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Winter can be a bit boring, right? The garden looks all grumpy without the gorgeous color display of spring and summer. Yes, we love our tender, succulent plant varieties.
But today, we want to share some winter succulents that will brighten up your outdoor plant collection with a splash of color.
12 Best Cold Hardy Succulents
The list of cold hardy succulents collected just for you truly thrive in the fierceness of winter. These plants can thrive in the USDA hardiness zone five in temperature drops to -15°F. These outdoor succulents are outstanding performers in the garden year-round.
So, check out our colorful bunch that blooms colorful flowers attracting local pollinators.
1. Winter Hardy Agave
No matter what Agave you have, they make gorgeous sculptural additions to the landscaping. Still, not all of them can handle cold climates. But the Agave parryi is one cold hardy succulent known as Parry’s century plant.
The plant survives very cold climates and forms silver rosettes with serrated leaves. The bloom is enormous, and towers after the hardy succulents reach 15 years. The flowers attract hummingbirds, and once the mother plant dies, she produces more offspring before blooming.
The plant is a slow-growing succulent that grows individually, forming larger yet compact groups with spherical growth habits. The succulent looks fabulous in rock gardens with yellow to orange inflorescences.
The pink ice plant, or Delosperma, is another plant that thrives in colder climates. It is a low-maintenance succulent that grows as ground cover in the garden. It creates dazzling dense mats when it blooms, attracting pollinators.
The well-known Delosperma cooperi has a trailing habit that can spill out of any corner grown in containers or hanging baskets. The leaves are dull green, and the flowering period is July to October.
You will see cup-like flowers in pink, and the ice plant does need partial shade during frost. But the winter hardiness is excellent.
3. Border Stonecrop Sedums
A stellar cold hardy species to have in the garden is the stonecrop Sedum spurium which is lush yet colorful in the landscaping. It has a cushion forming growth that spreads. The leaves are oval and notched in an evergreen color.
The flowering period is July to August, with small umbel-shaped bright flowers varying in crimson red, or some have pink star-shaped blooms. Another notable thing is to divide the plant every two years and remove any weak shoots or roots.
One more great thing is this plant can thrive below freezing temperatures.
4. Cold Hardy Succulent Cactus
When growing succulents needing winter growers, one would not think of planting a cactus. Yet, the exciting thing is that some prickly pear cactus varieties can tolerate frost. One of these succulents is the Opuntia Pinta Rita, which has a unique color.
The turquoise leaf pads stand out in any rock garden and have blushes of purple to magenta when stressed. Once in bloom, it displays lemon-yellow flowers that last from spring to fall. Even if you have some other prickly pear cactus species, they turn brown and bounce back a few weeks later.
5. Sempervivum calcareum
The Sempervivum calcareum is a perennial succulent plant known as the houseleek. It also forms a dense mat that multiplies with short-stalked offsets. It is an undemanding variety with dense rosettes that has a spherical growth with a gray-green color.
The leaf tips are red, and the flowering time is from June to August, displaying delicate pink flowers with yellow eyes.
6. Oreocereus celsianus
The old man of the Andes is a dark green columnar cactus wrapped in white fur as if protected from the cold. In between, it grows long yellowish thorns and blooms these beautiful pink flowers in summer.
The cactus grows out sideways, and at the end of the summer, you see spherical fruit appear. All it needs is well-draining soil with warmer temperatures to bloom. Yet, the cold hardiness of this cactus is good.
7. Cylindropuntia imbricata
Another fascinating succulent plant you will find that is very resistant to cold is the cane cholla. The cactus has a tree-like growth, and it is fast growing standing in rock gardens. The cane cholla branches grow upwards with points and are diagonally apart.
The ends of the columnar are covered with brown thorns that grow relatively long. You see flowers in summer that are dark pink to magenta, and these are hardy succulents. It can withstand temperatures down to minus 30 degrees.
8. Sempervivum Blaukraut
Wow, this is one magnificent plant that needs minimal watering and has an unusual color scheme.
The rosettes are large with a dark purple hue, and it has a black-to-purple center in early spring.
As the temperatures change and it gets warmer, it turns to a bluish color and resembles a red tone similar to cabbage. It can withstand even first frost to freezing temperatures below zero.
9. Sempervivum ‘Leopold’
The Leopold is a new succulent breed that needs good soil to drain well. You can plant it indoors if the pots have enough drainage holes. The leaves grow broad, and it is finely serrated.
The fascinating thing is these succulents remain a dark purple color year round, and with enough sunlight, the color becomes more intense.
Flowering is moderate, but it thrives in cold weather. The plant looks great in a cactus garden, gravel beds, or container planting.
10. Orostachys iwarenge
The Chinese Dunce Cap is like growing three plants as it starts low with a dense spread mat and then bursts into silvery-lavender spires. It then continues to grow upwards during the summer to fall months.
Then suddenly, it supprises you with tiny flowers but dies after completing the bloom cycle. Yet, the good news is it forms clusters that are sometimes followed with offsets you can propagate. When removed, you can keep it growing and plant it in succulent soil.
11. Mammilaria bocasana
The powder puff cactus might look delicate, but they are hardy succulents that can withstand temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The flowers can range from pink and cream to yellow in color.
Sometimes the blooms form a halo-like color with the shades intermixed. It has white hair-like spines that give this cactus its charm and look. It remains small and works well as a filler in outdoor containers or even flowerbeds.
But this cactus needs enough light, so keep it in full sun with enough air flow and soil that drains well to thrive in wet winters.
12. Rosularia platyphylla
Now, if you want a succulent that needs little attention compared to most succulents, this is the one to have. The succulent prefers being left alone to grow. Yet, while it can withstand cold weather, it is susceptible to rot when the soil is very wet.
So, provide it with succulent soil made up of sand and grit. It is a slow-growing species that can spread and produce clusters forming a dense rosette in a lush green. The flowers grow on upward stems displayed in an ivory-yellow to white color.
Tips For Buying Winter Succulents
Shopping for winter succulents is fun, but there are some factors you can consider when making a purchase. Even with our list of hardy succulents, you can look at specific tell-tale health signs before selecting to grow in landscaping or indoors.
The Color of The Succulent
We recommend looking at the color of the succulents you want to consider. Compared to other indoor plants, most succulents are green. But you can find some of them in blue, black, red, or purple.
Furthermore, you can compare the color of the succulent to other healthy species on images online. Lastly, if you notice brown leaves or a yellow hue, it can result from severe root conditions.
Even a hardy succulent can get some frostbite as succulents store water in the leaves. When the waters are exposed to extreme cold, it freezes, and the foliage splits, resulting in permanent scarring. Hence, it changes the leaf texture.
The same happens to the leaves in extreme heat as it also changes the leaf texture when getting too much sun. So, check for these signs before investing in your plants. Removing the damaged leaves is the best way to eliminate the scarring.
While these are all cold, hardy succulents, you still need to provide them with outdoor winter care. Ensure they receive enough light and refrain from watering, as your succulents also go into winter dormancy, as many succulents do.
With some tender loving care, your hardy succulents will surprise you with gorgeous colors and a display of flowers from spring to late summer.