Succulents are a great way to brighten up the outside of a home. Whether on the patio, in your garden, or on the front stoop, they really do add something special to your exterior living space.
However, if you purchased succulents for your exterior living space in warm weather, you might have questions about how to care for them as we move into autumn. We usually associate succulents with deserts and grasslands, not pumpkins, football, and changing leaves. And if you’re in a colder climate, you are likely beginning to realize that you need to make some changes in order to get your succulents through autumn and winter in one piece.
At Shop Succulents, we’ve sold and tended to all varieties of succulents, and so we’ve put together a few thoughts on how to take care of succulents in autumn weather.
Read on to Learn More about Succulents and Autumn!
Move Your Succulents Inside
If you have succulents outside in your garden, be prepared to move them inside as the nights get longer and the days get a little colder. Moving your succulents into the warmth of your home is the first step to preparing them for autumn and winter.
However, if you move your succulents inside, you must take the necessary precautions. For example, taking the extra time to repot them will increase their longevity when moved inside. If you are not repotting, take a little time and clear away any leaves or twigs. You don’t want any organic material to decay alongside your succulents over the autumn and winter and shorten their longevity.
Understand Your Succulents
Knowing the variety of succulents you own is a key first step in understanding how to prepare for autumn and winter. Some varieties are quite hardy and can withstand a freeze or a cold snap. Some varieties of sedum and sempervivium can withstand temperatures well below freezing and thrive in these tough conditions.
However, they are not the majority, and several common varieties of succulents, like aloe vera and Christmas cactus, need to be brought inside if there is a risk of a cold snap. These succulents tend to thrive around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and need to be brought inside as autumn wanes and winter approaches.
The reason why is relatively simple. These succulents store water incredibly well in their tough, fleshy bodies, meaning they’re well-adapted for drought conditions. However, this also means that cold snaps increase the risk of that fleshy body freezing, which is why these varieties of succulents need to be brought inside at the end of autumn. Understanding the type of succulents you own is critical to preparing for cooler and colder weather.
Know Your Climate
As we mentioned, some succulents will withstand cold temperatures just fine, and others need relatively temperate climates to make it through winter. Consider your unique climate and make your decisions accordingly. It’s not unheard of for warm regions like Texas or Arizona to receive a winter storm once or twice a year. Assuming you won’t receive below-freezing temperatures isn’t always guaranteed, so we encourage you to keep tabs on the weather as you move through autumn and winter.
Likewise, while sedums can withstand cold weather, they probably cannot be left outdoors in regions like Canada, the Upper Midwest, or The Mountain West due to the risk of temperatures well below 0 Fahrenheit. Sempervivium, on the other hand, might actually be fine to leave outdoors in a Canadian winter. It all depends on your specific region and forecast. Consult our team for more specific recommendations.
Consider How Much Sunlight Your Succulents Need
Succulents are adapted for various environments, from grasslands to subtropical climates to jungles. As a result, not all succulents need constant time in direct sunlight. If you’re bringing succulents inside for the autumn and winter, consider placing them where they’ll receive a few hours of direct sunlight but will not be constantly under the gun of direct exposure to the sun.
If your succulents look to be burnt, it’s probably time to move them to a different location. Likewise, if they look to have elongated stems or flattened rosettes, you should consider increasing their sun exposure.
Winterize Outdoor Succulents
If you do elect to leave your succulents outdoors in late autumn and winter, you should take further precautions to ensure their survival. Layering horticultural fleece around your succulents is one such precaution you can take to prepare your succulents. We also recommend adding a layer of gravel around a succulent’s roots to protect it from frost.
And, as always, pay attention to drainage. This is good advice in warm weather as well. Too much water is a great way to get your drought-hardy succulents rotting, but pay attention to winter as well, especially if you live in an area where you might receive winter rain followed by a freeze. This is a great way to damage your succulents, and taking the time to ensure proper drainage is the best solution.