Succulents are highly adaptive plants and as such can be grown in most places of the world. However, some of them are quite sensitive to frost and hence will die if grown outside in the winter weather of Seattle.
Can succulents grow in Seattle? Succulents can grow really well in Seattle’s climate especially during the warmer months of the year. To combat the extreme cold of the winter, you can either opt for “cold hardy” succulents or can bring all the succulents indoors right after the fall.
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Let’s have a look at 7 Best Succulents You can Grow in Seattle
Also Called: Job’s Beard
Key points about growing Sempervivum heuffelii
- Sempervivum has its very own characteristic rosette look which instantly changes the landscape of a place.
- Sempervivum heuffelii is great to be grown in USA hardiness zones of 4a to 9b, which means it can tackle lower temperatures up to -34°C (source).
- The mother plant generally dies off after flowering but it produces multiple offsets which can then take its place. You can remove these offsets and grow them in separate pots preferably during the warmer months.
- It will be a good idea to grow them under some kind of shed in the garden as they dont do well with too much watering. They are quite tolerant to cold but are quite sensitive to waterlogged soil. So protect them from the rain.
Personal take on Sempervivum heuffelii
It will be hard to find someone not loving Sempervivums. They are easy to grow, quite tolerant of harsh growing conditions, and have extremely low watering needs. They also produce multiple offsets hence the plant is superbly easy to propagate.
Sempervivum arachnoideum “Cebenese”
Also Called: Cobweb houseleek
Key points about growing Sempervivum arachnoideum
- These succulents have got a webbed rosette leaf foliage and arrangement which makes them stand out.
- Sempervivum arachnoideum can tolerate extreme cold conditions and even can put up with the snowfall. (Can tolerate as low temperatures as of -29°C) (source).
- Just like Sempervivum heuffelii, this variety of Sempervivum genus also dies off after flowering once, however produces many offsets before dying.
- Has very low watering needs, prefers partial sun but can put up with the full sun. In fact, this is a succulent that should be grown outdoors owing to its high sunlight needs. Can adapt well to local weather conditions.
- Grows actively during summer and goes dormant during the winter. Cut back on watering during the winter. Produces pinkish star-shaped wonderful looking flowers.
Personal take on Sempervivum arachnoideum
This is another of my favorite outdoor succulents! Can grow literally anywhere but prefers to be grown outdoors. Can be easily grown in rock gardens or for a sharp contrast among the other succulents. This is perfect for the colder winters in Seattle.
Sedum “Golden Moss”
Key points about growing Sedum “Golden Moss”
- This is a beautiful looking green succulent that loves to be grown outdoors as it loves loads of sunlight. However, it can be even grown indoors provided it gets a lot of indirect sunlight.
- Can tackle lower temperatures of 25°F-20°F (-3°C to -6°C).
- It can be grown as a small cute bushy plant, as ground cover, in containers, and in rock walls. You can even grow it in hanging containers.
- Produces strikingly bright-looking star-shaped yellow flowers in the summer which looks outstanding especially cause of the sharp contrast with green-colored leaves.
- Extremely low maintenance can put up with low water conditions and is quite hardy. However, needs protection from winter wetness. Can tolerate full sun as well.
A personal take on Sedum “Golden Moss”:
This is a robust looking succulent that will definitely put an elegant touch to your garden! It grows well under colder temperatures and can thrive in neglect! Just make sure to put on some clothing cover during extreme winter conditions for extra protection.
Prickly Pear Cactus
Key points about growing Prickly Cactus
- The prickly Pear cactus family is the home of many attractive cactuses that can grow really well in Seattle. They are cold hardy and can even go through periods of snowing! However, you should always take extra measures to protect your plants during the winter(as discussed below).
- Has got attractive-looking pads and produces fruits and flowers during the summer months which makes them look wonderful! After fall the pads start shrinking as it starts losing water to prepare for the winter.
- Always take caution while handling the cactuses! Wear gloves and full sleeves as the pads are filled with really sharp spines that can cause cuts and skin allergy.
- They love full sun and avoid watering after the fall especially if you are keeping them outside.
A personal take on Prickly Cactus
If you are into cactuses then you should definitely go for the Opuntia variety. They are quite attractive looking, very much low maintenance and are cold hardy. Some well-known varieties of Opuntia that can be grown in Seattle include Opuntia rufida, Opuntia humifusa, Opuntia fragilis, Opuntia compressa.
Region of Origin: North America
Key points about growing Yucca
- Yuccas has got a splendid presence with its characteristic long and slender pointed leaves. You should use gloves while trimming or moving the plant around as the pointed leaves are spiky.
- Produces wonderful looking white blooms during spring or early summer. The succulent can grow really tall(around 10 feet in some cases).
- You should stop fertilizing the plant post Summer as that can further generate growth during the colder months and this must be avoided as they can find it hard to go through proper growth during such cold temperatures.
- As a precaution measure stop watering the plant post-August or September as that will help them to survive the freezes (source).
- Ideally, they survive best in warmer temperatures but there are winter hardy Yuccas that can tackle low temperatures well below freezing point. Some of the varieties include Yucca glauca, Yucca baccata. (source).
- However, it will be best if you can bring them indoors or at least on the balcony or under some shady place in the garden and then further cover it with a cloth.
A personal take on growing Yucca
Yuccas are strikingly elegant plants that you can grow in your garden. It will surely turn heads as full-grown Yuccas can be huge! However, if you are growing them in Seattle make sure to go for the cold-hardy varieties.
Also Called: Pearl plant
Region of origin: Southern part of Africa
Key points about growing Haworthia
- These are some of the best succulents you can grow owing to its easy to care for properties and high adaptability. Also, it is a succulent that should be grown strictly indoors!
- They love moderate sunlight as even in their native places they generally grow under shady trees. As long as it gets 3 to 4 hours of bright indirect sun, it will be happy so consider placing it near the south or east-facing windows.
- White-colored warts on the long slender leaves look beautiful and hence Haworthia is popularly grown as a decorative succulent. This is a highly beginner-friendly succulent and does well on its own when basic needs are fulfilled.
- Avoid watering the leaves and aim for the stem base always. Cut off watering during the colder months.
- The succulent cannot handle temperatures below 5°C and hence should be kept in warm indoor conditions always. Make sure to keep it in a well-ventilated room with low moisture for better results.
A Personal Take on Haworthia
There are quite a few popular varieties of Haworthia and all of them more or less have the same characteristics except some variations in appearances. They are easy to grow and maintain and they can be propagated very easily.
Hence it is just a perfect indoor plant that will improve the aesthetics of your indoor environment and won’t require that much hassle for maintenance.
Key points about growing Aloe Vera
- Aloe vera is the most popular succulent out there cause of the highly adaptive feature of the succulent. It is grown as an indoor plant for thousands of years!
- Aloe vera is an incredibly beginner-friendly plant…They are just the perfect plants that can grow under moderate to extremely low light conditions.
- Aloe has got greenish juicy leaves which are rich in gels that have been used for skin and hair care all across the world.
- The succulent produces simple-looking long and thick pointed leaves and hence have got a minimalistic touch.
- The fleshy leaves help them to store water for a long time and this is such an indoor plant that can survive upon neglect. Putting them on the study desk or sofa table will instantly bring a calm and soothing vibe to the room!
A personal take on Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is that one plant that is a must in every succulent lover”s house! Succulents, in general, are quite adaptive in nature but aloe vera is undoubtedly one of the most adaptive plants out there.
It can grow under moderate to low to very low light, can go without water for weeks(though that shouldn’t happen!), and can survive harsher environments.
How do you care for succulents in Seattle?
- Growing succulents in containers rather than on the ground is a great idea especially if you live in Seattle. The best and safest option is to bring the succulents indoors during the intense colder periods of the year. So growing them in containers will help.
Even though most of the succulents mentioned listed here are quite cold-hardy there is no 100% guarantee that they will survive after being out in freezing temperatures for months.
- If bringing them indoors is not an option then you should at least try to put them under some kind of shade in the garden. This will make sure the succulents don’t get rained upon frequently and it will save them from the snow in the winter. If even that’s not possible then you should at least get it covered with blankets and keep them that way for the colder months.
- If you cannot grow them under some kind of shade then consider having a system in place where you can instantly cover your outdoor succulent garden with a plastic cover as per need.
- For additional protection, you should also cover the root zone of the plant with organic mulch which will act as an insulating layer to keep the cold away.
- Only water the succulents when the soil feels dry and whenever in doubt hold back on watering. They can tackle underwatering but not overwatering. For better results, you can use a moisture meter which will make this process of determining the right time to water your plants easy.
- While watering the succulents, avoid watering the leaves and only aim for the stem base and soil. The majority of the water absorption happens through the roots so moisture presence on the leaves can lead to fungal infection.
- Always use a well-draining cactus mix soil that is rich in inorganic materials. This is a must for growing succulents.
For more info on the soil preparation on succulents read:
- Can You Use Garden soil for Succulents & Cactus?
- Can You Use Succulent Cactus Soil for Regular Plants?
- How to Prepare Soil for Succulents(Indoors & Outdoors)
Growing succulents is possible in any place in the world as long as you take the right precautions.
If you dont feel confident growing succulents outside considering your weather you can always grow them indoors and as long as you keep them beside a sunny window in a well-ventilated room, water them when the soil feels dry they will take care of themselves.
However, if you want to grow them outside then you need to go for some specific varieties that can put up with the characteristic Seattle weather all year round, and even then you need to provide them some extra helping hand.