring. Succulents from warm winter climates are not built to withstand cold temperatures, and also can undergo physical damage if exposed to coldtemperatures.

Succulent Winter Dormancy

The aim to get cold-hardy succulent plants is to gradually cool them down in fall and gradually heats them up in spring. Examples of crops that respond well to cold exposure are North American natives such as prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) , which rises in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 11; fishhook barrel (Ferocactus wislizenii), that rises in USDA zones 8 through 11; and Parry’s agave (Agave parryi), that rises in USDA zones 9 through 11. European succulents, such as “Black” hens and chicks (Sempervivum “Black”), that rises in USDA zones 3 through 11, also withstand cold.

Overwintering Approaches

In fall, stop fertilizing your succulents and water them often. As colder weather approaches, stop watering nearly entirely, giving the plants only enough water to maintain, maybe once every couple weeks. For container plants, move them into a cool area with temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants will lose water, falling in dimension. Rosette plants, such as hens and girls, will fold their leaves. Cactuses often turn purplish.

Reviving Succulents

As spring approaches, the plants feel the longer day length and rising temperatures and also get ready to grow. Move container plants gradually into warmer regions. They will begin to get greener. Begin more regular watering as the succulent resumes growth. In mild winter climates, dormancy typically extends from November to March. Several cactuses require this dormancy period for forming flower buds and resuming vigorous new development. Begin fertilizing as the new growth begins. For cactuses, use a 5-10-5 fertilizer formulation at one-half the tag’s application speed of 1 1/2 tablespoons worked into the top layer of dirt to get a 6-inch size. For outdoor plants, dig in 3 cups to get a 10-foot-wide bed. Apply fertilizer once a month during the growing season.

Reviving Warm Winter Succulents

Even in mild winter climates, occasional cold fronts come through, lowering temperatures toward icy. Succulent plants native to Africa are mainly cold-sensitive. For instance jade plant (Crassula argentea) rises in the frost-free regions of USDA zones 10 and 11; and aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) rises in USDA zones 9 through 11. Tender new development or the thinnest plant parts are the first to suffer damage, usually looking soft and discolored. To restore damaged crops, use a sharp knife dipped in rubbing alcohol and cut off the broken parts, removing all tissue that appears soft or contains brownish in it. Clean the knife between cuts. Place container plants in a dry area away from direct sun. When the wounds heal, resume usual plant care.

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