How to Overwinter your Cacti & Succulent plants

Hi Guys 🙂

I have just spent a busy 5 days bringing in all of the Cacti and Succulents from the greenhouse and outdoors back into the house again for their overwintering 🙂

Its that time of year  when most of our Cacti and Succulent plants stop growing and hibernate for the Winter ( wish I could do the same and overwinter too, I don’t like the cold and long dark days of Winter haha! ) and although we are blessed with a milder climate in Ireland than most you can certainly feeling it getting much colder.

Depending on where you live in the world then you need to start overwintering your cacti & most of the non winter growing Succulents that you have in your collection now.

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Summer is long gone ( sob!) and so are most of the flowers, its time to get overwintering your cacti and most of the Succulents, I wish I could overwinter too I don’t like the cold and dark of the Winter months, haha!

If you are like me and living in the northern hemisphere of the world, then it is now our Autumn / Fall, however if you are one of the lucky ones living in the southern hemisphere like Australia then you are enjoying your Spring now, and you are most likely being blessed with an abundance of buds and blooms on your plants, then you can skip reading this overwintering blog until about 6 months time and go outside and enjoy those blooms and heat instead haha! 🙂

I have included a video on how to overwinter you cacti and succulents on my You Tube Channel Desert Plants of Avalon as well as detailed advice on how to overwinter your plants at the end of this Blog.

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BEFORE : My greenhouse November 2016 before moving all of the plants back inside the house to overwinter.

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AFTER : The greenhouse empty 🙂

I am lucky to have a large unheated conservatory and a big spare room with large windows and plenty of space to overwinter my plants, I also have an office with a big window to overwinter any of the Cacti and Succulents that are not cold hardy, despite this the house is now filled to the brim with plants and the windows are full haha! oh how I wish I lived in a warm sunny climate all year round so I could grow all of my plants outside haha!

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My office filled with the plants that are not so cold hardy as my others including Hylocereus dragon fruit cacti, my cacti seedlings, and a selection of Euphorbia, some of the Epiphytic cacti and other succulents.

I had fun and games moving all the plants from inside the greenhouse and garden back into the house to overwinter and it was exhausting stuff haha! I am happy to say that they are all put into their new Winter quarters until next April 2017.

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By using stepped plant stands I can fit in more plants for the same space.

I was lucky to find some spools that an office by where I live had thrown out into a skip, they worked a treat as acting as tables and look really cool too and what a brilliant way to recycle 🙂

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These spools I got from a skip have been brilliant for using as plant stands 🙂 and what a brilliant way to recycle too.

I have included lots of photos of my Cacti and Succulents back inside the house again and you can see these at the very bottom of this Blog 🙂

Here is a video I have made for my You Tube channel Desert Plants of Avalon of moving all of my plants from inside the greenhouse and garden back inside the house again to overwinter and you can watch this fun video below.

I have included a few photos at the very bottom of this Blog on moving the the cacti and succulents back inside the house to Overwinter 🙂

How to Overwinter your Cacti and Succulent plants.

When it comes to overwintering your prickly and succulent friends, then the biggest factor is to keep them cool and dry with absolutely no water whatsoever, this is extremely important as this will discourage them to continue growing during the minimal daylight hours that is attributed to Winter, which will prevent stretched out etiolated growth as well as fungal diseases and rots.

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Overwintering your Cacti and Succulents cool and dry will help to them to rest and encourages them to bloom in the Spring and summer. Pictured here is a beautiful Rebutia cactus in flower.

The cool temperatures will encourage them to rest for the Winter, and then in the Spring they are more likely to produce flowers if they have had a dry and cool Winter rest period.

When it comes to keeping them dry, a few exceptions to this is with the likes of the Autumn and Winter flowering cacti such as the Epiphytic cacti, e.g Rhipsalis and Schlumbergera ( Christmas / Thanksgiving cactus ) and some of the Winter growing south African succulents such as the Crassulas, Aloe’s and the Mesembs, e.g Lithops and Conophytums as well as a few other south African winter growing succulents, so double check your plants individual needs and don’t assume that they all require no water over winter, although little harm will come to them if you don’t water even the Winter growing varieties, if you are unsure what type of cactus or succulent that you have, then when it comes to the watering ‘if in doubt do nowt’, far better a shriveled cactus and succulent than a dead one, these plants soon plump up again when given their watering in the Spring 🙂

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My Schlumbergera truncata cactus with beautiful red flowers in November 2016, the Epiphytic cacti still like to be lightly watered at this time of year unlike the Desert types of cacti.

If you want to identify what types of cacti and succulents you have check out CactiGuide.com and SucculentGuide.com they have a good selection of photos of many commonly available cacti and succulent plants that will help you to identify your plant./s

Some of the Epiphytes such as the commonly seen Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus Schlumbergera and Rhipsalis are Winter flowering plants and do not like the soil medium to be kept totally dry for long periods.

Epiphytic cacti, rainforest cacti, mistletoe cacti, orchid cacti, epiphytic cactus, rhipsalis cactus,

A selection of my Rhipsalis cacti on the plant stand in my living room. these cacti do not like to be kept totally dry over the Winter and still like a slight watering every now and then.

All the Desert cacti and most of the succulents appreciate a dry and cool room to overwinter in that ideally receives some sunshine during the day, but if the only position you have to overwinter them is a bright but sunless north facing window then they will not come to any harm as long as they can be placed back into a sunnier position again from Spring onwards when they come back into their active growth again.

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My cacti and succulent plants inside the conservatory that is unheated but the temperature rarely drops below 5c ( 41 Fahrenheit )

Overwinter the desert cacti and other succulents at an ideal temperature no lower than 5-7c (41-45f) but many growers have great success with overwintering their plants lower than this at 4c/39f  but because I have no experience of overwintering them lower than 4c/39f for long periods of time I can’t recommend this from my own experience.

Melocacti, Uebelmannia, Discocacti, Hylocereus, a few Euphorbias such as Euphorbia lactea and some other succulents are not as cold hardy as the desert types and I would recommend overwintering them at no lower temperature than 12-15c. (53-60f) to be on the safe side.

Epiphytic cacti do not have a complete winter rest like the desert types do, and ideally temperatures should not drop lower than 7-8c ( 45 -48 Fahrenheit ) during the Winter, although these cacti can survive temperatures that are much lower than this for short periods especially during the nightime, but for longer periods their stems are prone to spotting and scarring if they are kept at too low of a temperature.

Here is a video that I have made for my You Tube channel Desert Plants of Avalon that goes into more detailed advice on how to overwinter your Cacti and Succulent plants and you can watch this video below:

How to overwinter Cacti and Succulent seedlings

Cacti and succulent seedlings will need to be overwintered very differently during their first winter, and do not rest over the winter months like mature cacti and succulents do, its best to overwinter all types of cacti and succulent seedlings at room temperature and lightly watered, I keep my seedlings in my office next to a bright window that receives some morning sun.

Cactus seedlings, cacti seedlings,

A selection of cactus seedlings overwintering at a warmer temperature in my office. these young seedlings will still need to be kept very lightly watered to prevent root die back.

The different requirements with over wintering young cactus and succulent seedlings all depends on whether you are growing them in a propagator with heat and grow lights or whether you are growing them in the baggies or without the baggies. Seedlings need to be kept warmer and also slightly moist over the Winter to stop the delicate root hairs from drying out, and it can be tricky trying to keep them moist without encouraging them to grow etiolated over the Winter if growing without special grow lamps.

Check out this video I have made for my You Tube Channel Desert Plants of Avalon where I explain in a lot more detail about How to overwinter your Cacti and succulent seedlings during their first year and you can watch this video below :

I hope that you found this Blog helpful. Here is a selection of photos below of my plants now they have been moved back into the house to overwinter 🙂

BEFORE :

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At the start : moving the plants that I had in the greenhouse back into the house to overwinter them, now just to find space to put them all haha!

AFTER :

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A selection of my cacti and succulents in the conservatory for overwintering.

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A selection of my cacti and succulents indoors for the Winter.

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A selection of my Cacti and succulent plants on the plant stand in the conservatory

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The plant stand is full to the brim

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By using stepped plant stands I can fit in more plants for the same space.

house plants, houseplants, growing cacti indoors, succulent plants indoors, indoor gardening, growing houseplants indoors, growing plants indoors, growing plants in the home, exotic plants, indoor plants, indoor gardening,

These spools I found from a skip have been brilliant for using as plant stands.

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My Cacti and succulents in the conservatory.

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A selection of my cacti and succulents back into the house for the winter,

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My cacti and succulent plants inside the conservatory that is unheated but the temperature rarely drops below 5c ( 41 Fahrenheit ) due to our mild temperatures here in Ireland ( Hardiness Zone 9 )

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A selection of my Cacti and succulents indoors for the Winter, including some of my colder hardier Epiphytic cacti.

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I keep the plants that are not cold hardy inside my office, here I have a selection of Epiphytic cacti some Succulents and Nepenthes that are not as cold hardy as the others.

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My office filled with the plants that are not so cold hardy as my others including Hylocereus dragon fruit cacti, my cacti seedlings, and a selection of the not so cold hardier varieties of Euphorbia, epiphytic cacti and other succulents.

Rhipsalis cacti, rhipsalis cactus, mistletoe cactus, rhipsalis cacti, mistletoe cacti, epiphytic cacti, Epiphytic cactus, Orchid cactus, Orchid cacti,

A selection of my Rhipsalis rainforest Epiphytic cacti on my plant stand next to the window in my living room, I will still be keeping these lightly watered during the Winter.

Cleistocactus, Hildewintera, Clestocactus winterii, Rats tail cactus, golden rats tail cactus,

My Cleistocactus winterrii flowering still even in November, such a beauty 🙂 despite it still flowering I will not be watering this Cactus at all now until next April, cold and damp soil can encourage root rot.

Thanks so much for reading guys and sending you all lots of love and Happy Winter growing from Ireland and stay warm y’all 🙂

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “How to Overwinter your Cacti & Succulent plants

  1. Hello, I am new to the succulent world! I have a Christmas Cactus,three String of Pearls, one String of Bananas, and one Donkey Tail. I wanted to ask you about overwintering (bringing the plants inside) and dealing with the pests that may come in with the plants. All my plants are in one area, and I am worried that I may have a “Thrip” problem. I noticed it today on a creeping Jenny that I brought in and put next to my succulents. I put the Jenny outside today and sprayed it with a Neem oil mixture. I know that if it is a Thrip problem, all my other plants probably have them as well. I’ve read that “Springtails” look very similar to “Thrips”. Have you ever dealt with these pests?

    • Hi Patricia 🙂 So happy to hear that you are new to the Succulent world, these plants are amazing and so rewarding to grow 🙂 and thats so wonderful you have a Christmas cactus and 3 String of Pearls and a Spring of Bananas and a Donkey’s tail, it sounds like you have a wonderful collection already 🙂 Yes I have had Springtails before but only in the soil and on the surface of the pots, they look very similar to thrips but usually like to stay on the top or near to the top of the surface of the soil as they like the damp and eat the dead or decaying plant matter that is in the soil, thankfully they are mostly harmless to our plants as they only eat the dead plant matter and tend to be more of a nuisance than a damaging pest and are often seen flying about the bottom of the plants, I do get the Springtails sometimes on the plants indoors but they seem to go themselves after a while and I find letting the soil going dry for a few weeks usually kills them off. If the bugs are on the plants themselves though it is more likely to be thrips which are a damaging pest, spraying with Neem is a brilliant idea and I love to use Neem oil myself 🙂 if you find they still come back you could also use rubbing alcohol/ Isopropyl alcohol to spray the plants with as its brilliant at getting rid of Thrips 🙂 I usually use it neat either on a brush dipped in the alcohol or in a spray bottle and it worked a treat at getting rid of Thrips on my Sedums a few weeks ago and on my Epiphyllum, but with very soft skinned succulents like Echeveria’s it may be best to dilute the alcohol with a bit of water to prevent the alcohol marking the skin, Here is a link to a page I have wrote on using the Isopropyl alcohol on Scale insects and you can also use it the same way with Thrips and Mealybugs 🙂 http://www.desertplantsofavalon.com/how-to-remove-scale-from-cactus-plants/ Keep me updated on how your plants get on Patricia and sending you an abundance of love and happiness and happy growing for a BRILLIANT Sunday ahead 🙂 Lots of Love Lyn XXXXX <3

      • Thank you! I realized that there was some white, fuzzy stuff on the string of pearls, so I used the alcohol on those spots. Would it be bad to water my plants with diluted Neem Oil this time of year? Thanks for your advice!

        • Hi Patricia 🙂 Well done on treating the white fuzzy stuff on your string of pearls plant, it sounds like it could have been Mealy Bugs with their white fuzzy cotton like appearance and their egg nests or it could also be possibly fungus and the alcohol works as a brilliant anti fungal too 🙂 Yes if I was you I would definitely wait until the Spring before watering them with Neem oil, roll on Spring I say haha! sending you an abundance of love and happiness from right across the Emerald Isle and have a wonderful Thursday 🙂 Lots of Love Lyn XXXXXXX <3

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