How does plant care change from summer to winter?

Seasonal plant care will depend on when a succulent variety's growth and dormant seasons are and whether it is indoors or outdoors. The majority of succulents have a spring/summer growing season and slow down or shed leaves in the winter cold. The notable exceptions that grow in winter and go semi-dormant in summer are Aeonium, Aloe, Gasteria, and Haworthia. As for whether your succulent can spend the winter outdoors, compare your Hardiness Zone to the Cold Hardiness listed on your succulent's tag or on it description on our site. If the plant's cold hardiness is lower than the minimum annual temperature in your zone, that plant is good to stay outdoors year-round.

Growing Season vs. Dormant Season Care

  • Dormant and semi-dormant succulents need little to no water
  • Do not fertilize just before or during a plant's dormant season
  • Growing succulents will be more responsive to climatic changes than dormant succulents and need gradual transitions to acclimate

Overwintering Outdoor Succulents

  • (Potentially) transplant: If you have a couple months before the first frost, plant in the ground or in extra large containers to insulate roots with a thick layer of soil
  • Remove dry leaves: Succulents naturally shed old basal leaves but in winter they can get soggy and cause rot
  • Protect from water: Dormant succulents need little to no water and should be protected from heavy rain and runoff from roofs and gutters.
  • Insulate: Ideally, hardy succulents are insulated under a blanket of snow through winter, but Reemay ground cloth can be a good alternative in snow-free climates for large area, in-ground plantings.

Overwintering Indoor Succulents

  • Light: Even sunny rooms are far less bright than shady spots outdoors. Compensate for this and short, winter days by keeping your plants near sunny windows or placing them under a dedicated grow light.
  • Soil and pots: Drainage is especially important to keep succulents from getting soggy in the winter. If you're not already using pots with drainage holes and gritty, well-draining soil, consider repotting to improve drainage.
  • Airflow: It can be tough even for well-draining soil to fully dry out indoors during the winter, but keeping succulents in rooms with good airflow will help speed up evaporation and keep pests and rot at bay.
  • Water: Reduce your watering frequency, not only because it takes longer for the soil to dry out in winter, but also because many succulent varieties are not actively growing and taking in water.