You may love stunningly beautiful rose succulents and low-maintenance ground covering succulents because of their aesthetic appeal and neglect-resistant nature. However, not all succulents are alike. While shade-loving succulents often find their way indoors, some find their sweet spot outdoors.
Most varieties of succulents are said to be neglect-resistant and sensitive to overwatering and overexposure to direct sunlight. They may be easy to grow, but you have to ensure that you give them what they need. Otherwise, they might etiolate, suffer from sunburn, rot, get infested with pests, or die. Aside from that, different succulent varieties have different needs, so you need to identify the unique conditions of your chosen succulent. This is key to their survival.
If you live in areas where sunlight is scarce and cold weather is the default climate, yet you still have that nagging desire to grow succulents, you might want to consider raising cold hardy succulents instead.
What Are Cold Hardy Succulents
When you talk about cold hardy succulents, it refers to the cold temperature-tolerant succulent plants that grow in areas with freezing and below freezing temperatures. Just like their soft, succulent counterparts, they also store water in their leaves and stems. This is the reason why they need less watering compared to traditional flowers and plants.
Surprisingly, there are cold hardy succulents that thrive even in areas with below 0°F temperature. These succulents are known to grow in USDA zones of 4 to 5 hardiness. In addition, some succulents flourish even though they live through winters with -29 Celsius temperature.
Benefits of Cold Hardy Succulents
Remove Toxins From the Air
There are many benefits to growing succulents. Generally, succulents remove toxins from your breathing air. Haworthia succulents are grown indoors, so they add aesthetic appeal to your home. But that’s not all there is to succulents.
Tolerant to Frost
The cold hardy varieties are named such for a good reason – they are extremely tolerant of harsh environmental conditions. The fact that they grow even in areas with cold temperatures is also another benefit. This means that you can leave them outdoors and not worry whether they survive or not. For as long as you give them enough sunlight and you water them sparingly, they will survive.
These plants are also drought and neglect-resistant, so even if you don’t have time to take care of them, they will survive. This is ideal for homeowners in plant growers who could not be hands-on in taking care of their plants. They don’t have to maintain and cultivate them now and then. As long as you provide these plants with the right environment and growth conditions, they will surely grow.
How Do Cold Hardy Succulents Work
Some hardy succulent plants need a lot of light, so you must grow them outdoors to expose them to partial sun. Make sure that they’re under the shade where the temperature does not go above 85°F. However, if you want to grow them indoors, you need to keep them in an area to access enough light. Ideally, place them next to a sunny window sill.
Like other succulent varieties, hard and cold varieties also grow best in gritty, well-draining soil. So, ensure that you use a succulent or cactus potting mix to ensure excess water doesn’t get absorbed by the soil.
If you want the roots of your cold and the hardy succulent plants to develop healthily, you need to soak them in water and then let them fully dry. Take note that young succulent plants will need more watering to establish their roots. However, all hardy succulents prefer less watering during winter. If you plant them in the container, make sure you use a pot with a drainage hole.
Most hardy succulents can tolerate deep freezing temperature that’s down to -20°F. Some succulents, especially those belonging to zone 4 hardiness, can tolerate up to -30°F temperature. Thus, snow can protect your hardy succulents from too much winter exposure. However, if you’re growing cold hardy succulents in snow-free regions, you need to place your potted succulents under shelter and cover them to prevent water from dropping their roots.
There’s no need to propagate these varieties. However, there are specific instructions regarding transplanting and multiplying every succulent type.
Pros and Cons of Cold Hardy Succulents
- Since they are neglect and drought-resistant plants, you don’t have to look after them all the time to ensure that they grow properly.
- They need the right growing conditions to grow and thrive.
- You can grow them indoors or outdoors.
- If you fail to provide them with their physical needs, they would either etiolate, dry up, rot, or die.
- Sometimes succulent varieties are hard to figure out because some varieties are not listed. And because they’re not listed, there are scarce resources about them. You won’t know if they need direct sunlight or if they want to be under the shade. You only find out that you missed on the essentials when they get sick or die.
- They are too sensitive to overwatering. If you don’t water them accordingly, they might also die.
Types of Cold Hardy Succulents
Queen Victoria Agave
The hardness level of this plant is 12°F. They like to be under the full sun, and they also enjoy reflected heat. What’s good about this plan is that it is extremely drought-resistant. You only need to irrigate them monthly and use well-draining soil when repotting them. When they are watered sparingly, they develop a tighter form. Remember to avoid watering them in the winter.
Texas Red Yucca
This plant is scientifically known as Hesperaloe parviflora. It’s one of the extremely drought-resistant plants out there. This is beloved by hummingbirds because of their blooming reddish-pink flowers and tall spikes.
Hens and Chicks
This plant is scientifically known as sempervivum. They are winter hardy in zones 3 to 8. They may look like succulents, but in reality, these plants belong to the stonecrop family. They are well-loved and preferred by gardeners because they grow despite the poor environmental conditions. They can also survive the harsh winter climates too. Because of their resilient nature, they are often used as landscape or garden plants.
This plant is also known as Agave parryi or mescal agave. This is a flowering plant belonging to the Asparagaceae family and Agavoideae subfamily. This slow-growing plant is native to northern Mexico, New Mexico, and Arizona. They also have spines at their tips and grey-green leaves.
Aloe Blue Elf
This dwarf, tight-clumping aloe has dense rosettes. They also grow up to two feet wide and eighteen inches tall. They are stem-less and have silvery-bluish-grey, narrow leaves that uprightly grow. They also love partial shade to full sun and are drought-resistant. They also prefer supplemental and occasional irrigation, most especially during dry and hot seasons. They are hardy even to 20 to 25°F. They also prefer well-draining, sandy, or gravelly soil to grow their best.
They look just like the Yucca rostrata plant, except that they’re smaller, only growing up to six to 12 feet in height. They have thin and stiff columnar rosettes and greenish-blue foliage with fine teeth-like edges. They like reflected heat and full sun. They can also grow in all types of soil, rocky slopes included. Aside from being drought-resistant, they are also hardy to 10°F or lower.
This succulent herb is small and only grows a maximum of 20 centimeters tall. They are drought-tolerant, hardy, and grow in full sun.
Also known as Dasylirion texanum, Texas Sotol is very cold hardy, and showy that they never failed to emulate the Southwestern look wherever they’re planted.
Upright Myrtle Spurge
This plant is hardy in zones 5 to 9. They also propagate best from their seeds but can also grow through softwood cuttings.
Whale’s Tongue Agave
This plant grows best in soil with low to average fertility settings. They also love the full sun and dappled shade. Aside from being drought-tolerant, this plant is also adaptable to cool, damp climates for as long as they’re planted to a good-draining soil.
How to Grow Cold Hardy Succulents
Step 1 – Study the succulent variety you intend to grow
Every succulent variety has its own set of prescribed growth environments. You need to identify this to know how to care for and cultivate your succulent plant properly.
Step 2 – Always repot your newly bought succulents
Remember always to take your succulent from the nursery bag and move them into a well-draining pot of the right size. Use a well-draining potting mix to keep the plant from getting soaked in water. Transplanting succulents help them thrive.
Step 3 – Never overwater your plant
Succulents are generally sensitive to overwatering. So, only water them sparingly. You should note the exact watering frequency prescribed for your succulent variety to avoid stressing the plant.
Step 4 – Place them in an area that’s ideal for their growth
Know the prescribed and ideal growing conditions for your succulent. Some may grow best in freezing climates, while others need direct heat from the sun. Others prefer dappled shade or reflected light. You need to identify these to ensure that your succulent plant grows healthily.
Dos and Don’ts With Cold Hardy Succulents
- Know the condition that best suits your succulent choice.
- Understand that some succulents can cause rashes or contact dermatitis.
- Remember that the majority of succulents are sun-loving plants.
- Practice planting succulents in soil with good drainage.
- Invest in the world’s best rare succulents.
- Plant without understanding the needs of your succulent plant.
- Overwater your plant.
- Never check on your plant after planting them, thinking that since they’re drought-resistant, they don’t need care at all.
FAQ About Cold Hardy Succulents
Which succulents can stay outside in winter?
According to experts, succulents belonging to the Euphorbias, Sedum, and Sempervivum are succulent varieties that can grow even in harsh environmental conditions. These plants can even tolerate areas with -20°F temperature. This means that you can grow them outdoors all year long.
What temperature is too cold for succulents?
Even the toughest succulent would have a hard time surviving in areas with a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If they go lower than this, they can freeze and die.
Can succulents survive a freeze?
Succulents with a built-in antifreeze system can survive temperatures below zero degrees.
How do I protect my succulents in the winter?
If you have potted succulents, you can hide them under a blanket or place them under an overhang. Then, wait for spring to let them out.
Should I cover my succulents in winter?
If your home has a patio, deck, or eave, you can use the area beneath these structures as a hiding place for your succulents in winter. The warmth the wall radiates would be enough for them to fight off the frost.
Taking unique tall succulents or premium black succulents home doesn’t mean that you can leave them to fend for themselves. As a plant grower, it’s your responsibility to know in what conditions can your plant grow best. That’s the basic requirement for raising a plant or succulent. After that, you also need to give them their needs to ensure that they don’t die. So, if you love growing cold hardy succulents, take to heart the tips we shared and appreciate how your plants thrive.
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