Succulents are resilient and can look beautiful all year round, but there are some times of the year they become inactive. Therefore, you need to know when to expect their active growing season and the dormant period to adjust appropriate care techniques.
Different succulents grow at different rates within a year, depending on the temperature. Some can become dormant, grow slower when the weather is too hot or cold, and turn active again when the temperatures are ideal for their growth. Most succulents tend to thrive in spring and fall.
They can also be put into two categories: summer growers and winter growers. Summer growers are succulents that grow in summer and become dormant in the winter. On the contrary, winter growers grow actively in winter and slow down in the summer. Therefore, it is not recommended to repot your succulents during their dormancy and disturb their "deep sleep."
Check out this succulent dormancy table below for a rough idea of the dormant period for different succulent genera.
The temperatures at which succulents go dormant vary depending on the species. Sempervivums are cold-hardy, can tolerate frost, and might go dormant at below-freezing temperatures. But Echeverias are more tender and can go dormant at a higher temperature. Some signs indicating that a succulent starts "sleeping" is that it stops producing new growth completely. The leaves might turn yellow or brown and either drop or hang limply off the sides of the succulent stem. In some rosette-forming succulents, the rosettes might contract.
It is important to research and determines which time of the year your succulents tend to go dormant so you do not give them too much water and accidentally kill them. For example, when a summer-growing succulent starts its dormant period in the winter, it enters survival mode and stops growing actively. Therefore, it does not need a lot of water. However, give it a little water if the leaves get dry and wrinkled. Otherwise, in most cases, you do not even need to water it at all and just leave it alone until its growing season comes around.
It is different for winter-growing succulents. They go dormant in the heat of summer but still need water during this time to help their roots remain cool and prevent the leaves from drooping. More importantly, if you grow your succulents indoors, they will never go dormant. Therefore, you can continue to water them on the same schedule year-round.
Understanding succulent dormancy is a critical part of providing great succulent care. If you are concerned about the health of one of your succulents, check the calendar and succulent dormancy table. If the plant is often dormant at this time of year, do not make dramatic care changes. Wait for it to resume active growth before you cut it back or change its care. You may well discover that it was not suffering but simply dormant.
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus