Year-Round Care for Succulents | Living the Country Life
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Year-Round Care for Succulents

Most succulents love summer. They soak up the sun, grow, and thrive during the warmest months. Once fall arrives, though, some varieties succumb to frost and plunging temperatures. Help your succulents thrive year-round by knowing which succulents can survive the winter outdoors, how to overwinter heat-loving varieties, and how to take advantage of indoor conditions to propagate more plants so when spring arrives, you’ll be ready with more healthy succulents raring to go back outside.
  • Cold-Hardy Succulents

    Certain succulents, native to northern and Eastern Europe, can survive winters as cold as Zone 4 or even 3. Hens and chicks (Sempervivum, which means ‘always alive’) and Sedums or stonecrops can usually withstand frigid winters. Certain Jovibarba and Rosularia varieties should also be fine. To help hardy succulents in pots survive cold temperatures, though, remove them from their containers and plant in the ground to help insulate their roots from temperature fluctuations.

     

    Date Published: July 17, 2017
    Date Updated: September 5, 2017
  • Tender Succulents in Containers

    Many of the taller and more colorful succulent plants are native to areas that never freeze in winter, forcing many gardeners to overwinter their favorite succulents indoors. These “soft” or “tender” succulents include Echeveria, Crassula, jade plants, and aloes. Check plant information tags when you purchase your plants to determine how much cold they can tolerate. Before bringing tender succulent inside for the winter, slowly adjust them to the lower indoor lighting conditions by moving them to increasingly shadier locations for several days. Inside the house, set succulents near a bright, south-facing window or under a grow light.

    Date Published: July 17, 2017
    Date Updated: September 5, 2017
  • In-Ground Succulents

    If you want to bring in a plant that was growing in the ground, dig it up before the night-time temperatures start to dip into the 40s. Choose a container with drainage holes and fill the bottom 2 to 3 inches with a well-draining potting mix formulated for succulents or cactus. Use a garden fork to gently dislodge the plant and lift it from the ground. Rinse the roots with a garden hose and transfer the plant to the pot. Add potting mix around the roots and up to the level at which the plant was growing in the ground.

    Date Published: July 17, 2017
    Date Updated: September 5, 2017
  • Bring Clean Plants Inside

    Prep your succulents before bringing them inside for the winter. Check the plants for insects and clean thoroughly with a spray nozzle to remove dirt, pests, and other debris. Trim plants to make them more manageable.

    Date Published: July 17, 2017
    Date Updated: September 5, 2017
  • Indoor Succulent Care

    Think of this as a rest period for your house-bound succulents. Water them no more than once or twice a month, and don't feed them. As long as they have their light requirements met and get a dose of water when dry, your succulents will happily bide their time indoors. If they start to look shriveled, they need more water.

    Date Published: July 17, 2017
    Date Updated: September 5, 2017
  • Propagate Lanky Succulents

    Making more succulents plants is surprisingly easy. Leading up to the winter solstice, plants often stop growing, but as the length of daylight hours increase, so does new growth. To propagate plants that are lanky and trailing, such as Sedum adolphii, make a clean cut 2-4 inches from the plant’s tip. Remove all leaves from the bottom third of the stem and insert up to the first set of leaves into soil formulated for cactus and succulents. Move the pot of cuttings to an area with bright but indirect light for two to three weeks. Don’t allow the soil to dry out completely while your cuttings are forming new roots, but don’t keep it soggy – just barely damp soil is fine. When the plants have formed roots, holding tight to the soil when gently wiggled, and begin to grow, move the pot into direct light (morning sun is best) and cut back on watering. Let the soil dry out before watering again.

    Date Published: July 17, 2017
    Date Updated: September 5, 2017
  • Propagate Clumping Succulents

    Any plants that seem to be in a tidy clump with healthy roots, such as this Echeveria ‘Perle Von Nurnberg’, can be carefully dug up and divided or repotted. Remove dried leaves. Fill the new pot to within 1 inch of the rim with a succulent potting mix; moisten thoroughly. Carefully transplant any rooted clumps first, pressing the soil firmly around the roots. Insert cuttings into the soil up to the first set of leaves. 

    Date Published: July 17, 2017
    Date Updated: September 5, 2017
  • Repot Root-Bound Plants

    Before taking your succulents outdoors again in the spring, check their roots. Turn the plant upside down and slide out of its pot to reveal the root system and check to make sure the root network is healthy and has filled the container. If root-bound (with roots packed against the edge of the container), find a container that is at least an inch wider than the original pot. Tease roots free from the root ball and set in its new pot, adding a potting mix formulated for succulents and cactus to fill. Water to keep the roots moist and position the plant out of the baking sun for a brief adjustment period of one or two weeks. 

    Date Published: July 17, 2017
    Date Updated: September 5, 2017
  • Adjusting Succulents to Outdoor Conditions

    Succulents do much better when they are outside, basking in the sun and enjoying the fresh air. But if you can easily burn your succulents by rushing the acclimation process. When you first take your succulent outside in the spring, set them in an area that gets full shade and gradually move them to an area with more sunlight. A gradual increase of an hour or two of sunlight per week will help them adjust. Starting with exposure to morning sun will also help the process. If the temperatures dip down into the 50s or below at night, bring the succulents inside again. 

    Date Published: July 17, 2017
    Date Updated: September 5, 2017
  • Warm Weather Care for Succulents

    Starting in spring, feed succulents with a compost tea or fertilizer formulated for succulents. Water your succulents when the top inch of soil is dry, adding water until it drains from the bottom of the container. Hot temperatures and strong afternoon light can damage most succulents so set them in a location where the light will be filtered during the hottest hours of the day. One of the charms of succulents is their ability to thrive in a variety of containers, from simple terracotta to salvaged tins, as long as the container has holes in the bottom to allow excess water to escape and you use well-draining soil.

    Date Published: July 17, 2017
    Date Updated: September 5, 2017

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