Watering in a Winter Wonderland
Many would think that winter is not the best or greatest time for succulents which is in fact, true for some. Each season brings on different aspects for all of the succulent genera. You can see an array of colours, patterns, growths and even flowers depending on the type of succulent. Here we focus on how to keep your succulents looking (and feeling) wonderful all winter long.
Echeveria's colours become more vibrant and the cold weather brings out the darker marking on the margins of the leaves. The autumn tones of pink, red and purple shine through on the lower leaves.
It is recommended to reduce your watering over Autumn and Winter. If you're in a really frosty area, it is best to shelter your succulents from frost as it can be deadly and turn your leaves into mush! We also advise to keep your precious gems either next to a wall or under a veranda to really steer clear of developing any type of freeze. Frozen leaves allow for water to expand inside and basically burst the cells that kill the plant from the inside. This can also take a few days to show so getting them protected early is key!
Most Echeverias are sub-tropical but alpine plants. This means they need watering in Spring and Summer with a prolonged dry period for winter. Pull off any old, dry leaves now or remove any that are getting that clear look like they are withering. This will prevent fungal issues over winter to keep them well ventilated.
Winter is also the time for our many Aeoniums to start growing. Those shrunken summer heads begin to expand with the early autumn and winter rains. The best thing you can do for your potted Aeoniums this winter is a decent watering - make sure they don't get dry! Winter is also the time to start pruning or shaping them the way you would like them to grow.
Lithops / Conophytums
Winter will see your Lithops and Conophytums come to life! You can see beautiful flowers growing through the cracks and it's quite amazing watching them start to shed their old bodies for a new set of leaves. Lithops and Conophytums originate in South Africa where they experience dry, hot summers and wet winters. This means that are used to rain but not a lot of it! Be mindful not to let them get drenched and let them dry out between watering. This is their growing time so we recommend some light top dressing or repotting into a clean new mix with some food. Remember not too much if you want to keep them compact. They spend autumn reducing their head sizes and the older leaves will have often shrivelled up so if you want to keep these compact heads - keep it minimal.
Cotyledons wake from their summer dormancy and begin to grow more vigorously. They also originate from South Africa so are used to the dry, hot weather and winter rains. They like to be moist but not saturated!
- Bridgette Fleming