Succulents are fantastic hardy plants, each with its own unique shape and texture. They are easy plants to grow in containers indoors and out. Plus, they thrive in almost any kind of climate.
When the weather gets warm, most succulent plants enjoy the sun and airflow in an outside environment. Here are some important factors to consider when preparing to plant succulents outdoors.
Which Varieties Grow Well Outside
- Stonecrop Sedums
- Delosperma Mesa Verde
- Delosperma cooperi ‘Trailing Ice Plant’
- Sempervivum (Hens-and-Chicks)
- Opuntia ‘Compressa’
When to Move Succulents Outdoors
If you live in a place that has cold winters, you will likely want to keep your succulents inside in the winter months then move them outside for the summer. Succulents really thrive during the hotter months; they grow better thanks to the increased amount of sunlight and airflow.
For plants in Hardiness Zone 6 – which includes most of Ohio – the best time to move outdoors can vary greatly depending on the average temperatures and the risk of overnight frost. It’s also important to know what the needs of each particular succulent variety that you plan to move. With these considerations in mind, the optimal time to transfer the plants outside will likely be in late spring.
How to Move Succulents Outside
Succulents grow well when the conditions are perfect, neither too cold nor too hot. For this reason, we recommend that gardeners who are just getting familiar with this type of plant keep them in containers. This will allow you to transfer the plants inside whenever the temperatures drop or if the heat gets too intense.
Introduce the plants to the outdoor environment gradually to give them time to adjust to the elements. In order to avoid burning or over drying, try to keep the succulents in the shade during the late morning to midafternoon hours when the sun is most intense. This is especially important for plants that have been planted recently and haven’t yet had the chance to grow a robust root system.
Try setting the pot in a spot that is full shade for a few days, then gradually move it to a location with partial sunlight. Remember that most types of succulents, which are not cacti, prefer indirect sunlight. If your succulent shows signs of suffering, such as noticeable color changes, bleaching or puckering – move it back to a shadier area.
Once the plant has had time to adjust to its new home outside, and you have found a spot with the right amount of sunlight, you may consider planting it in the ground. Sedum and sempervivum are particularly hardy varieties that tend to do well in the ground. With all varieties, ensure that the soil drains well. Standing water or soggy soil will spell disaster for your succulent garden. When choosing a landscaping arrangement, you also want to avoid overcrowding them or blocking sunlight to the shorter plants.
When to Water Outdoor Succulents
Plants growing outside usually need more water than they are living indoors. Of course this varies with the temperature and humidity levels.
If the succulent plant or cacti is in a shallow pot, it may require watering every few days. Check to see if the soil is moist about every 4 to 5 days and water accordingly. Be careful not to water too often. With succulents, it’s always important to let the soil drain completely and the roots dry out between watering.
For succulents planted in the ground, watering may only be needed once a week, depending on the outdoor conditions. Again, plants which have a more mature root system are better equipped to handle longer dry periods. When the soil is dry even a couple inches below the surface, water the plants fully and then let the soil dry completely before watering again.
Gardening is both an art and a science. You should enjoy the process and experiment with different arrangements, varieties, containers and growing environments. It’s easy to let your creativity run wild succulents because they have such a wide variety of unique shapes, textures and colors.
If you have had success growing sedum or sempervivum, for example, see what other succulent varieties your gardening store or greenhouse carries. Kalanchoe, aloe, aeonium and echeveria can be fun plants to try next.
Check out our Tips for Growing Healthy Succulents Indoors as well.
Learn More about Caring for Succulents
Make every day special by surrounding yourself with beautiful plant arrangements. Dietz Floral Studio wants to help aspiring gardeners learn how to arrange, grow and care for their own potted plants.