What Temperature Is Too Cold For Succulents?

Succulents are great for gardeners who love beautiful plants and do not have a green thumb. Succulent plants are low maintenance and can thrive right through the winter when frost and snow is present. What temperature does a succulent need in order to survive?

Succulents are temperamental plants that should not be kept in extremely low temperatures. Cold environments cannot sustain succulents, and if you notice the temperatures dropping outside, act quickly to prevent succulents from freezing.  

Succulents are not likely to live in temperatures lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees, succulents can freeze and die. 

Succulents should be brought inside when temperatures drop below forty degrees Fahrenheit. Read on to discover how to care for your succulent when temperatures drop, why forty degrees is a point of no return for succulents, and what other temperatures pose problems for these plants. 

Why is 40 Degrees Fahrenheit Too Cold for a Succulent Plant?

Temperatures between 30- and 40-degrees Fahrenheit pose some extreme risks for succulent plants. Forty-degrees Fahrenheit poses a threat to succulent plans because that is the temperature at which they will begin to change color, and when they approach their freezing point, they will begin to develop frost and rot. Soft succulents are not able to withstand frost, and at 40 degrees Fahrenheit will develop frost on the leaves and other parts of the plant. 

Temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit are extremely dangerous for succulents.

Risk at Temperatures Between 30- and 40-Degrees Fahrenheit

Succulents are at risk for freezing in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The colors of your succulent plant will begin to change once it reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. At that point, if you don’t move the plants into a warmer setting, they will start to reach their freezing point, and begin to die. 

If your succulent is exposed to temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant will begin to freeze. There is a short window of time from the point that your succulent reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit to the time it will freeze. Succulents, especially soft succulent variations, should be brought indoors before temperatures get to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In cases where succulents aren’t brought into temperature-controlled environments at 40 degrees, you will notice some prominent color changes in your succulent as it begins to reach its freezing point. The colors will become deeper and more vibrant until ice crystals form on the leaves and other parts of the plant. The longer the succulent plant is in colder temperatures, the more frost will develop on the leaves and soil. The plant will begin to show signs of rot and a black or brown discoloration before dying. 

Temperatures Below 32 Degrees Fahrenheit

The freezing point of succulent plants is around 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Succulent plants cannot sustain life at this temperature and will begin to freeze and die off. You should transfer outdoor succulents kept in pots or potable containers inside during the winter to keep them alive. 

If you begin to see tiny ice crystals forming on the plant’s leaves, you will need to immediately bring it into a warmer environment. If you fail to bring the plant in once ice crystals form on its leaves, it will become harder to revive once it is in a warmer environment. Most succulents cannot tolerate frost, and if exposed to it, they will begin to fade and eventually die. Bring non-frost tolerant succulents indoors at night to avoid killing them. 

Changes in Your Succulents at Extreme Temperatures

Color changes are the most noticeable change in succulents exposed to extreme temperature, whether high or low. Colors in succulents will begin to intensify when they reach 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the closer they get to their freezing point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, they will start to look dull and shrivel. 

Another color change in succulents is brown or black areas appearing on leaves or other parts of the plant. Weather that is too cold causes plant cells to burst, giving the appearance of rot. If the leaves or any other part of your succulent begin to turn a dark brown or black color, you may have left it at a temperature that is too cold for the succulent to remain healthy. 

Are There Succulents That Can Live in Extreme Temperatures?

Hardy succulents are a type of succulent that can tolerate frost. Hardy succulents are suitable for growth outdoors all year round, even in below-freezing temperatures. Sedum and Prometheum are two types of hardy succulents that can survive in these harsh, colder temperatures. 

Hardy succulents can withstand temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit and can withstand extreme drought. These types of succulents are extremely low maintenance, and because of the cooler temperatures they can survive in, they are more colorful and vibrant.

What is the Optimal Temperature for Succulent Plants?

It is essential to keep succulents at their optimal temperature around the clock. The ideal temperature for succulents is 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures, along with soil that is kept relatively dry, will let succulents flourish and prevent them from either freezing or burning. 

For succulents to grow healthy, they should be grown in the temperature range from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The USDA developed a scale known as plant hardiness map that divides North America into 13 hardiness zones for succulents suitable to grow in those zones. Visit the USDA website to determine your area’s hardiness zone, and what types of succulents are ideas for growth in your zone. The hardiness zone map will give you the option to choose either hardy or soft succulents to plant and tell you if you’ll need to bring them indoors or if they will be able to withstand conditions year-round. 

How to Keep Succulents at Optimal Temperatures

If your succulents are planted outside, you may consider transplanting them around a month before the first winter frost in your area. Succulents can be transplanted into flower pots and kept inside during the winter. If your succulents are in pots, be sure to transport them indoors at night as well as before the first frost of the winter and through the months with colder temperatures. 

Always make sure that your indoor succulents get plenty of sunlight.

If transplantation isn’t an option, considering covering your outdoor succulents with a cloth before precipitation. Keeping the soil dry is a must for succulents. Keep indoor succulents away from drafty windows to prevent freezing, but make sure they still receive sunlight, either naturally or with a grow light. 

Frost cloths are explicitly made to protect outdoor plants from harsh conditions. Frost cloths like the Sunpro Plant Protector can be held down with heavy objects at the corners during precipitation or cold conditions to keep plants insulated and not subject to rain or snow. 

Temperatures too High for Succulents

Temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit can pose similar risks for succulents as freezing temperatures. You should protect your succulent by transporting it to a shaded area, or if they are in pots, potentially indoors. Extremely high temperatures, especially those above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, can be deadly for most succulents. 

Temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit can also damage your succulents.

Like the effects of colder temperatures, in extremely warm temperatures, the colors of your succulent will begin to intensify until reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit, when the plant will start to burn, turning a brown or black color. If your succulent plants are exposed to extreme sunlight or higher temperatures, the roots and leave of the plant will appear fried or “sunburned.”  

Conclusion

Succulents are temperamental plants that cannot be kept at cold temperatures. At temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, succulents begin to experience changes, including extreme color change, but they will freeze and possibly die by the time they reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, in temperatures higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, succulents run the risk of burning in extreme temperatures or intense sunlight. To protect your succulent plants, bring them indoors or in temperature-controlled areas to prevent freezing or burning. 

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