Top 10 Cold-Resistant Succulents for Your Garden

Cold-hardy succulents are easier for many of us to grow than those native to the deserts and mountains of the southwest. Here, we list some of the most common succulent plants for container gardens who can tolerate a range of temperatures.
Blue spruce covered with snow.

We know succulents are a great way to add life and color to our homes and gardens. Most of these plants are drought-resistant and thrive in areas with plenty of sunlight. But do you know that some succulents are cold-hardy, too? Cold-hardy succulents can survive in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. They may experience some leaf damage or wilting, but they usually fully recover with proper care.

So, what are some of the common cold-hardy succulents? Some of the most popular cold-hardy succulents include Echeveria, Queen Victoria Agave, Sedum, Red Yucca, Texas Sotol, Pink Ice Plant, Sempervivum, Blue Elf, Lace Aloe, Delosperma, and Orostachys. These plants require well-drained soil with plenty of sand or gravel for added drainage. They must also be watered only when their soil has completely dried out. Avoid over-watering, as this could cause root rot or other problems with your succulents.

This blog post discusses some of the common cold-hardy succulents in detail. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Understanding Your Horticultural Zone

Before looking at some cold-hardy succulents, you must understand your horticultural zone. The best way to do this is to study the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map and key in your ZIP code (for USA residents) to gather helpful information on your USDA horticultural zone.

But why is this important? Knowing your horticultural zone helps you identify which plants will grow best in your climate. It also gives you an idea of the lowest temperatures your succulents can tolerate.

In the case of cold-hardy succulents, it’s essential to know what weather conditions can reach your area so that you can plant accordingly and ensure the survival of your succulents.

Remember that the most crucial step in your gardening journey is knowing you have the right plant for your horticultural zone.

While cold-hardy succulents can tolerate freezing temperatures, their survivability is always limited.

What Are Some of the Common Cold-Hardy Succulents?

Now that you know what your horticultural zone is, let’s look at some common cold-hardy succulents.

Sempervivum

One of the most common cold-hardy succulents is the sempervivum. Also known as houseleek or the hens and chicks plant, the plant is known for its rosette shape and bright colors.

A sempervivum on rocks and exposed to sunlight.
The succulent has a rose shape that may form dense mats.

The succulent gets its name from the mother plant (hen), which produces many baby plants (chicks). The succulent makes an excellent ground cover plant and is relatively easy to care for.

It produces rosettes that can be as small as 1/4 inch or as wide as 15 inches, depending on a wide range of factors.

The succulent has a rose shape that may form dense mats. Sempervivum can survive in almost every soil type and comes in many shapes, textures, and colors.

Many gardeners use it in rock gardens and container projects because of its hardy nature. The succulent is easy to propagate and can be propagated using offsets, division, or leaf cuttings.

Unfortunately, sempervivum succulents are monocarpic, meaning they flower only once in their lifetime and then die. It usually takes the succulent between two and five years to bloom.

However, the flowering of the plant doesn’t mean the end since the chicks surrounding the mother plant continue growing and fill the space left behind by the mother plant.

Its flowers are star-shaped and spectacular. They can be pink, red, or yellow and may reach up to two feet tall, lasting between two to four weeks.

Sempervivum is typically hardy to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, but some varieties can tolerate even lower temperatures. The plant grows in well-drained soil and can survive temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit with proper care.

Queen Victoria Agave

Many people describe Queen Victoria Agave as the most decorative and cold hardy succulent. This agave variety is native to Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala, where it grows on rocky hillsides in full sun exposure.

The plant has an upright rosette of deep-green foliage tipped with yellow or brown margins and a central stem reaching one foot tall.

A queen victoria agave plant.
This agave variety is native to Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala, where it grows on rocky hillsides in full sun exposure.

The Queen Victoria Agave is drought tolerant and has been known to be hardy down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

The plant blooms in late summer, sending up a flower spike that can reach ten feet tall. The flowering period can last six weeks or more; the flowers are yellowish-green with red bracts.

The Queen Victoria Agave produces offsets or pups around the base of the plant, and these can be used to propagate new plants. However, protecting the plant from extremely cold temperatures during winter is also crucial.

Pink Ice Plant

The famous Pink Ice Plant is native to South Africa, where it grows on rocky hillsides and in well-drained soils. It features attractive pink flowers with yellow centers.

The plant can reach up to 6 inches tall and has a creeping nature, making it ideal for use as a ground cover planting, in rock gardens, and as a container plant.

It is resistant to most pests and diseases; however, it is crucial to plant it in well-drained soil. The Pink Ice Plant is hardy down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and can be propagated by division or cuttings.

Opuntia

Several cacti species from the Opuntia genus are cold-hardy and won’t have issues surviving outdoors during winter.

Most opuntia species can grow outdoors in horticultural zones 3b through 11. O. Fragilis can withstand low temperatures of up to -35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Opuntia plant covered in snow.
These cacti are drought-resistant and can handle periods of prolonged dryness without issue.

Opuntia species feature fleshy, flattened stems that are called pads. These pads contain small spines known as glochids which guard against animals and help the plants store water for long periods.

The plant has yellow flowers with showy red centers, producing edible fruits known as ‘tuna.’

These cacti are drought-resistant and can handle periods of prolonged dryness without issue. They prefer well-drained soil and must be planted in a sunny position for best results.

Opuntias don’t grow tall but spread out over time, forming an interesting pattern with their round, green pads. They can be propagated through stem cuttings and offsets.

The prickly pear cactus is an excellent choice for security borders around your property or underneath windows. Most of them grow up to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide.

Orostachys

Orostachys is a small, low-maintenance succulent native to mountains in Central Asia. It features rosettes of bright green leaves with red tips and colorful purple flowers during summer.

The plant is hardy down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit and loves full sun exposure and well-draining soil. Orostachys can also survive periods of drought and requires minimal maintenance during winter.

The succulent can be propagated by division or leaf cuttings, and it is ideal for rock gardens, perennial beds, and container planting. It also makes an excellent houseplant due to its low-maintenance requirements.

Orostachys is a great choice for gardeners looking for a low-maintenance succulent with attractive foliage and flowers. It’s sure to bring some color and texture to your outdoor spaces.

Blue Elf

The Blue Elf is an interesting succulent because it is a pure hybrid. However, people need to find out the two plants that were crossed to form them. The plant features spoon-shaped blue-green leaves with white edging and pinkish-red tips.

The plant grows up to eight inches tall and will branch out into an interesting shape over time. The Blue Elf is hardy down to ten degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for growing outdoors in many horticultural zones.

It prefers well-draining soil and will require regular watering during the growing season but won’t need much maintenance during winter. The plant can be propagated through stem cuttings or offsets.

The Blue Elf is an excellent choice for gardeners looking to add some unusual color and texture to their outdoor spaces.

Blue Spruce

The Blue Spruce features a furry, fern-like structure ideal for small spaces. The plant features silver-blue foliage and produces tiny yellow flowers in spring.

A blue spruce with snow.
Its unique foliage will bring a touch of class to any garden.

The Blue Spruce is hardy down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit and can be grown outdoors in many horticultural zones. It requires sandy, well-drained soil and prefers a sunny position, but it can tolerate some shade.

The plant is easy to maintain and requires minimal care during winter. It can be propagated through stem cuttings or leaf cuttings.

The Blue Spruce is an excellent choice for gardeners looking to add texture and interest to their outdoor spaces. Its unique foliage will bring a touch of class to any garden.

Cobweb Houseleek

The Cobweb Houseleek is a succulent with an exciting name and even more interesting features. It features foliage ranging from light green to silvery blue and produces delicate white flowers during summer.

The plant also has wiry cobweb-like threads all over its leaves, giving it a unique look.

Cobweb houseleek in a pot.
The Cobweb Houseleek is a succulent with an exciting name and even more interesting features.

The Cobweb Houseleek is hardy down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit and prefers well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.

It requires regular watering during the growing season but can withstand long periods of drought without issue.

The succulent can be propagated through stem cuttings or offsets, making it an excellent choice for gardeners looking to add unique texture and color to their outdoor spaces. It is sure to bring a touch of character to your garden.

Summary

Cold-hardy succulents can be a great addition to any garden or home, regardless of location.

Succulents such as Sempervivum, Queen Victoria Agave, Pink Ice Plant, Opuntia, Orostachys, Blue Elf, Blue Spruce, and Cobweb Houseleek are some of the most popular ones found in colder regions.

Anyone looking to add warmth to their outdoor space or fill indoor planters with greenery should consider one of these impressive succulents.

Last update on 2024-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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