Succulents are fairly easy to take care of as long as you know their needs. While some succulents find it challenging to survive in cold temperatures, many can easily do so. If you are wondering what temperature is too cold for succulents, keep reading.
- 1 Optimal Temperatures for Succulents to Survive and Thrive
- 2 What Temperature Is Too Cold for Succulents?
- 3 What Happens If Succulents Get Too Cold?
- 4 How Do I Protect My Succulents from Frost?
- 5 At What Temperature Should I Bring My Succulents Inside?
- 6 Moving Plants Back Outdoors after Frost
- 7 What Succulents Are Cold Hardy?
Optimal Temperatures for Succulents to Survive and Thrive
The optimal temperatures for succulents to survive and thrive can vary depending on the type of succulents you have. While some succulents can survive easily in frost-like conditions, others cannot tolerate cold at all.
As a general rule, most succulents thrive in temperatures between seven and twenty-nine degrees Celsius.
Most succulents originate in desert or arid regions. In such climates, though the days are often marked by harsh sunlight and high temperatures, there is often a steep drop in the temperature during the night since the soil loses heat rapidly.
As a result, most succulents are also used to a temperature drop during the night. Many even grow better when there is a clear difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures.
What Temperature Is Too Cold for Succulents?
What temperature is too cold for succulents depends on the type of succulents that you have. There are two main types of succulents in this regard, soft succulents and hardy succulents.
Soft succulents are those that originate in hot deserts and arid regions. These plants have adapted to the hot climate and developed fleshy leaves that store excess water. The stored water allows them to survive through the heat and lack of water.
When these plants are exposed to freezing temperatures, the water stored inside the leaves freezes and expands. This can cause damage to the plant and hence lead to them dying.
Hardy succulents, on the other hand, are those that originate in dry, mountainous regions. These plants have adapted to temperatures below the freezing point and can tolerate freezing climates.
Soft succulents grow best in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit but can still survive at lower temperatures as long as they do not reach freezing point.
The freezing point or a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold to survive for soft succulents.
Hardy succulents can tolerate freezing temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they still cannot handle excess moisture around the leaves and the roots and hence need to be protected from snowfall.
What Happens If Succulents Get Too Cold?
What will happen if your succulent gets too cold will also depend on what kind of succulent you have.
Even soft succulents native to hot climates can withstand cold temperatures for short periods as long as they get access to sunlight and warmth throughout the day.
However, a sustained period of cold but above freezing point temperatures might lead to your succulent going dormant or stopping its growth. This is an adaptive mechanism to protect itself.
Many soft succulents might also change colors due to the stress of cold temperatures between the range of 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Succulents that were previously green can turn into bright colors and succulents that were already colored might assume a darker hue. For instance, Anacampseros telephiastrum becomes pink when temperatures fall.
If the temperature goes below freezing point, soft succulents will freeze and die if left outdoors without any protection.
On the other hand, hardy succulents will tolerate cold and even freezing temperatures reasonably well. However, at such low temperatures, they will be vulnerable to root rot due to the excess moisture from the frost and the snow.
As a result, hardy succulents will require especially dry and well-drained soil below freezing temperatures.
How Do I Protect My Succulents from Frost?
How to protect your succulents from frost depends on what kind of succulents you have. It is difficult to ascertain whether you have a soft or hardy succulent by simply looking at it.
It is highly recommended to find out the name of the species of succulents. You have to find more information about their native habitats and hence their hardiness towards cold temperatures and frost.
If you have hardy succulents, then they can tolerate the frost. However, they still need extra care and precaution during times of frost to ensure that they don’t catch root rot.
You can leave your hardy succulents outdoors during the winter. However, one thing you can do is transplant them directly to the soil before the winter.
Though hardy succulents can tolerate cold temperatures, they can be in danger if exposed to a combination of freezing temperatures and excess moisture.
By planting them in the soil, you can ensure that there is better drainage than in a small pot and the roots of the succulents get more space.
Besides taking them out of the pot, you also need to change your watering schedule to ensure that the plant is not in danger of waterlogging around the roots. Water your succulent much less frequently than you usually would.
Also, ensure to protect your plant from snowfall and rain as that can make the plant vulnerable to rot.
The leaves at the bottom of the plant are usually shed naturally by the plant. But you can remove them in preparation for winter to better protect your hardy succulent from rot.
If you have a soft succulent, it is crucial to bring your plant indoors during the winter months to protect it from frost, as otherwise it will freeze and die.
Indoors, the plant will need to be kept in a pot and the same issues of drainage and excessive moisture will arise. While indoors during the months of winter, the plant will be especially vulnerable to root rot.
As a result, you will need to reduce the amount of water you give your plant significantly. Additionally, you need to ensure that the plant is always highly well-drained.
Proper drainage can be ensured by using well-aerated and well-drained soil that is suited for your succulent. The pot in which the succulent is planted should also have drainage holes to ensure proper drainage.
When you place your succulent indoors, you also need to ensure that the plant continues to get enough sunlight since sunlight is essential for succulents.
Place your succulent near a window from which it can get enough sunlight. If that is not possible, place your succulent under indoor lights. If your succulent does not get enough light, the leaves will start to fade and the leaves will start becoming soft.
Besides light, the plant will also be sensitive to humidity in the air. It is imperative to ensure that the room has proper air circulation so that the leaves do not catch rot.
To ensure circulation, you can use indoor fans and leave the windows open to facilitate cross-ventilation wherever possible.
If you have to leave your plant outdoors, you can take steps to protect it from the weather.
Place the plant near a wall or boulder that gets a lot of sunlight. This will protect the plant from cold winds and slowly release the heat it absorbs throughout the day.
Keep the plant under something like a deck or a larger tree to protect it from snowfall and frost.
For any succulent that you are keeping outdoors, you can use a frost cloth that will protect the plant. This can be especially helpful for hardy succulents which can withstand the temperature but not the moisture that comes with harsh winters.
If you do not have a frost cloth, you can use an old bedsheet too.
At What Temperature Should I Bring My Succulents Inside?
If you have a hardy succulent, you do not need to bring it inside even when temperatures fall below the freezing point.
However, if you have a soft succulent, make sure to bring it inside as the temperature starts approaching the freezing point, which is 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moving Plants Back Outdoors after Frost
After the months of frost have passed, you can slowly start moving your soft succulent plant back outdoors. As a general rule, you can wait for anywhere between two to four weeks after the frost to move your plant outside.
It is essential not to shock the plant with outdoor conditions after it has been indoors for such a long time. Make sure that the temperature inside the house is not drastically different from the temperature outside.
Create a slow transition from indoors to outdoors by first keeping your plant in a protected or shaded area outside. Otherwise, sudden exposure to harsh sunlight can damage the leaves of the plant.
Your plant will also suddenly be exposed to winds and pests. As a result, keep the plant in an area where it will be protected from strong winds and be vigilant about pests that may catch on to the plant.
Though you will need to increase the amount of water you are giving the plant, make sure to not drastically increase the amount of water as it may lead to root rot.
What Succulents Are Cold Hardy?
Many succulents can tolerate temperatures below the freezing point. Cold hardy succulents can survive in extremely low temperatures such as -20 degrees Farhenheit.
These succulents have adapted to freezing temperatures and hence their leaves do not get damaged when the water inside them freezes. These plants are easy to take care of and can be grown in a variety of climates. Many cold hardy succulents have leaves in beautiful, bright colors as well.
Some cold-hardy succulents are Agave victoriae-reginae, Hesperaloe parviflora, Yucca thompsoniana, Sedum spathulifolium and Dasylirion texanum.