Asked on Nov 11, 2014

Winter and my succulents

by Symea
I have a succulent container garden, a large variety, 15 pots, all healthy and it will snow truck loads in a month. I only have room for a table in a carport, is that enough? Should I cover them with plastic? Leave them? I've never had these before. Thnx!
q winter and succulents, flowers, gardening, succulents
  26 answers
  • KG KG on Nov 11, 2014
    I had one last year of hens and chicks and they froze out. I really didn't do much but bring them into the enclosure on the back of the house, which isn't heated. I bought new ones this year and decided to take them to work! I have them in my office and I love it!

  • Symea Symea on Nov 11, 2014
    I'd love to have them inside, can't think of a place where there's room. I wonder if cats can eat them because mine will try.

  • Carole Carole on Nov 11, 2014
    When you plant out a garden or put things into pots it always pays to only try to grow what your climate won't kill! You need to bring them in if you will get heavy snows. When buying these plants, keep the labels and Google on the names of each plant to see how frost or cold tolerant they are before deciding to buy. It will save you a big headache going forward and save you losing a lot of expensive plants if you are not able to winter them all inside the house Believe me I know as succulents and cacti were my passion. I had 70 or so pots of these, some small, some large and in torrential and persistent rains they would get root rot and die. I used to spend a lot of time moving pots under shelter so this would not happen. Don't put plastic over them as they are living things and they need to breath. If you can bring them inside, even if it is not heated you can put some hessian or something over them to keep the chill out. This is breathable. My friends cats destroyed her African Violets so keep them where your curious cats won't knock them over or try to nibble on them. They will not need much by way of water in the cold winter, just the occasional drop of water if they are bone dry. If these plants freeze, they will turn to mush. When we moved to the mountains where it gets very cold, I gave all my succulents and cacti away as they would not do well up here due to the cold. If you are worried you will lose them, then take a couple of leaves off of each plant and let them callous over at the base and they will form roots. Keep them inside and plant into small seedling pots to get them going on some cacti mix soil. If you cannot move your plants inside, at least you can grow their babies which will be clones of the original plants to replace them later on.

  • Symea Symea on Nov 11, 2014
    70 !! holy cow! I can see you trying to find shelter during the rains getting quite wet yourself! I do have a basement I can probably leave them on a table by the window and check up on them.I surly hate to think of killing them, it was such a fun summer project. OK time to move that piece of gym equipment that never gets used! I was just curious if they lived outdoors thru a tough winter- thank you!

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    • Carole Carole on Nov 12, 2014
      @Symea We had an external staircase from the courtyard and it was handy for shifting the more susceptible ones under this and out of heavy rain. A lot of bother though.

  • Christina Brigham Christina Brigham on Nov 12, 2014
    I live in Arizona and the Frost killed mine. I will try indoors by bright window too. Good luck.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Nov 12, 2014
    To add to the chorus: you stand the best chance of keeping them alive if you can move them indoors to a bright spot

  • Gloria Duy Gloria Duy on Nov 12, 2014
    I am in Illinois and get a lot of snow in the winter. I have a bunch of succulents in the ground that do fine, I've had for years. The ones in pots I bring inside. If I have too many I plant some in the ground and give away some. If I were in your spot I would take a piece of each kind and plant them in a pot and next year repot them and grow again. Sort of like saving the Mother of yogurt. BTW my cat never touches them.

  • Donna Shipley Donna Shipley on Nov 12, 2014
    I live on the Northern California Coast. No snow, lots of frost... I have to protect most of mine but am able to use frost blankets (which I think can be used to prevent direct contact with the snow too)... on at night, off in the morning. I think your basement is a good idea. Most of the ones I see in the picture can be restarted from just a single leaf, so if they are too large to bring in you might want to get started on propagation. If I were you I would go to a local nursery for additional advice. Best of luck!

  • Deanna Church Deanna Church on Nov 12, 2014
    We recently had our first night dip down to freezing. The day before I moved all of my succulent pots into one of three places. Some came into the house and are sitting on dining room table where they can get sunlight from windows. Others went into my utility room off the carport. I have a gas water heater and that keeps the room plenty warm enough. The rest are in a little portable greenhouse that I have placed against the wall of the house on the carport.

  • Brenda Myers Brenda Myers on Nov 12, 2014
    I was thinking the same as all of the comments. I live in the eastern part of Pa. Looking at your picture I have had all but one ( the one in the lower front) survived outside in our winter. They might look like the die but they all ways come back. BUT you might want to think about bringing in your pot. It looks like terracotta, that will crack, even crumble if it has dirt in and gets frozen. My son just gave me some succulents and I did not have enough light for them inside and they died. Going to a nursery sounds like a good idea they know your climate. Good Luck

  • Lois Martin Lois Martin on Nov 12, 2014
    I live in Montana and have the same issue. I bought a large industrial steel shelving unit from Costco 48" wide x 72" tall and parked it front of my large southeast facing living room window, not exactly a look from House Beautiful, but it works. I'm thinking of adding some grow lights to use for a little added boost. I have agaves, cactus, succulents of several types and added a couple ivy plants. It's -11 this morning, nothing would have survived that, even in my garage.

  • Diane T Diane T on Nov 12, 2014
    Like everyone else, I recommend bringing them in for the winter. Really low maintenance plants. That's why I love them! I like Carole's idea though of rooting some of your favorites during the winter months. Even if all of your other plants survive, you will have new ones to plant and share. :)

  • C Valentino C Valentino on Nov 12, 2014
    I have Chicks 'n Hens that are very cpld tolerant, Zone 5, All others sre brought indoors & wattered less often.

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    • Dee Dee on Nov 01, 2020

      I live in Massachusetts. I planted sedums, including Hens and Chicks in the ground approximately 9 years ago. I did dig holes and added cactus soil to help them due to the truly poor soil in my south facing garden. All of my sedums survived our very harsh winters. I wasn't able to tend to them the past couple of years. This past summer, I lost some of them due to draught. I haven't been able to add more cactus soil or mulch them. I think I lost them during the summer due to neglect. I think in some regions of the country they need some tender attention. I'm truly sad about this, but I am disabled and I am not able to garden.

      I have a huge beautiful container of sedums that is a gift. I had to bring the container inside due to freezing rain and 2 inches of snow. I have to find a spot that gets sunlight. The problem is that all of the heating vents are on the floor and under all of the windows. I don't know the best way to deal with this because the only place I can place them has a large vent that I can't close. I don't know how to water or what to feed them. I cherish this beautiful container filled with gorgeous plants and don't want to lose them.

      Does anyone have suggestions on how I can keep them alive? I am homebound and without transportation so I can't go out to buy anything special to keep them alive. Any & all suggestions are appreciated. Thank -you very much.


  • Paulette Reece Paulette Reece on Nov 12, 2014
    I have taken in during winter anywhere in house or office.

  • Jill Jill on Nov 12, 2014
    While living in Phoenix 24 years ago, I had started collecting small succulents and cacti. Now in So Cal, I still have most of them although some are not so small anymore. Even in Phoenix and here in So Cal it can get down below freezing at night where I live and the cold can turn them to mush like the others have said. I bring them or put them on my covered patio, where the heat vent from my dryer is and I can do laundry late at night to provide some warmth. Just make sure if you do bring them in that it's not too warm or you have the same problem. A nice cool basement, decreased watering, and neon lighting is fine several hours a day is fine.

  • Carole Murphy Carole Murphy on Nov 12, 2014
    I bring mine in the house...always do good near window for light.

  • Charlotte Belange Charlotte Belange on Nov 12, 2014
    I live in WA I had them in the ground for 20 yrs about a 100. I lost all of them last winter. Replanted new in pots and have already put next to apt and will cover them with news paper. Char B YELM, WA

  • Joan Bohonsky Joan Bohonsky on Nov 12, 2014
    take favorites inside try planting some and covering some close to house

  • Myrna Engle Myrna Engle on Nov 13, 2014
    I live in Texas where no one has a basement. I've always wanted one. I raised about a hundred species from leaves dropped on floor at Lowe's. They have always been kind and given them to me. I put mine in the in the trays I raised them in. transplanting to pots can wait for spring.

  • Myrna Engle Myrna Engle on Nov 13, 2014
    Every last one in your pot will restart from just one leaf. It makes me feel so important to start life over. I've enjoyed it immensely. Break off a leaf. Let it lay for 2 or 3 days. Lay it on some potting soil and wait for the little plant to emerge. Spray with water daily. Pot on when it's old enough to have roots also.

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    • Marie DeSalvo Marie DeSalvo on Oct 30, 2015
      Bought some beautiful succulents this summer and was wondering, even though they have not out grown their pots, I have noticed a bit of space between the pot and the soil, . can I fill in with any type of soil ? I was going to repot just for this reason.

  • Craftlover Craftlover on Nov 14, 2014
    thanks for this info. i was just wondering about my cactus and succulents I planeted for the first time in a pot by the door. I will be bringing mine inside for the winter!

  • Babs Kriel Babs Kriel on Nov 17, 2014
    I live in the Free State in South Africa where our winters are terribly cold and dry. I cover my succulents with 30g Frost Guard and they survive pretty well. Just make sure the the Frost Guard do not touch the leaves of the plants

  • Symea Symea on Nov 21, 2014
    well of the 15 pots of varying species, I lost a few.(mush!) but I think I saved the rest, they are scattered thru the house in sunny spots. A few are mushy but I'm waiting to see if they come back. I do see little sprouts of new life too, so I will baby them all winter--thank you everyone, I feel much more educated in the world of succulents!

  • Lois Martin Lois Martin on Nov 22, 2014
    Symea, just remember not to water too much, that causes them to turn to mush as well.

    • Symea Symea on Nov 25, 2014
      @Lois Martin I just love too much.....=) I will try, thanks!!

  • Samantha Samantha on Oct 30, 2015
    For less hardy varieties, the problem during the winter is the deadly combination of cold temperatures and waterlogged, soggy soil from rains and snow melt. Many varieties will withstand colder temperatures if the soil can be kept dry enough. Some tips for caring for tender succulents during freezing weather include: Keep the soil as dry as possible. Stop supplemental watering and feeding around late fall. Be sure there is adequate air circulation, to keep the winter dampness at bay. Plant succulents in sheltered areas if your winters are rainy – a good spot might be a sunny location underneath the eaves or porch. Make sure your soil has good drainage – if you notice soggy soil around your succulents during wet weather, you need to improve the conditions to help your plant survive. Add sand, well-draining organic matter, or a product such as Perma-Till to increase water drainage. Cover tender plants when freezing temperatures are forecasted. You can use fabric covers, bushel baskets, or purchased frost covers. Just make sure the covers do not touch the leaves, and don’t keep them covered any longer than necessary – they need air circulation and sunlight. Don’t remove snow cover – it’s a good insulator.

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    • Samantha Samantha on Oct 30, 2015
      Haha! Yes indeed that is the problem when doing arrangements in small bowls... they never seem to grow out just as beautiful as they were planted. ;)

  • Cel6719046 Cel6719046 on Oct 30, 2017
    I'm needing this answered to. I was reading not to put plastic directly on them so I used burlap then plastic on top and bought garden staples to keep plastic down I hope they survive just it case I took a leaf start so it's not a total lost