When Should You Bring Succulents Indoors for the Season?
When I first started admiring succulents from afar, I thought they needed to be in their natural habitat–the desert (or at least hot areas). But after doing some research, I realized that succulents can adapt to other environments and still look just as beautiful.
Many people bring their succulents indoors for the winter season in areas where the temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or for the summer where the temperature increases above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. But when is the best time to do this, and are there necessary steps to help your succulents thrive in new climate changes?
The main thing to consider when bringing your succulents indoors is the temperature. But you also have to be aware that your plant will need time to adjust to a different climate.
Succulents are a type of plant that is characterized by their thick leaves and ability to store water. While succulents are typically associated with desert climates, they can actually be grown in a variety of different climates – as long as you know what to do.
One of the questions that many new succulent owners are asking is when to bring succulents inside for the season. If this is a decision you’re faced with, I’ll help you troubleshoot when to bring them indoors, how to acclimate them, and which varieties can tolerate colder weather.
How to Determine When to Bring Your Succulent Inside
There are different indicators you can use to decide when it’s time to bring your succulents indoors. But ultimately, knowing which types of succulents you own and how to care for them specifically is key.
Identify Your Succulents
To make an informed decision on when to bring your succulents inside, you should know what types you have. This is important because some succulents are more cold-tolerant than others and can withstand cooler temperatures. Other succulents are more heat-sensitive and should be brought indoors before the temperature reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit on a consistent basis.
Inspect Your Succulent’s Leaves
Another way to tell if your succulent needs to come inside is by inspecting the leaves. If the leaves are full and fleshy, this is an indicator that they cannot withstand freezing temperatures. But if the leaves are thin, this means that they are more likely to tolerate colder weather.
Another way to tell if your succulent is struggling in the cold is by observing the leaves for any color changes. If the leaves start to turn yellow or brown, this is a sign that they are getting too much water, and the soil is no longer drying out due to cooler weather and increased rainfall.
If the plants are turning vibrant colors or a white powdery residue is forming on the leaves, this is an indication that they are getting a lot of sunlight. While these reactions are protective measures for succulents, keep an eye on them to ensure they get some shade during the hottest time of the year.
During your inspection, check for pests like mealybugs. These can quickly spread to your other houseplants if they are not treated before you bring your succulents inside.
Check the Temperature
Check the forecast to see if temperatures will be dipping below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the near future. If so, this is a sign that you need to bring your succulent indoors for the winter season.
You can use a variety of different methods to check the temperature such as by downloading a weather app, tuning into the weather station, or using a physical thermometer. Keeping on top of the forecast and daily weather trends will help you to get a better idea of when it’s time to move your succulent inside.
If you live in an area where the temperature is known to drop below freezing, it’s best to err on the side of caution and bring your succulent inside before the cold snap hits.
Related: How to Propagate Succulents
How to Acclimate Your Succulents to a New Climate
After you’ve decided that it’s time to bring your succulents indoors, it’s important to give them a chance to acclimate to their new environment. This process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, and there are a few things you can do to help them adjust.
Step 1: Choose a Bright Spot
The first step is to find a location in your home that has bright, indirect sunlight. Succulents need plenty of sunlight to grow, but keep in mind that too much direct light can cause them to sunburn. A south-facing window is typically the best spot in the house for succulents.
If you don’t have a south-facing window, you can also place your plants near an east- or west-facing window. Just make sure to move them around every few days so that all sides of the plant get an equal amount of light.
If you don’t have enough windowsill space, you can also use grow lights to provide your succulents with the light they need to grow. Placing them in a corner of a room with no access to sunlight can cause them to become leggy and stretch toward the nearest ray of light.
Step 2: Repot Them in Well-Draining Soil
If you’re moving your succulents from the ground into the house, you’ll need to repot them into well-draining potting soil. A succulent soil mixture contains ingredients like potting soil, perlite, and coarse sand.
This type of soil will help to keep the roots from rotting and will provide the plant with the nutrients it needs to grow. When repotting your succulent, make sure to use an appropriate pot that has drainage holes in the bottom.
Step 3: Move Them Inside Overnight
Start acclimating your succulents by moving them inside when the nights begin to cool. You can place them back in their original locations outside during the day while the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and it’s dry. Now that your plants are in pots, be extra careful not to let them sit in constant rain showers.
The goal is to keep your succulents in a climate that remains as consistent as possible. So if you keep your home around 72 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, try to bring your plants inside before the temperature falls drastically below this point. The same goes for the amount of sun you provide in the new location inside your home. Avoid providing significantly more or less sunlight without slowly acclimating your succulents to the change.
Related: How to Make Your Succulents Grow Faster and Bigger
Step 4: Keep a Two-Week Acclimation Schedule
Acclimating your succulents to changes in climate should be a gradual process that takes up to two weeks. If your plants have died after moving them inside in the past, keeping a schedule during the first two weeks could help. Try to move your plants to their new home in one-hour increments. So for example, on day one, leave them inside for one hour in the morning and back out for the remainder of the day. On day two, leave them inside for two hours, and so on.
Keep an eye on your plants during this time and make sure they’re receiving the proper amount of light and water. If you notice any signs of stress such as wilting leaves, adjust the schedule as needed. The slower you can acclimate your succulents when moving them to a new home, the better.
There are times when acclimating your plants is not practical. For example, if you are gifted a new plant, buy a new one from your local greenhouse, or realize it’s about to freeze tonight. Just do your best to mirror the conditions that your plant came from.
Step 5: Adjust Their Watering Schedule
One of the most important things to remember when bringing your succulent indoors is to be aware of their water needs. This is because they will likely be receiving a different amount of sunlight or moving air than they are used to. Additionally, if you are moving them inside where you are heating with forced air this can cause the plant to dry out more quickly.
When first acclimating your succulent to its new environment, pause your watering schedule for a few days to avoid stressing your plant. Water it no more than once a week and then gradually increase the amount of water as needed. Make sure not to overwater them, as this can lead to root rot.
Common Signs That Your Succulent Is Stressed
There are a few signs that your succulent may be stressed after moving it. If you notice any of these, make sure to take action to help your plant recover.
Vibrant colored leaves: Many succulents change in color with the amount of sunlight they receive. For example, if sunlight increases, they may display vibrant stress colors as a protective measure. And if the sunlight decreases, their color may dull or even turn back to green.
Wilting leaves: This is often a sign of too much sun or heat. Move your plant to a shadier spot or make sure excessive air is not hitting its leaves.
Yellowing leaves: If the leaves of your succulent are turning yellow, this is usually a sign of overwatering. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering it again.
Leaves falling off: If the leaves of your succulent are falling off, this could be a sign of too much or too little water, as well as a lack of nutrients. Try to maintain a consistent watering schedule and make sure the plant is getting enough sunlight.
Related: How to Use Worm Castings for Succulents
More Questions About Moving Your Succulents Indoors
There are many scenarios where it might feel right to shield your succulents from harsh elements. But those hardy plants can take more than you might think.
Should I bring my succulents inside when it rains?
No, you don’t need to bring your succulents inside when it rains. In fact, rainwater can actually be beneficial for these plants since it helps them to absorb nutrients and stay hydrated.
Just make sure that you allow your succulents to drain properly after a rainstorm so that they don’t get too much water. You can do this by placing them on a surface that allows water to drain or by using a pot with drainage holes.
Which succulents can stay outside in winter?
There are actually quite a few varieties of succulents that can tolerate colder weather, including sedum, sempervivum, and delosperma. If you live in an area with cold winters, you’ll want to make sure that you choose one of these varieties for your garden. When the weather starts to get chilly, you’ll want to move your plants indoors so that they don’t freeze and die.
Related: How to Start a Greenhouse for Succulents (Indoors or Out!)
Can succulents live outside in summer?
Yes, succulents prefer to live outside during summer! Just make sure that they’re getting enough sunlight and water. If you live in an area with very hot summers, you may want to consider moving your plants into partial shade so that they don’t get scorched by the sun. Most varieties of succulents can handle full sun without any problems.
What temperature is too cold for succulents?
Each type of succulent has its preferences. Some varieties, like sedum and sempervivum, can tolerate freezing temperatures as long as they’re not exposed to frost for extended periods of time. Other varieties, like echeveria, won’t do well in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re not sure what temperature is too cold for your particular variety of succulents, it’s best to err on the side of caution and bring them indoors when the weather starts to get chilly.
Acclimating Succulents to Climate Changes is Key
The most important thing to remember when moving your succulents indoors is to acclimate them slowly to the change in climate. This means giving them time to adjust to the new environment before making any drastic or permanent changes.
Caring for succulents indoors is relatively easy – as long as you know what you’re doing! By creating a routine for your plants, you’ll be able to keep them healthy and happy all year round.
Just remember to bring them indoors slightly before the weather gets cold and give them plenty of sunlight during the warmer months. With a little bit of care, your succulents will thrive no matter what time of year it is!