Growing Succulents: Winter Guide
Happy New Year everyone!
I hope you all have had a nice break. I have many queries and DM in regards to growing and rooting succulents during winter so I thought to write a quick blog about it.
Let's do it.
Winter is here. That doesn't mean you should stop buying succulents.
Photo taken in Jan 19
If you have recently bought few new succulents during winter periods (of which you should totally check out my store if you haven't), I would suggest indoor water propagation for new succies to grow new roots. You can repot them once they have grown new roots and leave them outdoor or greenhouse. Young babies should always be kept warm (or at least not under 10 degrees)
If you have a greenhouse that's a bonus but you need to watch out cold drought whenever you open the door, ideally keep your greenhouse above 5 degrees Celsius. Majority of succulents will go into dormant below 5 degrees unless it's your intention, I would suggest you getting a greenhouse heater (ie tubular heater) to keep it between 5-15 degrees. They might start turning green if it's too warm in greenhouse (especially you have spent so much on Korean succulents) ideally you want to keep their vibrant colours by creating extreme temperature difference.
Again reduce your water frequency, majority of them will survive with just the morning dew. If your succulents have gone into dormant, just leave them alone; if not you can water them (not drench them with water) for every 2-3 weeks or once a month (depends on the leaves ie very soft leaves). And avoid rain.
Sunlight is extremely precious. The main reason Korea and Japan could grow such beautiful stressed succies simply because they do get sunlight even during winter, I've previously checked that their UV value is 3 during day time ( it's around 0-15 degrees in December). However for us who live in UK, sorry, we could only rearrange your babies facing the sun when it's out.
If your succulents are stretching out, then you might need to reconsider changing your greenhouse window and film to better materials that allows UVB and UVA penetrates through the greenhouse.
Echeveria Orange Monroe in Jan 19
Types of succulents to watch out:
I only grow certain types of succulents so I can't speak for all of them but based on my observation:
- Echeveria- They are generally super hardy could withstand up to -5 degrees. Goes into dormant around 0 degree
- Pachyphytum- Same as above
- Graptopetalum- Most of my graptopetalums are doing well except Superbum and Purple Delight which almost died due to the cold draught so perhaps watch out these two.
- Pachyveria, Graptoveria, Graptophytum- they should be ok above 0 degree
- Dudleya- probably one of the most hardy one as they are used to growing near the mountains
- Greenovia- generally super hardy could withstand up to -5 degrees. Goes into dormant around 0 degree
- Aeonium- the most sensitive ones, they are usually the first to get cold damage so bring them indoor during winter.
- Variegated- oh well, it's variegated which means you ought to be extra careful with these precious babies. I do recommend taking extra care and perhaps bring them indoor
Can I grow them indoor?
Yes, you can but you need to watch out if they stretch out or turning green. If you grow them by the window sill, you need to watch out for the cold drought as it might kill your young and new succies. There isn't massive temperature difference if you grow them indoor or even worst if it's warm temperature like between 15-20 degrees, the chances of your succulents turning green are very high despite there's grow light.
Can I use grow light?
I downloaded the Lux meter app and basically use my phone (Samsung Galaxy 10) to get the reading, my front camera could read upto 80-90k lx during summer, we are lucky if we could get 30-50k lx during winter. However I have recently discovered these grow light could give me upto 50k lx (depending the length between lights and plants), I have been using these for the past few weeks when we got no sun at all and my babies seem to be doing quite ok. So looks like my Amethystinums would remain round and chubby during winter.
I would suggest water propagation for all the plants with some or little roots (ideally for my plants). Indoor by window sill would do just fine. Grow light would be very useful too.
This is where grow light is very useful. Here is my little tips, I just put my leaves a tray (with no soil) and turn on my grow light. I also cover them light and leaves with aluminium foil (which works as reflector and keep them warm).
I put my succulent by the window sill but they die?!
First of all check the draught wind. Then check if there is any radiator by the window. Succulent don't do well with sudden change of environment ( I think that applies to all the plants). If you have radiator by the window sill, I would suggest move your plants to other spot unless you are completely ok with heater on throughout the winter.
My succulents are changing
If your succulents
- start to develop some colours, that's called stressed and that's should be what you are aiming for- read here for more info
- start to curl up that means she's coupling with the cold temperature and that's a good sign.
As you can see the bottom layer of rosette is starting to curl up and stressed!
- are etiolated that means they need more light.
- are leggy and wide open that's probably too much water and need sun
- are changing to surprising vibrant colours that's sign of rotten
In short regardless in which season, if you wish to grow your succulents to tight, compact and stressed almost 365 days (that's the goal but impossible during summer) then you should read this.
What is the best solution?
If you have outdoor space, grow them outdoor facing the sun and cover with a polysheet. My personal recommendation are
- this Super Therm Polythene sheet.**- It's super high quality, keeps warm yet allows 90% light transmission.
- And I have been purchasing this 4 tier wired shelves rack ** (I currently have 3).
- These grow lights** are my recommendation as they are full spectrum
- Alternatively get UVB lights for reptile- these lights are perfect to stress or maintain the stressed succulents provided they have settled in.
- Get a thermostat to make sure the temperature doesn't fall below 5 degrees or 0 degree if you are pushing it.
- Greenhouse heater- these are warm enough to keep them above 0 degree
- Garden Fleece for extra precaution
**These are not affiliate links
or if your succies are mature plants and have been living outdoor, just don't do anything! But you still have to watch out for the cold frost.
Taken in Dec 19