Succulents are a diverse group of plants found throughout the globe. They are often considered desert denizens, but these plants also have remarkable cold tolerance and can perform beautifully in many environmental settings. Zone 5 succulents have to withstand temperatures of -20 to -10 degrees F. (-29 to -23 C.). Growing succulents in zone 5 requires carefully choosing the right species with a tolerance of these potential cold temperatures. This article will help.
What are Hardy Succulent Plants?
Hardy succulent plants may seem an impossibility if you consider them just warm region flora. Look outside the box and consider that some succulents actually survive in chilly alpine climates and thrive in areas where freezes are potential. Many succulents for zone 5 are available as long as you consider their hardiness range. When you purchase your plants, check the tags or ask nursery professionals to determine whether they are right for your United States Department of Agriculture zone. Hardiness is determined by a plant's ability to withstand certain temperatures and weather conditions. The USDA has a handy map outlining the climates and microclimates of the United States; the U.K. and other European regions have similar maps in Celsius. These are excellent references when choosing plants and help determine the specimen's fitness to withstand the climate in which they will be planted. Many succulents are remarkably adaptable in colder regions because their native range experiences similar weather challenges. The key is to find succulents for zone 5 that are adaptable to your specific zone.
Growing Succulents in Zone 5
Zone 5 regions run from the middle of the United States, east to New England, and west to parts of Idaho. These are chilly areas in winter, and succulents have to be able to withstand freezing temperatures of at least -10 degrees F. (-23 C.) during the winter. In summers, the heat ranges vary, but most plants are perfectly happy in any warm temperatures they can experience. However, the freezing temperature determines if a plant can survive over the winter and is crucial unless you are bringing plants indoors for the cold season. Many plants that might be marginally hardy can survive with heavy mulching to protect the root zone or even by carefully covering the plant to help protect it from ice and snow. Zone 5 succulents, such as classic hens and chicks (Sempervivum) and bold yucca, will still survive that region's winter and explode with beauty in spring. Growing succulents in zone 5 that are marginally hardy can be done by planting in microclimates and protected areas of the garden as well.
Types of Succulents for Zone 5
Many succulents are so adaptable that they can grow in zones from 4 to 9. These tough plants only require well-draining soil and spring and summer sunshine to thrive. Some examples of zone 5 plants include:
- Agave (several species)
- Thompson's or Red Yucca
- Myrtle Spurge
- Stonecrop (and many other species of Sedum)
- Opuntia ' Compressa'
- Jovibarba (Beard of Jupiter)
- Ice Plant
- Orostachys 'Dunce Cap'
- Othonna 'Little Pickles'
- Rosularia muratdaghensis
- Opuntia humifusa
Have fun and mix up these tough succulents. Intermingling them with grasses and other perennial plants can create quite a year-round spectacle with no worries that your succulents won't survive the next harsh winter.
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Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.