If you’re like most people, you can’t get over the idea of adding some greenery to your outdoor space by growing succulents. They’re trendy, easy to care for, and come in various colors and shapes. And best of all, they’re pretty tough plants that can thrive in a wide range of climates.
But let’s face it, Michigan isn’t exactly known for its ideal gardening conditions. Its cold climate can be harsh on even the hardiest succulents. But the cold outdoor weather in Michigan shouldn’t stop you from growing succulents to add a touch of whimsy to your outdoor space.
So what do you need to do to ensure these versatile plants thrive in Michigan’s weather? Here are a few tips for growing succulents outdoors in Michigan.
Choose the Right Succulents
Not all succulents are created equal. Some varieties are better equipped to handle cold weather than others.
When choosing succulents for your outdoor space, select varieties that can withstand Michigan’s cold winters. Some of the best types for Michigan gardens include Hardy Sedum, Sempervivum, Hardy Opuntia, and Jovibarba.
Give Them Plenty of Sun
Succulents need plenty of sunlight to thrive and ensure their leaves remain plump. In Michigan, you should place them in an area that gets at least six hours of sun per day. Choose a south-facing location to ensure your succulents get the most sun possible.
What could go wrong if your succulents lack enough sunlight? They will start to stretch awkwardly as they reach for sunlight, and their leaves will become leggy. The entire plant may also look unbalanced, blanched, and spindly, making it unattractive and more susceptible to damage.
Water Them Sparingly
If you’re wondering how to care for succulents, you should start by understanding how to water them. These plants are drought-tolerant, so they don’t need a lot of water to survive. Too much water can be harmful and even fatal to these plants.
You should reduce the watering during the winter and fall months to ensure that your succulents thrive in cold weather. If the soil is saturated during the winter, the plant will be more susceptible to frost damage.
You should water the succulents more deeply during the warmer season but fewer times. The ideal watering frequency is once weekly to ensure the roots get enough water without overwatering the plant.
If you notice that the leaves are starting to wither, you can feel the soil with your fingers, and if it’s dry, you can increase the watering frequency. However, before you water it again, make sure the soil is completely dry. And always use a succulent-specific potting mix to ensure good drainage.
Protect Them from Extreme Temperatures
While succulents are generally pretty tough plants, they can’t withstand extreme temperatures. You’ll need to take precautions to protect them from Michigan’s cold winters. One option is to move them indoors to a sunny spot near a south-facing window.
Once you bring the plants indoors, you can place them under grow lights to ensure they get enough light.
If you can’t move your succulents indoors, you’ll need to take steps to protect them from the cold. One option is to wrap them in burlap or place them in a cold frame or a sheltered spot outdoors. Just make sure the plants are well-ventilated so they don’t rot.
Fertilize At the Right Time
Although succulents are forgiving plants, you still need to fertilize them. The best time to carry out the nutrient-enriching routine is in the spring, when new growth is likely to emerge. You can also fertilize them during the fall or late summer, but ensure you reduce the amount of fertilizer you use.
Too much fertilizer can harm these plants as it can cause them to produce too much growth, making them susceptible to damage. It can also lead to the leaves becoming yellow or brown.
When you fertilize your succulents, use a water-soluble fertilizer designed explicitly for cacti and other succulents. And always dilute the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Plant the Succulents in Containers
If you’re interested in growing succulents indoors in Michigan, one of the most significant decisions you’ll need to make is whether to pot them or not. And while it’s possible to grow these plants in-ground, it’s recommended that you go with container planting.
Potting brings out the plants’ unique foliage, colors, and shapes. It also allows you to move the plants around when the conditions are not ideal. For example, you can bring the containers indoors when it gets too cold or place them in a sheltered spot outdoors.
When choosing pots for your succulents, make sure you choose the ones with drainage holes. If the pot doesn’t have drainage holes, the roots will sit in water and rot.
It’s also a good idea to choose a light-colored pot. A dark-colored pot will absorb heat and could make the roots too hot. A light-colored pot will reflect heat and keep the roots cooler.
Repot Them Every Few Years
Succulents need to be repotted every few years to ensure they have enough room to grow. The best time to repot them is in the spring, since this is when they’re actively growing. Make sure you use a pot that’s only one size larger than the current one.
If you go too big, the roots won’t be able to fill the entire pot, which can lead to problems. When repotting your succulents, make sure you use a well-draining potting mix. And don’t forget to water them after repotting.
Growing Succulents Outdoor in Michigan Made Easy
You don’t have to forego growing succulents indoors because you’re worried that the cold Michigan climate will kill them. Follow the above tips to give them the best chance of surviving and thriving in your outdoor space. We also created a succulent care guide on our site for growing all types of succulents!
Now that you know how to grow the plants outdoors in Michigan, you may be wondering where to buy succulents. Consider shopping at Plumeria Botanical Boutique in Battle Creek, MI. Contact us today for different succulents and other plants to keep your outdoor space looking vibrant all year long.