Winter preparation for succulent plants begins as our light begins to fade and temperatures begin to drop, this natural process triggers the plants into a period of dormancy. Succulent plants will sit dormant during the colder darker months here in the UK and it will be spring before they will want to develop their roots and grow again with any vigour.
Unless you are going to give your succulents lots of warmth (hot kitchen windowsill) and strong light (artificial grow lights) to extend your growing period, then the following guidelines will help your plants through the winter.
We keep all our plants outside in the greenhouse over winter following these guidelines.
Usually we would stop watering most of our succulent plants from the end of September unless the weather is exceptionally warm and sunny. The plants will want to sit dry over the winter period. We would start to water again when we have had a run of warm bright days in February/March. All our plants shipped at this time will be very dry and possibly a little shrivelled. This is actually the best way to ship the plants as we find they sustain less damage, but soon revive themselves as the warmer brighter weather appears and watering commences more fully, and they want to grow.
As the plants are looking to be dormant over this period, they will not need any additional food. We would look to give them a good feed in early spring with their second or third drink. We feed a low nitrogen and high potash & phosphorus feed that gives them the kick they need to start the spring. Click here.
As the temperature begins to drop and we are getting chilly evenings in September we start to bring in any succulent plants that we have put outside for the summer. At this time of year it is likely any rain we are having is not drying up as fast as it could do and the plants are sitting too wet for too long, that and the damp chilly mornings will not suit the plants. We move the plants back into the green house to dry out, we will heat the greenhouse over the winter to about +5 degrees.
Similar to the summer months light is important to succulent plants, although they are not growing vigorously, they will need access to as much light as you can give them. This helps the plant to retain colour and compact form.