Winter Care Tips For Succulents and Cacti

Updated: September 16, 2022

Winter Care Tips For Succulents and Cacti

Succulents and cacti are fun plants to add to your indoor space to add life, color, and a beautiful living decoration to your home. These plants are pretty low maintenance as long as they have enough sun and aren’t overwatered. While people love adding new plants to their home during the summer, the winter months may seem like the wrong time to welcome new plants to your tables and windowsills. Since the winter months mean shorter days, less sun, and colder weather for many places, it can make it seem difficult to care for succulent and cactus plants. But it doesn’t have to be a challenge!

At Planet Desert, we believe plants can make a great addition to your home no matter the time of year or the climate where you live. In a previous blog, we discussed why winter was a great time to add plants to your home, and today, we are going to give you some winter care tips for all the new succulents and cacti that you are going to welcome into your home this winter! Read on to learn more and be sure to shop our collections for new, unique, and beautiful succulent and cactus plants.

Before we get started on our list of tips, we wanted to note one thing — most succulents and cacti go dormant by the time fall comes, which means that they will not grow throughout the winter. If you notice that your succulents and cacti stop growing, don’t take this as a sign that they need more water. Read on for tips for caring for your cactus and succulent plants in the winter.

Tip 1: Know When To Start

To keep your succulents alive and thriving during the winter season, it is important to know when to start winter care for your plants. Winter care for your plants starts earlier than the winter solstice, so it is important to keep that in mind. Your winter plant care should start when the days begin to shorten, so sometime in the fall.

Tip 2: Be Aware of Placements

A dormant succulent or cactus does not need as much sun as they do in the summer and can survive in indirect lighting. However, to help them thrive, it is best to ensure they get at least three to four hours of bright light a day. If possible, place them near a south or east facing window, you can also use artificial light, such as a grow lamp, to give your succulents and cacti the proper amount of light. If your succulents and cacti are already near a window that gets plenty of sun, you can just leave them in their current home!

Tip 3: Proper Potting Needs

While this is something you should be aware of whether it is summer or winter, it is important to ensure that you are following your succulents potting needs properly. Succulents and cacti grow best in well-draining soil that doesn’t hold moisture. Be sure to pot your succulents in pots with drain holes and use soil that is sandy and well-draining. If you have some succulents and cacti that are not currently potted like this, be sure to repot them following these tips.

Tip 4: Water Less

During the winter period, when your plants are dormant, they do not need to be watered as much as during the summer. Cacti should be watered even less often than succulents, since they are more prone to rot than succulents. Since your cacti aren’t going to be flowering or growing during the winter period, they need very little water to stay alive. Be sure to let the soil that your cacti and succulents are planted in to dry out completely before watering. They won’t die if they go a little longer being dry but they may die if they get root rot from overwatering.

Tip 5: Stop Feeding

During the winter period, you should also stop feeding your cacti and succulents. When you feed your plants during their dormant period, the extra amount of nitrogen can stress them out and cause them to rot quicker. Be sure not to feed your cacti and succulents from September through March.

Tip 6: Control the Temperature

While we are sure you are already paying attention to temperature in your home in order to keep yourself comfortable and happy during the winter months, it is important to keep it in mind for your plants as well. Succulents and cacti are fine in temperatures as low as 50 to 55 degrees fahrenheit. Be sure to keep your home above that temperature, which we are sure you will do unless you are out of town. So, if you are heading out of town, be sure to set your thermostat so your heat kicks on if it drops too low.

Tip 7: Look Out For Pests

Winter is a dry season and your home will tend to be drier since you likely will have the heat on or a fire going. Unfortunately, pests, such as mealy bugs, love the dry climate and may find a new home on your succulent and cactus plants. Be sure to check your plants for pests regularly. Unlike your other house plants, you should avoid using horticultural oil on succulents and cacti. These products will eat away at the waxy skin layer of these types of plants. Instead, let the soil dry out fully and then use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to dab at the pests. If your pest problem has gotten out of hand, you can put the rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spray your plants.

These tips should be a great starting point for caring for your succulent and cacti plants in the winter! But one final tip we have is to not overthink it. Oftentimes, these plants thrive on neglect. Be sure to not overwater them and that they get some light and they should be good to go!

Planet Desert is a family-owned and operated online nursery that offers unique and beautiful succulent and cactus plants. We will safely and carefully ship our plants to your door for you to add to your collection! Shop our collections of succulents and cacti today and enjoy a new plant all winter long. Contact us with any questions you may have.


  • Sally Whitaker

    Thanks so much for this very informative information. Mammilaria duwei cactus, from my recent order is blooming beautifully!!! Your plants are outstanding and you certainly know how to ship plants safely. (In December to ice cold Maine!!!) Planet Desert is the best place to purchase cactus and succulents.

  • Patricia Lisowski

    Thanks for the care tips! I tend to overwater in winter. Will not this year after reading your article. I have some of your plants. They are doing well.

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