Succulent SOS!

Do you love your succulents? There are 5 simple things you can do to give them the best chance of winter survival.

Not all succulents need special help to survive winter. Many of the winter-hardy varieties, such as Sedum, Hen and Chickens (Sempervivum), Ice Plant (Delosperma), Lewisia and Yucca, originate in high mountainous regions, and can withstand freezing temperatures.

There are also rare, hardy succulents, such as Orostachys and Rosularia, originating from desert regions, which use a fascinating, specialised “Crassulacean” metabolic process, to survive extreme cold.

Many less hardy succulents will wither, shrink, or change colour as winter bites, but this is part of their normal survival routine. The burnished colours which many succulents develop in winter one of their most appealing features.

For less hardy varieties, the problem during winter is the combination of cold temperatures and waterlogged soil.

Here are five tips for caring for tender succulents during freezing weather:

  1. Keep the soil as dry as possible. Stop watering and feeding around late autumn.
  2. Be sure there is adequate air circulation, to keep the winter dampness at bay.
  3. Plant succulents in sunny, sheltered areas if your winters are rainy.\
  4. Make sure your soil has good drainage. Adding sand or organic matter can improve drainage.
  5. Cover tender plants when freezing temperatures are forecast. You can use pieces of fabric, or purchased frost covers. Make sure the covers do not touch the leaves, and don’t keep them covered any longer than necessary – they need air circulation and sunlight.

Once winter is over, your succulents will repay your kindness by rebounding with vigour and purpose, ready to delight you once more!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    You know, I do not particularly like succulents, but some of the most common types have worked out very well in my downtown planter box. I put two cuttings of common houseleek out there a few years ago, and they grew into these big sculptural specimens that everyone loves! I never would have guessed it.

    1. My Dream Garden says:

      In my experience they’re an acquired taste which rapidly turns into an addiction!

      1. tonytomeo says:

        I am not addicted yet, and do not expect to be. I just have a good idea where they work well (although mine are typically accidental).

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