Cold-Hardy Succulents: Details, Photos & Varieties

Looking for succulents that go below freezing? You’re in the right place!

About cold-hardy succulents

The common cold-hardy succulents shown here can handle northern winters, snow, rainstorms (if given excellent drainage) and summer dry spells.

Most cold-hardy succulents are in the genera Sedum and Sempervivum.

Sedum (stonecrop)

Trailing varieties are lovely as ground covers and in rock gardens, terraces and hanging baskets. Larger-leaved Mexican sedums (such as burro tail) are less tolerant of damp cold and need to be overwintered indoors or kept in greenhouses. Shrub sedums die back in winter and return in spring. All produce clusters of star-shaped blooms.

Sedum wall (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Vertical tapestry of several varieties of sedum

Sempervivum (hen and chicks)

These resemble echeverias but rosettes have thinner, pointed leaves and a more compact, spherical form. A similar genus, sometimes lumped with Sempervivum, is Jovibarba. These and Rosularia resemble sempervivums and have similar cultivation requirements. Learn more about "semps" and see photos of dozens of beautiful varieties at Mountain Crest Gardens.

Sempervivums (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Sempervivums

 

Certain species of Agave, cacti and ice plants also can handle all but the coldest climates.

Agaves

Agaves that are cold-hardy (if kept dry) include A. ‘Baccarat’, which can go to Zero degrees F. For more on agaves, yuccas and cacti for northerly climates, see the Cold-Climate Succulent Gardens section of Designing with Succulents (2nd ed.).

Delosperma

These ice plants have satiny, daisylike flowers in brilliant hues of pink, orange, red, yellow, purple and combinations thereof. They make great rock garden plants.

Little known but well worth having are cold-hardy lewisias and orostachys.

Lewisia

Native to the Pacific Northwest, it was named after explorer Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. The genus has been extensively hybridized, resulting in vivid-hued cultivars.

Orostachys

This is an intriguing annual that makes a great pot plant. When bred with Sedum the intergeneric cross is Sedoro.

Orostachys chanetii (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Orostachys chanetii

Resources

Videos

Growing Succulents in Northerly Climates, Sempervivums  Part One of my presentation at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. Gorgeous new cultivars and design ideas.

Growing Succulents in Northerly Climates: Sedums and More Part Two of my presentation at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. More cool succulents for cold climates plus how to select, grow and design with them.

Sedum Chicks at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. Designer/grower Becky Sell of Turner, Oregon explains how to beautifully combine sedums, sempervivums and other cold-hardy succulents.

Make a Frost-Hardy Succulent Wreath with Hens-and-Chicks. Simple steps to a stunning wreath!

 

Articles on this site

How to Grow Tender Succulents in Northerly Climates: Resources and info for growing tender succulents in cold, northern climates.

Designing with Cold-Hardy Succulents: Becky Sell of Sedum Chicks plants cold-hardy succulents in repurposed wood-and-metal containers, hypertufa pots, wreaths and more.

Showy Succulents for Snowy Climates (Debra’s Wall Street Journal article)

 

In print

Designing with Succulents (2nd ed.) See the section on Cold-Climate Succulent Gardens.

All my books show design ideas and give care and cultivation for Sedum and Sempervivum.

The Plant Lover’s Guide to Sedums, by Brent Horvath (Timber Press)
Cacti & Succulents for Cold Climates, by Leo Chance (Timber Press)
Hardy Succulents: Tough Plants for Every Climate, by Gwen Kelaidis, Photos by Saxon Holt (Storey Publishing)
Sources
Mountain Crest Gardens sells quality cold-hardy sempervivums and other succulents for pots and garden beds via mail-order at great prices. Many are available in assortments, as solo specimens, bare-root and as cuttings.

Cold-Hardy Succulent Photos

Use my photos of succulents to...

  • Help you learn their names.
  • Create a private Pinterest page of plants you want for your garden.
  • Serve as your computer screen's wallpaper.
  • Make a custom greeting card or other work of art.
  • Help you ID what you already have.

I've identified and labeled photos for you according to genus and species, and common name if available. If you think I've ID'd any incorrectly, I definitely want to know. Please leave a comment or email me. — Debra Lee Baldwin

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