Caring for Succulents During the Winter

Just like snowbirds that winter in warmer climates, your succulents need to escape the cold too. If you live where temps fall below freezing, you definitely need to bring your succulents inside the house and give them a comfy environment to wait out the frigid months.

Remember, not all succulents are hardy like cacti. Many of the popular succulent varieties retain water in their leaves and stems making them quite susceptible to cold. Think about it. What happens to water when the temperature drops? It freezes and so will your precious succulents. Protecting your adorable babies from winter’s chill will keep them happy and healthy until it’s time to head back to the patio once the weather begins to warm up again.

Keep Them Hydrated

We know it’s a pain to water your succulents inside, but you need to keep their soil moist even though they’re considered drought tolerant. Unless you have a really good humidifier, your indoor environment can become extremely dry from central heating, wood burning fireplaces and even electric space heaters.

Check the soil a couple times a week. Maintaining the proper amount of moisture is a balancing act that requires some trial and error. As soon as their soil begins to dry out, spritz them with a fine mist of water or if they're extremely dried out, place their containers in a sink and thoroughly soak the soil. Put them on an elevated platform in the basin to allow the water to completely drain through.

Also remember, your succulents don’t like wet feet! If you haven’t already, put your succulents in a container with a drainage hole. If the soil seems to retain too much moisture, you run the risk of root rot. Make sure they are potted in a well draining soil mix specially formulated for succulents.

Give Them Vitamin D
In the form of sunlight, that is. Making sure your succulents receive the right amount of sun is also something that might take time to get right much like your watering routine.

Start by placing them near a window with bright, indirect sunlight most of the day.  This is really important during shorter winter days – your succulent friends will need at least six hours of sun each day for optimum health.

Now, we know there can be days and weeks on end without sun in some parts of the country. In this case, you might have to break out the grow lights to perk up your succulent plants during those extended periods of gray. Keep the lights on during daylight hours and turn them off at sundown. This will mimic the natural cycle of the sun and keep your succulents happy and none the wiser!

You might ask, “How do I know if my plants aren’t getting enough sun?”  Well, your succulents will actually tell you – here are a couple of easy signs to look for:

If your succulents seem to be getting a little lanky and rangy, it’s probably due to insufficient sunlight. This is pretty common and not harmful at all to the plant. In the spring when the weather warms up and the days become longer, you can trim them back and use the cuttings to start new plants.

Another subtle hint that your succulents are lacking adequate sunlight is when they start to “lean” toward their natural light source. It’s to be expected during short winter days. If you don’t want to go to the expense of artificial lighting, simply rotate the containers to balance the amount of light they get. That will straighten them out in a few days!

Have fun with your succulents this winter! They’re so darned adorable and will brighten up any room with their color variations, interesting shapes and amazing textures. Caring for them during the winter can be a bit more difficult, but most of the same rules apply any time of the year.

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