How Much Cold Can Succulents Tolerate

How much cold can succulents tolerate? Well, there’s a big difference between temperature tolerance and the ideal temperature for your succulent plants to look their very best. For example, in terms of Fahrenheit, if you want your succulents to preserve their deep colors, 40 degrees would be ideal for most succulent varieties.

Keeping Succulent Colors Vibrant

On the other hand, if you want a nice flush mid-range color between deep colors and variegated or exotic colors, you should gun for temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, if you want the very best colors of your succulent plant to really come out, you have to aim for the ideal temperature range of 90. A little bit above or a little bit below would be fine.

It’s important to note that for optimal color, you should keep the temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. But as temperatures plummet, succulents can tolerate quite a bit of cold, but their tolerance really depends on their variety.

Cold-Adapted Succulents

Generally speaking, most succulent varieties can tolerate 40 degrees Fahrenheit and above. That’s pretty much the low point for most succulent varieties. There are, however, specially cold-adapted succulents like sempervivum.

Cold-Adapted Succulents

This species can do well at temperatures as low as 30 degrees if not lower. They are quite hardy and can tolerate really cold temperatures. But they are pretty much the outlier. If you are keeping a tropical variety like lithops or euphorbia, you should aim for, at the very least, 50 degrees. That is the minimum tolerance for these tropical succulents.

Another variety of succulent that can tolerate deep freezes of -30 degrees is Stonecrop Sedum. These hardy plants can also withstand high temperatures under the full sun.  Not only that, their colorful fleshy leaves can store enough water to last a 3-month drought.  They also thrive on poor soil so you can place them practically anywhere. 

You have to look at the background of the plant species that you’re thinking of cultivating. If the succulent originated from the tropics, you should aim for an indoor garden temperature range starting in the mid ’50s. If the succulent comes from a more temperate part of the world, then you have a lot more leeway as far as the lower end of the temperature scale goes.

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But you really can’t go too crazy. There has yet to be a succulent that can withstand freezing weather. So 30 degrees, as a rule of thumb, should be your lowest threshold. There are workarounds to this, of course.

Using Air Blowers for Your Succulents

Using Air Blowers for Your Succulents

You can use air blowers. You can turn on a fan at a fairly moderate speed to circulate the air in your indoor growing space. In many cases, this is all you need to do to properly modulate and control internal heat levels in your growing space. How come?

Let the power of air convection keep your plants warm. When air is trapped in an indoor space, warm air usually rises. And as it cools down, it starts to sink. When you turn on a fan, you push the warm air down to your plants.

So you end up moving warm air from the top part of the room to where your plants are. In many cases, assuming you have a heater or some other source of warmth and provided that there’s enough sunlight, this may be all you need. Keeping the airflow going would ensure that they will remain relatively dry, which will help them ward off pests and rot.

How Winter Affects Succulents

The hardy succulents like Stonecrop Sedum and Sempervivum can stay outdoors in temperatures below freezing. They like it better outside, even during winter because they need a lot of light. You can take them inside, but be sure to place them near windows.

How Winter Affects Succulents

Succulents regularly shed their leaves as they grow and replace them with new ones. The key to keeping them healthy is to remove all of these old leaves. If those dried leaves are still on them by the time the cold sets in, they will become soggy and begin to rot.  It will expose the succulent to infection and disease. 

On the other hand, winter would be very tough for the softer varieties.  They’re not tolerant of frost and will have to remain indoors or else perish outside. Frost will expand the liquids inside the leaves and this will burst the cell walls, which causes irreparable damage. 

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Keep in mind that they are also sensitive to sudden and extreme temperature changes, so bring them in before it dips below the freezing. From here on out, you can only take them back outside when spring arrives.

Dormancy in Succulents

Depending on the variety, there are three different dormancy states succulents go through in the cold of winter.  Some grow, while the others will remain either partially or fully dormant. 

Most types will go somewhat dormant and have only limited growth. But there are those varieties that will become fully dormant and start shedding their leaves. The reason they stop growing is because they’re trying to survive. They may seem to be dying, but don’t be alarmed. Their roots will remain intact. Once winter is over and temperatures drop, these succulents will begin to recover and sprout leaves again.

All of these succulents that become dormant need less water during winter.  It will take longer for the water to evaporate.  Water them thoroughly but not frequently, and only when the soil is dry. You have to make sure that the soil will drain quickly and be dry between waterings.  Sometimes succulents can go without additional water for an entire month, which is just fine during the cold season.

They also don’t need any fertilizer during the entire season, but be sure to feed them fertilizer one last time before winter.

Some varieties, however, begin their growth spurts in the colder months.  You can give them more water and fertilizer during this period. 

You can start giving all your succulents some half-strength liquid fertilizer when spring finally arrives. Gradually reintroduce them to the stronger direct sunlight.

Final Thoughts

There are so many succulent varieties out there, which need differing temperatures. But in general, the general idea is the same. Hopefully, this article can provide some assistance. Happy Gardening!!