What temperature is too cold for succulents? | Full guide

Based on the varieties of succulents, the answer to that question will be altered. We can divide all succulents in the world into two groups, as hardy and soft. Some types of succulents can be handled below freezing temperatures. Some few species can live outside when it is -30 degrees.

Soft succulents can be called as tender succulents, and Aloe, Echeveria, Crassula Jade, Kalanchoe, Senecio and Tender Sedums are the examples for soft succulents. Soft succulents can grow indoors and adapt to warm environments like deserts. These kinds of plants don’t have any adaptations to deal with cold temperatures.

Because of those soft succulents it is difficult to handle below-freezing temperatures. Finally, soft succulents can be damaged and finally, death can happen due to cold temperature.

Hardy succulents are hard, compact plants that can handle a great deal. Sedum and Stonecrops are the hardy succulents in the world. Hardy succulents can be tolerated below freezing temperatures because they grow in mountainous environments in northern climates. 

They are not recommended to indoor use and year-round in most of the United States. On the other hand, this type of succulents can be handled all the climatic seasons.

a frozen succulent

How cold hardy are succulents

Cold hardy succulents can be tolerated outdoors in the winters, snow, rainstorms and summer dry spells. Sedum, Sempervivum are the main genera of cold-hardy succulents. Otherwise, Rosularia, Delosperma and Orostachys are other genera of cold-hardy succulents. Some species of Agave and cacti can handle cold and further freezing climates. So, Cold-hardy succulents used for outdoor gardens.


Can succulents get too cold?

Possibility of getting too cold of succulents can be changed the types of succulents. So, some succulents can be gotten too cold, but others cannot.

Soft succulents are lived properly over 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Preferably 40 degrees and up. Soft succulents do not tolerate under freezing conditions. Frost hardy succulents will be tolerated -20 degrees Fahrenheit, and they will live properly under those conditions.

What happens when succulents get too cold?

Effects are changed according to the species and hardiness of the succulents.

Some types of succulents will not change much with too cold climatic conditions but other some species will change their color with a really nice way, and others will go dormant. If they do not carry to the interior or prevent from too cold weather, the remainder will freeze and die.

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Can succulents survive a freeze?

 The answer is yes. But surviving ability can be changed according to the types of succulents. Then some types of succulents can be survived on the freezing conditions, but others cannot.

The result is never awesome when we talk of soft succulents. It’s mean soft succulents cannot survive a freeze. So, definitely soft succulents best to bring inside during the winter season.  Hardy succulents can tolerate frost. Likewise, under freezing conditions, hardy succulents can survive in outdoors.

Can they become Dormant in the cold?

Succulents do not grow in the same rate year-round. Some go through a dormant process and an active phase.  Succulents go dormant when climatic conditions badly affect their growth and maintain the life cycle.

But the temperature at which succulents go dormancy depends on species. Some cold-hardy some succulents can tolerate frost but go dormant below freezing temperatures. Sempervivums are examples for the above incident. But Echeverias are gone dormant at a higher temperature.

During the winter, some succulent species go to the dormant period, while those in the summer enter dormancy. Examples for dormant winter succulents are Adenium, Agave, Ceropegia, Echeveria, Opuntia, Tillandsia, Pachypodium and summer dormant succulents are Aloe, Aeonium, Crassula, Lithops, Senecio, Sedeveria and Crassula.

What succulent species can handle the extreme cold?

 All Sempervivum (called as hens and chicks) and some Sedum species can be handled extreme cold. Otherwise, Rosularia, Delosperma and Orostachys also can be tolerated for extreme cold. These two types of succulent species can be endured to -20 degrees of Fahrenheit.


What is the optimal temperature for Succulent?

The response to this question would depend on the forms and types of succulents. Hardy succulent types can be cold hardy or frost hardy. But some cannot tolerate the frost at all. Others will grow better in full sun and tolerate too heat conditions and rest will need to protect from the too heat conditions.

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Generally, most succulents can be kept in temperatures between 45-85 degrees Fahrenheit (7-29 degrees Celsius). Soft succulents will tolerate over 0℃, but preferably 4℃ and they need to be protected from freezing temperatures and frost. Hardy succulents can be frost hardy or cold hardy.

Both cold-hardy succulents and frost hardy succulents will be tolerated outdoors in the winter. Frost hardy succulents will tolerate -6℃. They can tolerate temperatures below freezing.

How cold can cactus tolerate?

Cactus has several adaptations to survive in cold environments, and they have to do with managing water. Cactus goes dormant when temperatures below freezing.

Then cactus stops growing and limit their cellular process. On the other hand, due to low water inside the plant, there is less risk to crystallization due to freezing, and this allows us to act as a natural antifreeze that offers some protection.   

Do succulents need to come inside during winter?

The answer to that question will depend on the type of succulent.

Hardy succulents – This type of Succulent can be tolerated during winter and can stay outdoors through below-freezing conditions.  Thus, year-round outdoor growing can be accepted for hardy succulents, and they grow and stay better outdoors than inside.

Soft succulents – It is a good idea to bring succulent inside during the winter. Because this type of Succulent cannot be tolerated frost and these varieties must become to inside before temperatures get below freezing. When warm environment returns, they are like to go outside.

When to bring succulents inside?

Frost tolerant succulent that does not want to bring inside, but the type of Succulent that cannot be tolerated frost should be brought inside before it gets too cold outside. These  succulents should carry inside when fall comes around. If you wait until the actual winter, Succulent can be damaged.

What to do to protect your succulents from frost?

The main way of protecting succulents from frost is bringing succulents for indoor living when the climatic condition is starting to rough for the plants. First, at all, succulents should be prepared for indoor living. For that, an insecticide should be sprayed to the surface of the plant.

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Then, remove the debris like things and finally, reduce the water, gradually. After bringing succulents inside, stop watering until soil dry out. During the winter season, watering is done for only prevention from dehydration. Otherwise, enough light should be provided.   

You should know ways to protect outdoor succulents from frost and freezing conditions if you cannot move or transfer plants from outdoors. Frost towels may be used for a period of time at freezing temperatures and it helps to hold the heat in and prevent it from escaping into the cold air.

Furniture can be used as a cover for the succulents which placed in the outdoors. The furniture can be a table or another object. Burlap also can be used as a covering material of succulents to prevent from the frost. If the fabric is thin, can be used two layers of burlap towel.

What is cold colorful succulent stress

After starting the winter season, many succulents start to get nice and colorful colors from cold stress. Succulents are coming in purple, blue and red like colors. Purple succulents are Purple Beauty (Sempervivum tectorum), Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida), Perle von Nurnberg (Echeveria gibbiflora × Echeveria elegans) and Santan Rita Prickly Pear (Opuntia santa rita). Blue succulents are Blue Chalksticks (Senecio serpens), Blue Glow (Agave attenuata × Agave ocahui) and Blue Spurce (Sedum reflexum). Red succulents are campfire Plant (Crassula capitella), Desert cabbage (Kalanchoe luciae), Lipstick (Echeveria agavoides) and Stick on fire (Euphorbia tirucalli)

Light, water and temperature are the key elements that create cold stress colors. Specific succulents are produced really nice colors or unique pigments after exposed to unusual light, temperature or water as a respond. Light is the main factor that affects for creating color of the plants. If the plant gets more sunlight, the plant will be brighter and deeper.

But supplying adequate sunlight is not an easy work to get cold colorful succulent stress. If decreased watering, the plant gets brighter and really nice colors. During the winter, succulents start to get nice colors due to too cold temperatures. 

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About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.