Baby It's Cold Out There For Succulents

cold-plants-winter-plant-care.jpg

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.

bringing-succulents-indoors-for-winter.jpg

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.

winter-succulent-care.jpg

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

The Off With It's Head Method

Check out stretch armstrong over here

Check out stretch armstrong over here

CutElongatedStretchedEcheveria.jpg
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. 

PropagatingEcheveriaRootsSprouting.jpg

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. 

CutPerleVonNurnbergEcheveriaSucculentLeafMeAlonePlantClub.jpg

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