Baby It's Cold Out There For Succulents

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Winter Plant Care

Taking Care Of Succulents In Winter

Let’s talk about taking care of your plants in these chilly winter months

Here in Charleston, SC we are in growing zone 8B, meaning it stays a little warmer here than in zones above us. Suckers. :) Take a look at the USDA Hardiness Zone Map here if you’d like more info.

Our winters are usually more mild, and it’s pretty rare that we experience multiple days at freezing temps or below. Thankfully!

Most succulents can survive temps down to 50 degrees, but there are a few hardy succs that can take much colder temps! I’m talking about Sempervivums or as they are commonly called, Hens + Chicks. These little toughies can take temps as low as 30 degrees. I’ve even seen them survive snow.

Another fun thing about succulents is that some varieties will go dormant in winter. For us here in Charleston, that’s usually November - March. With the fluctuation in temps we get here near the ocean, and less sunlight that comes with winter our succulents just aren’t as happy outside. Here’s some of my succulents I left outside this winter. I’m a meanie.

 Being Cold Succs

Being Cold Succs

Sure they’re alive, but they ain’t happy about it. You can see water damage and rot on the leaves. This comes from rain water just sitting on the leaves. Succulents LOVE sun, they love being outside, but it’s important to be mindful that they are not sitting out in the rain too often. Succulent leaves do not absorb water like air plants. That standing water will actually start to rot your baby. Our cold, rainy days are just not a succulent’s happy place.

Another awesome thing about succulents, is that they are so resourceful and adaptive that they will go into dormancy when the growing conditions are not ideal. So it make take some time for them to adjust to our environment but once they do, they will basically turn themselves off and on according to their environment.

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What does this mean for us? Less work! Woo hoo!

This time of year, I’m only watering my succulents about every other week to once a month. My jade plants will keep growing no matter what, they’ll start to wrinkle after about 10 days without water. One of my favorite things about that plant, it really let’s you know when it needs a drink.

+ Bonus Tip: Water in the morning or early afternoon so that your plants aren’t sitting in cold water over night.

With less sunlight your succulents will inevitability start to stretch out looking for more light. Aloe varities or sempervivums will start to flatten out, exposing themselves (like creeps) trying to soak up as much sun as they can. Rotate your plants around when you water them to keep their stems strong. I let mine stretch out til about March or April. Then I start cutting them back and begin the Off With Their Heads Method to encourage new spring growth.

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As always, Plant Friends, If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask here by commenting below. Email Us. Or Slide into our DM’s on Insta or Facebook.

Peace, Plants + Warm, Cozy Wishes,

Amy

How To Water Your Succulents

How To Water Succulents or How Succulents Are Like Binge Drinking Cats

  • Succulents don’t like to be wet like other plants, they are like cats. They want water, they need water, but don’t you dare get them wet!

  • Water your succulents at the base of the plant, where the stem is in the soil. Water the soil not the plant itself if you can help it. Soak it like you mean it! Succulents are from desert climates, they are used to getting a lot of water at once, and then not having any for a while. Think of it like a binge drinker. A binge drinking cat.

  • After watering, let your succulent dry out for a bit. Wait at least 5 days before checking again. Once you’ve figured out when your plant is thirsty and ready for water. Plan a water schedule that works for your plants in your home. It’s pretty humid here in Charleston, SC so our succulents only need water about once a week. If you are keeping your succulents outside, you may need to water a little more often in the summer months.

  • How can you tell when your baby needs water? Don’t be shy, stick your finger into the soil, wiggle it around and see how she feels. It’s better to underwater than over water. Succulents like their dry, desert like climates so we have to change our watering schedules to make them happy here. And isn’t that what life is about? A little give and a little take. Happy Plants Happy Life.

  • Bonus Tip: Succulents with fatter leaves need more water than those with skinny little puny leaves.

Got Questions? We've got answers. Probably. But no guarantees! Ask us anyway and we'll do our best to help you out. Email Us or Leave us a comment with any plant care questions or any other question about life, the universe, you know, whatever is going on in your life. We're here for you.

Peace + Plants,

Amy

Propagating Succulents

Propagatin' Propagatin'! Err'day I'm Propagatin'! But For Real - It Does Take A Long Time

So you want to grow some cute little babies from your succulents? We don't blame you, it's like FREE PLANTS! Maybe you were wandering through Lowe's or Home Depot and "Oh, Whoops! Look at all these succulent leaves that are just laying here, to be discarded..." You can give them life! A new home! 

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A word of warning; Propagating takes patience. If you aren't into the Set It And Forget It Method this may not be for you. I have succulent babies that I have propagated from leaves that are probably at least a year old and they are still too small to really be used for anything other than a "Awwww, look at that widdle baby!" 

Propagating succulents, growing little babes from leaves takes patience and a little luck. Not all leaves will produce roots, sometimes they just shrivel up and die and that's just the way the world is. Don't fret! It's still fun, and if you're reading this you probably already enjoy watching your babies grow! Nature = Neature!

How do you get started if you haven't scavenged your local plant store for fallen leaves? Check out your own babies! Got any stretched out succulents?

 See those little curves? that's a good leaf!

See those little curves? that's a good leaf!

You can easily pop off a few leaves and start hoping, and wishing, and praying that you'll get some teeny, tiny, baby, wabies. If you are plucking leaves from a succulent, start at the bottom, and look for leaves that are already a little loose. You'll want to lightly twist or wiggle on your leaf to try to keep the leaf in tact and not cut the leaf off too short. A cut leaf es no bueno but a "popped" off leaf is muy bueno.

That was the hard part! Now you just lay those babies down on pretty much anything. I chuck mine into a shallow dish with some succulent soil. But I've seen others use paper towels, trays, terracotta lids, it really doesn't matter at this point. Just lay them flat so they can have some time to callous over. This can take about 5-7 days, maybe a little more or less. It's nature. Life is imperfect. "Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place." 

 Broken or cut leaves like this wont work

Broken or cut leaves like this wont work

Once your leaves have hardened to the ways of the cold hard world, you'll want to plop them onto some succulent soil. I use this shallow tray and keep my babies in lines by age. older guys in the back who have put out roots and are showing growth to brand new babies in the front who aren't quite ready for water just yet. When you start seeing those pretty pink roots reaching out, you can start watering. This is the only time we recommend using a spray bottle to water your succulents. Since these newborns are on shallow soil, they don't need much. A light spray every few days - or about once a week. Just to keep them thirsty AF and stretching out those roots for more.

Once your babes are showing roots, you'll want to keep them in a sunny area. When they are first cut and drying out, we've noticed it doesn't much matter where they are in relation to sun. But it's probably better to keep them out of bright sun until they're a little more mature and ready to root.

One last word of warning - Some varieties of succulents may be trademarked or patentened so you cannot propagate them. They should be marked on their label if that's the case. If you've purchased one from us, that is not the case. We only sell succulents that we ourselves have grown or purchased from nurseries that are cool about it. No police will beat down your door, but just be mindful of someone else's variety or a nursery's own blend. Be good to each other y'all.

Got Questions? We're here to help! Email Us or Comment and we'll do our best to help.

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Peace + Plants,

Amy

The Off With It's Head Method

 Check out stretch armstrong over here

Check out stretch armstrong over here

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 Cut perle von nurnberg echeveria - Leave about an inch of stem

Cut perle von nurnberg echeveria - Leave about an inch of stem

The Off With It's Head Method - How To Fix Stretched Out Succulents

So your succulent baby is looking a little worse for the wear. Stretched out or elongated. Or if you want to impress your friends with my new favorite SAT word:

Etiolated "Edie-o-lated" - a plant, pale and drawn out due to a lack of light.

The succulent shown here has been in an East facing window, so he got great morning light but not so great light the rest of the day. Which causes this stretching to try to reach more light. Stretching is pretty normal and very common in Echeverias or rosette style succulents like this baby. They are also more likely to show these signs in the colder months.

 Good news

Good News, Everyone! There’s a super easy way to fix it. Although it feels like you are murdering your plant, well you are. But for the greater good! Chop off the Echeveria's head with about an inch or 2 of stem left over so she can easily plant herself back into soil later.

 

 

Bonus! You can also pop off the lower leaves to try to propagate. More on propagating in another post. 

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This lady was beheaded a few weeks ago and you can see, even the stem is calloused over and new little roots are forming. The head can be placed on soil, or really any ole place for a few days to let the cut callous over. She just needs some time to heal. Think of this as her time to watch bad chick flicks, eat ice cream and go back and forth about changing her hair. You know how it goes. Once she’s all calloused over, and maybe a little stronger for it, you can stick her right back into soil. 

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To be safe; I still wait a few days before watering. This whole be heading to re-potting usually takes about a week tops. You want to wait to you just start to see some solid roots poking out. That means your baby is healed and is ready to get back out there again. She’s ready to sow some oats, or roots in this case. Ready to get out there and meet some nice soil and sun that will really treat her right.

But you don’t want to just flood her with water. She’s just dipping her toe (roots) into the world again, don't flood her with friend requests/water just yet. She needs some time to ease into it. Once she’s got a good set of roots on her, go back to your regularly scheduled watering. Once a week, maybe more, maybe less. Depending on your environment. See our post on Watering Your Succulent for more info. 

Still got questions? So do we! Let's chat! Shoot us an email or leave a comment and we'll be happy help you out. 

Peace + Plants,

Amy