How To Protect Succulents In Winter

Are you wondering if you need to change how you care for your succulents in winter? Do you need to change where they are placed, give them more light or keep the house warm for them?

Most succulents are native to arid or semi-arid regions and are therefore well adapted to surviving in low water conditions.

However, during the winter months, when temperatures drop and daylight hours are shorter, these plants can struggle.


succulents in winter


If you’re wondering how to keep your succulents alive and thriving through the winter, read on for some tips.

Succulents Need Light

One of the most important things you can do to care for your succulents during the winter is to make sure they’re getting enough light. In their natural habitat, these plants would receive plenty of sunlight during the day.

But indoors, succulents can sometimes miss out on this vital exposure. If your plant is looking etiolated (leggy and pale), this is a sure sign that it’s not getting enough light.

Move your plant to a brighter spot, or consider investing in a grow light.

Water Succulents Less Often During Winter

Succulents need less water during the winter months. When temperatures are cooler and daylight hours are shorter, most plants go into a state of dormancy and their growth slows down.

Water your succulents less often, and make sure the soil has plenty of time to dry out between watering. If you’re unsure whether your plant needs water, stick your finger into the soil, if it feels dry several inches down, it’s time to water.

What Temperature Is Too Cold For Succulents?

While these plants are native to warm, dry climates, they can actually tolerate a wide range of temperatures. However, there is such a thing as too cold for succulents.

In general, succulents prefer temperatures that are above 40°F. Anything lower than this can cause the plant to go into shock and possibly die. If you live in an area with cold winters, it’s important to take steps to protect your succulents from the cold weather.

One way to do this is to move them indoors. If you can’t do this, make sure they are in a location that gets plenty of sunlight and is protected from the wind. You may also want to consider covering them with a sheet or blanket at night.

If your succulents are exposed to cold temperatures, you may notice that their leaves start to turn brown and crispy. This is called frost damage and it’s not reversible. However, as long as the roots are still alive, the plant can usually recover given time and proper care.


Frost damaged succulent leaves


If you think your succulent is suffering from temperature stress, the best thing you can do is try to bring it back to its ideal temperature range as soon as possible. Once the plant has acclimated to its new environment, it should start to look better.

Additional Winter Care For Succulents

In winter, many succulents go dormant and require less water, warm temperatures and plenty of light.

If your succulents are not properly cared for during the winter months, they may become susceptible to disease or pests.

Here are some additional tips on how to care for your succulents during the winter:

1. Move them indoors. If you live in an area that gets cold and snowy in winter, it’s a good idea to move your succulents indoors. Place them in a spot that gets bright, indirect light.

2. Protect them from frost. If you live in an area that experiences frost, make sure to protect your succulents from the cold weather. You can do this by placing them in a sun-facing window or covering them with a frost cloth.

3. Give them extra humidity. In winter, the air is typically drier than usual. This can cause your succulents to lose moisture through their leaves, which can lead to leaf drops or wilting.

To help combat this problem, you can place a humidifier near your plants or mist them with water occasionally.

4. Fertilize sparingly (or not at all). Most succulents don’t need to be fertilized in winter as they are dormant during this time.

However, if you want to give them a boost, you can fertilize them with a half-strength solution of liquid fertilizer every other month.

Can Potted Succulents Survive Winter?

Although succulents are mostly known for being tough and hardy plants, they can actually be quite delicate when it comes to cold weather.

In addition to sufficient light and correct watering, there are a couple of additional factors that will affect how well your succulents survive the winter months.

Type of Plant

Some succulents are more cold-hardy than others, so it’s important to choose a variety that is known to do well in cooler temperatures, such as sempervivum.

If you’re not sure which type of succulent you have, or if you’re unsure about its cold-hardiness, your best bet is to err on the side of caution and bring it indoors for the winter. 

Potting Mix

If your succulents are potted in soil that drains well, they will be much more likely to survive the winter months.

Succulents are very susceptible to root rot, and poorly-draining soils can cause the roots to rot if they stay too wet for too long. Soil will dry more slowly in cold weather than during hot months when water will evaporate from the soil.

To ensure that your potting mix drains well, you can add some perlite or sand to the mix. You can also make your own succulent potting mix by mixing equal parts of perlite, sand, and potting soil.

Common Problems Succulents Face In Winter

While succulents may be low-maintenance, they still need a little extra care in winter. Here are some of the most common problems succulents face in winter and how to solve them.

1. Cold damage

One of the most common problems succulents face in winter is cold damage. This can happen if the temperature drops too low for your plant, causing the leaves to turn brown or black and eventually fall off.

If you suspect your plant has cold damage, move it to a warmer location immediately and give it extra water.

2. Lack of light

Another common problem succulent’s face in winter is a lack of light. This is because the days are shorter and the sun isn’t as strong, so your plant isn’t getting the light it needs to photosynthesize.

If you notice your plant starting to stretch or its leaves turning pale, move it to a brighter location. You can also try using a grow light to supplement your plant’s light needs.

3. Damp conditions

Succulents also don’t like damp conditions, which can lead to root rot. To prevent this, make sure your pot has drainage holes and that you’re not overwatering your plant.

Let the soil dry out completely between waterings, and don’t water your plant if the leaves are already wet.

4. Pests

Pests can also be a problem for succulents in winter. Aphids, mealy bugs, and spider mites are all common pests that can attack your plant.

If you see any of these pests on your plant, remove them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. You can also try using an insecticidal soap or neem oil to get rid of them.

5. Fungal diseases

Fungal diseases are another common problem succulent’s face in winter. These include root rot and powdery mildew, both of which can kill your plant if left untreated.

To prevent fungal diseases, make sure your plant has good air circulation and that you’re not overwatering it. If you do notice signs of a fungal disease, treat it with a fungicide immediately.

Should I Cover My Succulents In Winter?

If you live in a climate where winter temperatures dip below freezing, it’s important to take measures to protect your succulents from the cold.

If you can move your succulents indoors, it’s a good idea to to this.

If you can’t and your succulents need to stay outdoors, you can offer some protection from frost by covering them with a frost blanket or piece of fabric. This will create a microclimate around the plant that will trap warmth and moisture.

Be sure to choose a fabric that is breathable, such as cotton or felt. And make sure the cover is loose enough that it doesn’t touch the leaves of the plant, as this can cause damage.

Remove the cover during the day so that the plant can get some sunlight, and put it back on at night.


If you live in an area with cold winters, it’s important to take measures to protect your succulents from frost and cold temperatures.

One way to do this is to grow them indoors in a sunny spot.

Another option is to cover them with a light cloth when the temperature drops.

With a little care, you can keep your succulents alive and thriving all winter long.


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