• Cold Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Looking for succulents that go below freezing? You're in the right place! Start with the labeled photos here.Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

These common varieties can handle northern winters, snow, rainstorms (if given excellent drainage) and summer dry spells. There are two main genera: Sedum and Sempervivum. Lesser known are Rosularia, Delosperma, and Orostachys. Certain species of Agave and cacti also can handle all but the coldest climates.

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.

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Based on personal experience, I recommend cold-hardy (and all other) succulents from Mountain Crest Gardens. MCG's quality, variety, availability, packaging, pricing, and customer service are outstanding.

Note: Many plant names have changed. I've updated these according to Brent Horvath's excellent "Plant Lover's Guide to Sedums" (Timber Press).

Cold-Hardy Succulent Sedum confusum (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Cold-Hardy Succulent Sedum dasyphyllum var. macrophyllum (c) Debra Lee Baldwin


Cold-Hardy Succulent Sedum 'Lime Zinger' (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Sedum 'Lime Zinger', from Chris Hansen's patented line of SunSparkler sedums.

Cold-Hardy Succulent Sedum lineare, variegated (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Cold-Hardy Succulent Sedum 'Little Missy' (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Cold-Hardy Succulent yellow Sedum makinoi 'Ogon' (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Cold-Hardy Succulent round leaves Sedum oreganum (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Cold-Hardy Succulent jelly bean Sedum rubrotinctum (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

The correct name is Sedum x rubrotinctum. I can never remember that little "x." (It means "crossed with.") The cultivar name 'Pork and Beans' is correct, except the leaves look more like jelly beans!
Design by Gina Maloney.

Cold-Hardy Succulent sedum puffy pink flowers (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Hylotelephium sieboldii f. variegatum (variegated Sedum sieboldii)

Cold-Hardy Succulent silvery gray Sedum 'Cape Blanco' (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

The full name is Sedum spathulifolium ssp. pruinosum 'Cape Blanco'.

Cold-Hardy Succulent frilly Sedum takesimense (c) Debra Lee Baldwin Updated name: Phedimus takesimensis 'Golden Carpet'

Cold-Hardy Succulent Sedum tetractinum (Chinese stonecrop) (c) Debra Lee Baldwin


Cold-hardy yellow Sedum 'Tokyo Sun' (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

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.

Cold-Hardy Succulent webbed Sempervivum arachnoidum (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Cold-Hardy Succulent Hens-and-chicks Sempervivum 'Black' (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Cold-Hardy Succulent tubular leaves Sempervivum 'Oddity' (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Sempervivum calcareum 'Oddity', above, is also known as 'Griggs Surprise'.

Cold-Hardy Succulent pointed leaves Sempervivum tectorum (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Below: Selected new Sempervivum cultivars (sourced as annotated) shown on Instagram ~

Cold-Hardy Succulents colorful sempervivums

Below: New Sempervivum cultivars from the Instagram page of SMG Succulents ~

Cold-Hardy Succulents colorful sempervivums

More new Sempervivum introductions by hybridizer Kevin Vaughn. Photo courtesy of Mountain Crest Gardens.

Cold-Hardy Succulents outdoors sempervivums

Also from Mountain Crest Gardens:

Cold-Hardy Succulents fuzzy silver sempervivums Cold-Hardy Succulents red sempervivums Cold-Hardy Succulents pointed leaves fuzzy tips sempervivums hens-and-chicks

Cold-Hardy Succulents unusual houseleeks Cold-Hardy Succulents houseleeks


Lesser-known hardy succulents

Cold-Hardy Succulents red jovibarba

Succulents in the genera Jovibarba (above) and Rosularia (below) resemble sempervivums and have similar cultivation requirements.

Cold-Hardy Succulents dainty green rosularia (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

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.).Cold-Hardy Agave 'Baccarat' (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

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.

Cold-Hardy Succulents ice plant Delosperma cooperi (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Cold-Hardy Succulent purple ice plant Delosperma cooperi in bloom

Cold-hardy green mesemb stiff white hairs Delosperma echinatum - Hedgehog Iceplant

Cold-Hardy Succulents Delosperma nubigenum ice plant (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Cold-Hardy Succulent delosperma yellow flowers ice plant (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

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

Cold-Hardy Succulents pink flowers Lewisia (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Cold-Hardy Succulents Coral flower Lewisia (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Orostachys is an annual succulent that dies back after blooming. When bred with Sedum the intergeneric cross is Sedoro.

Cold-Hardy Succulents Orostachys Chinese dunce cap Pale gray (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Learn more:

Go to Mountain Crest Gardens.


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Enjoy my other succulent photo galleries ~