Succulents are excellent plants for growing indoors and outdoors. They look stunning in a rock garden setting and indoors, adding an exotic feel to the space. Generally, succulents are native to desert regions and can tolerate extreme conditions. However, many succulent varieties can also withstand cooler climates. They can survive outdoors in freezing temperatures and deep snowfall. In short, they have the ability to adapt to diverse environmental conditions.
So, if you live in a region where the temperature is below freezing and are still deciding what hardy outdoor succulents are best for your garden and pots, this blog is for you. Selecting the right succulents that can withstand the cold winter season or fit into your climate is the key to success in planting.
Here are 5 hardy succulents you can grow in a garden, landscape, indoors, or in containers to use as appealing accents. These five hardy succulent plants offer an eye-catching palette of color and texture to your evergreen garden throughout all seasons.
Agave, also known as Century plant, is a tiny succulent plant that loves warm climates like deserts. However, this succulent can grow in chilly weather and survive the freezing winters. The agave plant is an evergreen succulent with spiky leaves that are incredibly beautiful. The plant has widely variable leaf colors, and it requires minimal care. The spiky leaves with thorny edges make it a popular choice for colder climates.
There are a lot of garden-worthy varieties of agave plants. Agave Americana is the largest and most attractive one. You can grow it out or indoors, in the ground in well-drained soil, or in a large pot in full sun or filtered shade.
Other popular types of hardy agave are:
Agave Parryi: Agave Parryi is one of the great types of hardy outdoor succulents with remarkable cold hardiness. They comprise several varieties that are well-known for their ornamental rosette pattern. They have delightful grayish blue-green leaves with contrasting maroon or dark brown colored tips.
This hardy succulent makes a great container plant and also a striking addition to your garden. The plant is hardy from 10°F to -20°F and grows well in USDA zone 5 to 9, depending on the variety.
Queen Victoria Agave: It is the most decorative Agave variety and hardy to an impressive 10°F. This succulent plant has beautiful dark green leaves with a contrast of white on the margins that are arranged in a tight rosette pattern. Queen Victoria Agave is a slow-growing succulent that needs full bright sun to maintain its rosette shape.
Moreover, it becomes drought-tolerant and requires very little care once established in the soil. Deep watering once a week is enough from spring to fall and winter.
Sedum, also known as stonecrop, is another best hardy succulent that thrives in cold temperatures. This is the largest and most diverse group of succulents, with so many varieties that gardeners and landscapers choose. Most are known for their colorful leaves. Like many succulents, sedums thrive on neglect. These succulents come in multiple colors, providing good ground cover for sunny areas. You can plant them in containers or in the nooks of rocky gardens.
Stonecrop sedum is a Northwestern native that grows well in conditions that are similar to its native habitat with well-drenched and rocky soil. This succulent is native to the western regions of Washington, California, Oregon, and British Columbia. The cold hardiness of sedum plants varies, but they can survive down to USDA Zone 3 (hardy to -40°F).
Sedum Dasyphyllum is a popular low-growing species for gardens and pots. This is a quick-to-grow hardy succulent that has lovely blue and green leaves. Sedum Dasyphyllum is hardy down to -12°F, so you won't have to protect it in winter.
If you're looking for a low-maintenance plant to grow as ground cover in a sunny spot, this succulent is ideal. Most sedum plants crave full sun, but some can tolerate partial shade. Lastly, plant these succulents in rocky, well-drained soil or shallow soils between stones or rocks.
Opuntia is one of the best hardy outdoor succulents for cold seasons. Opuntias include Orchid Cactus, Opuntia Cactus, and Prickly Pear. These cacti succulents can withstand chilly seasons and also scorching temperatures, growing well in Zones 3B (-35 to -30°F) through 11 (40 to 45°F). Opuntias are native to the Mediterranean region.
One of the best things about this hardy succulent is it is easy to maintain, which makes it an excellent choice for beginner gardeners or succulent lovers. Additionally, these succulents can survive in any soil type. The prickly pear species of this succulent is great for use as a security border underneath windows or around the home. These plants grow from 3 to 15 ft wide and 3 to 20 ft tall. Also, it is a drought-tolerant plant with thick roots that have the ability to store water.
Perhaps the most popular and widely planted succulent in colder climates, Euphorbias are well-loved for their appealing colors and leaves. Most euphorbias are highly hardy succulents that grow well in USDA zone 7 and can tolerate temperatures as low as -20°C. So, if you live in a colder area, these hardy succulents can survive winter for you while maintaining their beauty and greenery.
Euphorbia rigida (Myrtle Spurge) is one of the best types of euphorbias that is known for its bluish-green dark leaves and gorgeous chartreuse flowers surrounded by yellow bracts. The flowers bloom in late winter and spring. This unique texture and color of the leaves and the color contrast of the plant add a decorative element to the garden. It grows well in zones 5 to 9 and thrives best in full sun. Last but not least, the plant is drought-resistant, so it requires minimal watering. And this ability makes it an excellent choice for xeriscaping.
Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks)
Sempervivum is the easiest succulent to grow because they're extremely hardy and can withstand the coldest winter. They are also known as ‘Hens and Chicks' because each mother plant produces small baby plants on its stolons. This succulent plant forms low-lying rosettes in multiple colors like red, green, or silver.
There are around 50 species of sempervivum that vary in color, shape, and size. However, if you prefer a constantly colored plant, Sempervivum heuffelii is the best to consider. Other beautiful species of this succulent that provide year-round greenery are Sempervivum Pluto, Sempervivum Red Lion, and Sempervivum Atlantis.
Moreover, sempervivums thrive outside and should be grown with little attention in well-drained soil. Once the plant is established, water it deeply but infrequently, only when the soil is completely dry. It is also a great container plant that should be brought indoors in regions with rainy winters. Most sempervivum species survive in USDA Zones 4 to 9 (-30°F).
The Bottom Line
Succulents are well-known for hot and dry weather, but few can handle harsh cold winters. These 5 hardy succulents can survive low-freezing temperatures, meaning you won't have a bare winter garden.
All these succulent plants can be grown in containers, ground, or pots. These cold-hardy succulents come in a huge variety of shapes, colors, and sizes to pick from to fit your garden design. Most importantly, they will add eye-catching color and texture to your typical evergreen garden and look great through all seasons.