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.

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

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Also known as Sedum dasyphyllum var. macrophyllum

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

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

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

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 Succulents for Northern Climates

Hylotelephium sieboldii f. variegatum (variegated Sedum sieboldii)

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

The full name is Sedum spathulifolium ssp. pruinosum ‘Cape Blanco’.

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern ClimatesUpdated name: Phedimus takesimensis ‘Golden Carpet’

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

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 Succulents for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

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

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

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

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

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

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

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

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Also from Mountain Crest Gardens:

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

 

Lesser-known hardy succulents

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

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

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

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 Succulents for Northern Climates

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 for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

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 for Northern Climates

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

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

Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

Learn more:

Go to Mountain Crest Gardens.

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 WSJ 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)

On my YouTube channel:

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!

Enjoy my other succulent photo galleries ~

Aeoniums

Aloes 

Crassulas 

Echeverias