New to succulents- is it too cold to grow in Boston?

heidispargelJanuary 22, 2014

Hi everyone,

I'm completely new to succulents and got my first one two weeks ago. It is a burro's/donkey tail. I've been doing a lot of research on it and love it. I'm starting to worry if I will be able to grow them here as it has been snowing lots and the window sil it lives on is extremely cold. I don't want it to frost over. Are there any tricks or tips people who grow succulents in cold climates have for me? Thank you so much

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Move it away from the cold window is the first move. Keep it warm and as much light as possible, just don't water it much.

In the spring, as it gets sunnier, give it more light. If you can grow it outside, do so in the summer - it will love the summer rains.

Bring it inside in the fall when it starts getting cold - most succulents are not cold-hardy, and they'll go into dormancy / slow growing then.

In a few words, most succulents will do well where you are. We can't wait until you show us several hundred, like many of us have and/or most of us want to this Haworthia truncata.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 10:04PM
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Thank you so much! The only problem is the best window for it to get sun happens to get really cold. Is it more important to give it the best light possible in this window or keep it warm, away from the window?

Does anyone know the best way to propagate burro's tail with the bulbs that fall off? I know I can take a clipping but wondering if you can grow from the individual bulb seeds as well.

Thanks for everyone's help I am very new to this and appreciate all the help I can get

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 11:06PM
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Enoyed the show ? Nice Haworthias... like the H. truncata

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 11:29PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

I don't know how cold your MA windows get, but I grow a slew of c&s near mine. My south facing windows heat up very nicely on a sunny day -- yes, even today in this ridiculous cold! And they really don't get much lower than 60 or so right up near them, even on the coldest days.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 7:35AM
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Where do you live Tom? Good info, thank you!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:43AM
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Laura Robichaud

I am in Mass. I grow succulents at my east and south windows. Like Tom, they never get lower than 60. I actually keep a refrigerator thermometer that sticks on the glass on the window. Cool is one thing, but drafts are another. They wouldn't thrive in a drafty window.

I have a burro's tail hanging in a very sunny east window. I keep it quite dry...watering thoroughly once a month in the winter. It goes outside in late spring until it dips below 40.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 10:47AM
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I have many succulents in a room with constant 49F temp. I feel that's pretty low, but they are still alive. There are shoplights to give them more light, probably adding just a touch of warmth, but lights are not on 24 hrs.
They are close to a small west window and also a much bigger north window.
I only water them probably 1x in 3 weeks or longer.
Not ideal, but best I can do right now. This winter so far - 1 casualty: Euphorbia lactea variegata doesn't look good, but if anything is wrong with it, I probably overwatered it. I have 2 other euphorbs right next to it & they are still OK.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 1:30PM
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I am in New Hampshire, and many of my succulents are right against south facing windows. My Jades love it, they need all the light being right on the windowsill can provide, and don't mind if the temps get a little cool at night. Many succulents actually appreciate cooler temps in winter.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 7:44PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

As others have said, it depends on just how cold your window area gets as well as how bad drafts may be. Like the others, I too keep all my succs/cacti on window ledges or on the floor very close to the windows/sliding glass doors. I do not, however, allow the plants to TOUCH the windows.

At this time of year with cool temps even indoors and weak (not to mention extremely rare) sunlight, it is important to keep the plants quite dry for two reasons:
1) Cool, moist media tends to lead to rot.
2) Greatly limiting water will help to encourage the plant NOT to grow. (Weak light during growth periods leads to weak, stretched out (etiolated) growth.)

Most of my cacti/succs get some sips of water 1X per two weeks or so. (Do have a few that get more but their more the exception than the norm.)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Laura Robichaud

I am wintering some of my cacti at our cabin in Northern Vermont (zone 3!). We are here on the weekends. The temp during the week is set at 55. They get watered once per month. They are sleeping for the winter.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 10:01AM
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Great info- thanks everyone. And thanks for including pics of your beauties :)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:06PM
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