Outdoor summer cactus/succulents... indoors in cold weather

nokiOctober 29, 2011

How do people best have success keeping them indoors? I assume little to no watering for cactus? Is sun that important during the dormant season? I have limited prime sunny window space.

Leave out until threat of frosts? Then bring in? To get the plants in dormant mode?

I could keep some plants next to a small south window in the basement. I bit cooler may not hurt, and away from dry heat vents.

I could put some in the attached garage next to one south window. Temps get into the 30s. Cold but not harsh.... could a cactus that handles 20F do okay? Would the full cool season help some cactus? I have kept a Tree Fern and a Wollemi conifer alive fine during the winter.

What about bugs that you might be bringing inside?

Any tips or ideas that you implement successfully?

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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

I summer all of my cactus and succulents outside on my driveway because I get the most sun in this location. I winter them in a heated greenhouse along with my orchids. Unfortunately, the greenhouse isn't in the best location for the cactus or succulents; the orchids do just fine. The GH runs a 50 ~ 70% humidity with night temps in the very low 60's so I don't water them much for fear of rot. I would think for you dry and cool should work. I must admit, for me, 30's is a bit scary even though I know many cactus and succulents can handle it. You want to give as much light as possible, but winter sun around here is never strong enough to maintain good color on anything and of course putting them out the following summer is always difficult.

As for creepy cridders, in late July early August everybody that has been enjoying the out-of-doors, gets sprinkled with Grub-X (Merit). It is supposed to last up to 3 months which will take me to October when our Michigan weather gets cool and wet and everybody is brought back into the GH.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 2:29PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I opt for warmth with my succulents. I do not get much sun in the winter but they seem to not mind. I do leave them out until the very last second of freezing. Most I just brought in last night in a real big hurry because they predicted snow.

Most of mine are in small pots or long narrow pots so they fit on the window seals easily.

Water is very little most get a sip once a month because I do not set my home temps above 70.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 2:38PM
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Cacti absolutely do not need any light during the dormant period provided they are kept pretty dry and cool (b/w 30-50F). An unheated basement or garage will suit all but the tropical cactus species (i.e. Melocactus) just fine. Been doing it for many, many years. Lots of other succulents will tolerate this as well: many Aloes, all Agaves, too many to list.

I keep them out (under greenhouse cover) until nights get frosty regularly, usually around Thanksgiving.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 5:56PM
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I bring mine out in May and bring them in in September. It's a PITA, but it's absolutely the best thing to do for the plants. I've only a few 'winter growers' but most of my plants will put some growth on in the winter, not as much as they would when they're outside, but some. These I feed and water. The others I've let go and do their dormant thing inside, getting nothing but a sip of water a month. You check the collection before you bring it in and clean/treat as needed. Many plants will be fine with a frost as long as they're dry.

And for extended answers, I'd look for posts from X - he's shown a lot of plants in the snow, including but not limited to his pretty Aloe polyphylla one of the few/only Aloes which regularly gets snowed on).

'too many to list' - I'm pretty sure you've done this already, X, it's just been in multiple posts.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 10:17PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am further south than all that have spoken so far so I might not be on topic at all.

It got down to 36 last night. That was a surprise so today I started moving some of my pots. Our lows will be bouncing around upper 40's and 50's for the next week. But I move most of my Aloes and cactuses down to a covered stone patio that faces south. The low sun heats it up good during the day and the thick cement columns hold a lot of thermal mass. The slightly cold hardy aloes and cactus love it down there. They get great winter colors and if I get a freak cold front , they are not far from the door to my woodshop. I separate my cactus between who is a tropical cactus (inside now), who takes cold but no damp. who is Zone 9, I will move some in and out for cold fronts, some get indoor perches for the whole winter. Some get covered over outside. It is a mixture of treatments. Now they are just getting moved close to where they are going. God there are a lot of them. Many are cold hardy and don't move at all unless it starts poring rain for many cold days and then I haul them under a overhang..

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 12:55AM
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