Echeverias and Cold Winters


Today we have a very polite correspondent sending in a question:

Dear Client support,

I was wondering if potted echeveria cuttings in zone 6, that were taken late in the season, could continue to be watered and provided fertilizer without extended hours of supplemental lighting during the winter. Though I realize shorter daylengths might normally initiate dormancy, I wasn’t sure if overwintered cuttings with under-developed root systems were capable of surviving the water and nutrient deprivation required.

My thanks for your time and efforts in the matter.

Sincerely,

Joe

Joe,

Echeveria do go dormant in the winter so unless you are providing extra full spectrum light to keep them actively growing, it is best to cut back on food and water and let them sleep through winter. Even with little or no roots they will do better with limited water for the winter. If you want to push them you can put them under full spectrum lights for 16-18 hours a day until they are better established and then wean them off the light and let them go dormant. However you really don’t need to, as long as they are getting some light and a bit of water every month they should do fine.

When I gardened in Alaska all my Echeveria were pulled from the garden in the fall, somewhat brutally tossed in to wire baskets, mostly bare root and “stored for winter” in a south facing window. They were misted occasionally, but never watered. In early spring I would pot them up, let them settle in to dry soil for a week or two and then give them their first real drink in months. They soon perked up and took off and were ready to go back outside as soon as the snow melted. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend growing them that way anymore it does show how hardy they are and how they can survive long periods of dormancy and drought.

Good luck,

Hap

Well, I never knew that. You learn something new occasionally. Next time you’re up in Alaska you can wow the natives with this new knowledge.


    
    
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