Succulent plants in containers especially need protection from the winter cold.
In the world of gardening, succulents (jade plants or gasteraloes, for instance), have the ability to retain water in fleshy portions of their leaves as an adaptation to arid or dry climates. Succulent gardens require little maintenance and are excellent choices for beginning gardeners or those looking to create a drought-tolerant landscape.
However, the same adaptations that grant these plants such exceptional drought tolerance also make them more vulnerable to cold or freezing temperatures. Succulents can benefit from being brought indoors for the entire winter season. This benefit is mutual: while receiving protection from harsh temperatures, succulents provide refreshing color that can brighten any living space.
How to Upkeep
Succulents are prized for their low-maintenance upkeep, but to ensure that your plants thrive indoors in the winter, follow a few guidelines to keep them healthy.
- Use proper soil
- For succulent health, the selection of proper potting soil is very important.
- As these plants are adapted to environments with very little moisture, well drained soil is essential to prevent disease or rotting plant roots.
- “Cactus” potting mixes are available at most home and garden stores, and you can also make your own mix using online recipes.
- Light the way
- For healthy succulent plants, adequate light is far more important than water.
- Plants that aren’t receiving enough light tend to exhibit “stretching” growth patterns, which is typified by a large amount of space between leaves.
- South-facing windows with bright filtered light are generally ideal locations for over-wintering plants.
- Don’t overwater
- Over-watering is the most common reason for disease or death of succulent plants.
- Seasoned gardeners often suggest skipping a regular schedule for watering established succulent plants. Instead, allow the soil to dry out between watering.
- To check to see whether your plant is "thirsty," gently press the leaves between two fingers. If the leaves feel firm, hold off on watering for a while longer.
- Once the leaves feel soft or slightly “squishy,” it’s time to water.
- To prevent damaging the natural protective waxy layer on succulent foliage, avoid touching or splashing the leaves while watering.
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