Welcome to the wonderful world of Hardy Succulents
These tough little plants will survive winter in zones 4 to 8 with some being hardy in zone 3. This will be identified in the individual plant description. Please see the U.S.D.A plant hardiness zone map to find your zone.
Garden and Potting soil
All succulents require very well drained soil especially in areas of wet winters. If your natural soil is clay, it would be best to plant your succulents in pots, troughs or raised beds where you can create a freely draining soil. All containers need holes in the bottom for drainage. They also need to be at least 5" deep. Deeper is better.
The soil mix should contain 2/3 by volume.Pea gravel, Hen grit, coconut coir, perlite or pumice and 1/3 sandy or barky loose potting soil or garden soil. Rock gardens and stone walls are ideal sites for succulents Using a top dressing of pea gravel (in large raised beds), course grit or decorative rock in smaller containers, will keep succulent leaves off the soil. This helps prevent rot or die back in winter. It also reduces moss growth and moderates the soil temperature under the rock.
Succulents benefit greatly from one to three applications of half strength fertilizer early in the season.
5-10-10 is the recommended balance of nutrients but use twice as much water as is called for when mixing. I recommend no fertilizer after August 1. The aim here is to harden the plants off before winter. The new lush succulent growth brought on by the application of fertilizer is very prone to damage by the harsh weather of fall and winter.
Weather and Sun
Hardy succulents can handle full sun in the Pacific Northwest and many of the northern tier states.(There are several exceptions in our sedum section. Please read plant descriptions for each variety) In the central and more southern states where day time highs are above 80 F on a regular basis during a long summer, part shade or full afternoon shade are essential. This is especially true for the Sempervivum. There are many native hardy succulents from these areas that have no problem with full sun.
Freezing temperatures are not a problem for the sempervivum and sedum that we are offering some even being hardy in zone 3 and 4 with snow cover. The exception is Sedum hirsutum which is not good colder than zone 7 and dry in winter. Excessive rain accompanied by continuous cycles of freeze at night and thaw during the day can be problematic. However these cycles mostly occur in the Pacific Northewst. Planters can be placed on a covered deck or up against the house under the eves. Beds can be covered with temporary hoops and plastic sheeting. Especially suseptable varieties of sedum can be kept in a cold greenhouse for the winter.
When it does not rain it is necessary to water. Succulents can survive longer than most plants between watering. The frequency of watering is determined by the temperature and amount of direct sun. Hotter temps and more sun require more frequent watering. To encourage healthy root growth it is necessary to soak the pot or bed well and then let it dry out completely before watering again. The length of time between waterings varies with soil mix, depth of soil in container, location, sun, rainfall, cloud and seasons.