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How to Winterize Succulent Plants

By Sophia Darby ; Updated September 21, 2017

Winterizing succulents and cacti is an important process prior to bringing them indoors. Greg Stack, a horticulturist with the University of Illinois, states that many succulents are quite content to live in our homes and will even survive a little neglect now and then. The key to winter survival is to trigger dormancy in succulents and cacti by slowly changing their environment.

Spray succulents and cacti with a surface insecticide 3 weeks prior to bringing them indoors.

Rid the plant’s pot of weeds and check for an infestation of Sciara fly. Change the soil if the flies are present, as they will spread to other nearby plants when indoors.

Gradually decrease the amount of water your succulents receive, but keep them outside as the weather begins to cool. The combination of less water and cooler temperatures signals the need to begin dormancy in succulents.

Include a blossom builder with the final watering of flowering succulents, such as cacti. A small amount of 1-10-10 helps trigger dormancy and strengthens the roots.

Bring your succulents and cacti inside when the outside temperature reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Stop watering your plant and allow the soil to dry completely.

Water dormant succulents and cacti sparingly throughout the winter, giving just enough to keep the plant from showing signs of dehydration.

Keep dormant plants in temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Provide lighting as required by your type of succulent. Dormant plants may prefer darkness, whereas non-dormant succulents may benefit from exposure to florescent lighting.


Things You Will Need

  • Surface insecticide
  • Potting soil (optional)
  • Water
  • Bloom builder
  • Malathion (optional)
  • Florescent lighting (optional)


  • Spraying with malathion will rid succulents of mites and mealy worms before bringing them indoors.
  • Cooler temperatures often trigger blooming in succulents and cacti.


  • Do not over water dormant succulents or cacti. Continuously wet soil will cause the plant to rot.
  • Do not spray a plant with insecticide immediately before bringing indoors. These chemicals can harm people and pets and need 2 to 3 weeks to diminish before being brought indoors.

About the Author


Sophia Darby is a former professional hairstylist who has spent the last six years writing hair-related articles for both online and print publications. Her work has appeared in Celebrity Hairstyles Magazine, as well as multiple websites.