Not everyone is lucky enough to grow succulents outdoors all year round.
In some places where the temperature drops below freezing during the winter, bringing succulents indoors will ensure their survival.
So, if you are one of those who face this kind of situation, this post on how to take care of succulents indoors during the winter is going to be most beneficial to you.
Bringing succulents inside during winter is a lot of work! So, why keep on growing them?
Think of it as a means of bringing happiness inside!
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When it gets cold and dark outside, it’s not unusual to feel a little bit down sometimes. When you experience winter blues, succulent plants can lift your spirit up. Looking at them can bring a smile to your face. It’s priceless!
Plants can keep your sanity. That’s free therapy right there!
Taking care of succulents indoors during winter is worth it.
More oxygen inside your home
Having plants indoors is to your advantage. They can absorb harmful toxins from the environment and give off oxygen. What else can beat that?
You cannot see it, but your body and spirit get to reap the benefits.
Plus, they are low-maintenance plants. They won’t require a lot of your time.
So, let’s talk about ways of smartly dealing with these issues.
Before we come to that, you first need to know how to prepare the plants before bringing them in. It is not a good idea to just bring them in without considering a few things.
The moment you decide on bringing them in, you need to start preparing them.
How to prepare the succulents for overwintering
Here are a few tips for you:
Ensure the plants are properly hydrated
Bringing in plants with wrinkly leaves is not a good idea. That means the plants are not healthy. Water the plants thoroughly two weeks before you plan to move them indoors and do it while they are still outside where there is good air circulation. This will ensure that the soil will dry faster.
When your plants are plump, and their leaves are full of water, you can even skip watering the whole time they are inside because their stored water is enough to sustain their life. Or, in case you do need to water them, they won’t need that much.
Do not bring in unwanted visitors.
If there is anything you need to leave outside, it’s those pests that can multiply indoors. Check the leaves of the plants, especially on the crevices of those tight-leaved Crassulas, and treat them before they multiply. Do not forget to check the soil as well.
Two to three weeks prior, spray them with systemic insecticides to get rid of mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, or any other pests that may multiply and spread to your other plants.
Removing dry leaves can also help. Not only will your plants look well-groomed, but you are also removing the old leaves, which can serve as breeding grounds for insects.
Trim those overgrown ones and save the cuttings.
One way to ensure that you’ll have more plants for the next spring is to save some cuttings. You are dealing with succulent plants, and if you trim them, especially those that have grown into bushes, not only are you keeping them neat and healthy, but the cutting that you get can also survive for months unplanted. And they won’t elongate either.
You can cut them, put them in a vase without water, or lay them on top of tissue papers or a small amount of soil. You’ll be surprised that the plants can survive for months. You will even see them grow some roots, and it’s a good thing!
Now, the most important thing…how to take care of succulents indoors to keep them alive.
Keeping them alive indoors is your utmost priority to ensure that you will have plenty of plants to enjoy and put in your garden come springtime.
Keep the soil dry
Do not bring them in with their soil still wet. To make sure the soil is dry, stop giving them water two weeks prior or when the temperature starts to drop.
Allowing the plants to sit on wet soil longer can cause many problems like overwatering and root rot.
It also means using a soil mixture that will not hold much water. When they are indoors, you need a grittier soil combination. Create a mixture that contains more inorganic materials like pebbles, rocks, or perlite.
For some plants, keeping the soil moist will keep them alive. But for succulents, keeping their roots dry is the key to their survival.
Keep temperatures levels between 50–70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do not give them water if they do not need it. Resist the urge to water just because it has been a while they have not received a drink.
Look at their leaves; if they are still plump, do not water.
Because between keeping them dry versus keeping them wet, keeping them dry most of the time will ensure their survival. Leaving the roots constantly wet can cause them to absorb more water which can result in bloated leaves (which is a sign of overwatering, by the way) and it can also cause root rot.
If you really think they need water because their leaves are wrinkly, go ahead and water, but do it wisely. Being indoors during winter is not the time to give them a good soak.
Water sparingly and give them just enough that will dry out fast.
Trigger them to become dormant
When the weather is not favorable for their growth, some succulents will sleep. Not giving them water for a longer time will make them go dormant. The plants will conserve their stored water, and there won’t be much activity in the plant. It will not grow in size nor produce any sprouts. And that’s fine.
When spring comes, and the weather is favorable again for them, you will see how fast they will grow.
How to fit them all inside when you’ve collected a lot
This can be an overwhelming situation.
These plants are so adorable that we sometimes lose control. We keep on buying them only to realize later on that we don’t have enough space for them once it’s time to bring them in for shelter.
Here are a few tips that can help you save up some space.
- Plant them together
Instead of planting them in an individual pot, plant them together or create an arrangement. That way, instead of finding a place for ten pots, you will need only one.
Try to put together succulents from the same family or with the same needs—for water and light.
- Invest in vertical planters
You’ll save a lot of space if you display them in multiple layers instead of having just one level. There are so many options you can find online nowadays.
- Group them based on their light requirement
Just like what you did outside, where you separated those that can survive frost and those that cannot do the same for indoors. But this time, segregate them based on their light requirements.
Succulents have varying degrees of light requirements. Most of them prefer bright light while others are more tolerant of less.
How to prevent elongation
Aside from keeping them alive, of course, you want to keep them in the same shape.
Those beautiful Echeverias will no longer look attractive once they elongate.
You will know that the plants are looking for more light when they begin to stretch out. It will start from the middle, and it often grows toward the direction of the light. The leaves then become smaller and grow even thinner as they elongate. To learn how to fix elongated succulents, you can read more here.
Here’s how to prevent elongation.
Find a bright spot
Some succulents will do well in your windowsill or areas where you have natural light, others will not.
Rotate them once in a while
Make it a habit to rotate the pot once in a while. The light from the windowsill might be enough, but letting the planter stay in one direction the whole winter may cause some imbalance of how the plant grows in general.
One side might grow a bit longer than the other. That is because the area that gets lesser light can grow longer compared to the side that has more light. To even out their growth, turn the pot at least once a week.
Invest in grow lights
Although some will do well on windowsills, to some, it won’t be enough. Some succulents, especially the colorful species, will need more light than what the windows can provide.
Get yourself a reliable grow light. Invest in it once, and you get to use it again and again. And your plants will love you for it. They will even have the chance to become more colorful than when they were outside.
Buy grow lights that will address your specific location or space requirements. There are tons of options out there. If you have limited space, you can get bendable lamps or strip lights. If you have a massive collection already, use the more industrial ones to give you better range and coverage.
Continue enjoying your succulents either indoors or outdoors. As long as you know what to do, you can keep them alive year-round!