Succulents in Hibernation: Which Succulents are Sleeping? When and Why?

Extended Succulents

Succulents are so ambiguous that they make the most experienced gardeners more stupefied than novice succulent growers.

The most confusing and unexplored aspect of succulent farming is the hibernation of succulents. Let’s untangle this ball together!

Do all succulents hibernate? Do they need to be irrigated at rest? Do they need to be backlit? Which succulents sleep in summer and which ones in winter? Understanding the succulents’ hibernation plays a crucial role in the care and maybe the first step in identifying problems. At the end of the article, a list of succulents and their rest and growth periods will also be presented.

What is the rest period?


In the life activity of many plants comes a period when almost all physiological processes such as growth, development, reproduction, fluid movement in cells are suspended. This state of minimal metabolic activity is similar to that of hibernation, in which bears in nature fall. The essence of this rest period is the same as hibernation, the plant must survive adverse changes in the environment. During the rest period, the plant tries to save as much energy as possible, protecting itself from harsh weather conditions. This is how trees in nature survive harsh winters, dropping all their leaves and leaving only strong wood and powerful bark to withstand the harsh cold.

When other plants, not succulents, go into hibernation, it is immediately visible. Whether it’s a giant tree, blossoming shrubs, onion flowers, fruit trees, or perennials, the hibernation of plants is usually sharp and dramatic. Leaves turn brown and fall off. All visible signs of growth and life are gone. It looks as if the plant has died.

In succulents, everything happens differently. Many succulents do not drop their leaves at all; others do not change at all when they hibernate. All this is easily misleading. What to do with succulents that do not look good in summer? We often go into excessive care, begin to fertilize, transplant, or put a lamp more powerful – everything that can help to meet our favourite succulents. However, if a succulent has gone into hibernation, the best thing you can do for him is to leave him alone during the rest period.

When do succulents go into hibernation?

Succulents Cactus

Not all succulents hibernate. But those who can go into hibernation either in winter or summer, depending on the climate of the country where they come from. For example, Aeonium arboretum is the brightest representative of “sleeping” succulents, its bright and lush sockets generously drop their leaves when the time has come. It is a natural protective reaction of the plant to harsh weather conditions in its native climate. Many succulents fall into a state of rest without dropping their leaves or showing any visible external changes.

As for the Aeoniums, they hibernate to avoid the summer heat and blossom in mild winters. Many succulents are hibernating in summer like the Aeonium. Such hibernating succulents have adapted in the course of evolution to withstand hot summer, dramatically reducing their need for water and nutrients and reducing their metabolism to almost zero. As soon as it cools down in autumn, they will wake up again and continue to grow and develop. This is the time when they need moisture and nutrition. Sleeping succulents in summer actively grow in winter.

Other succulents, on the contrary, prefer to fall asleep in winter to survive extremely cold temperatures. Whether it is winter hibernation or summer hibernation, it is due to the native climate of a particular kind of succulent. In those countries where summer is very hot and winters are mild, the succulents coming from these countries will have a period of rest in summer and a period of growth in winter. In countries with a more severe climate, cold-resistant succulents often fall asleep in winter and actively wake up in summer.

Do succulents always go into hibernation?

Although the general laws of biology and genetic code have a significant effect on succulents, forcing them either to hibernate or not to hibernate, this does not mean that succulents are unquestioned robots. They like all life on this planet has their intellect and consciousness at its certain “thin” level.

Not all sleeping succulents hibernate in summer if the summer is not so hot. For the same reason, succulents sleeping in winter do not necessarily go to sleep, if the weather is not cold enough and they are in a warm place at home. Many succulents will continue to grow as long as the current conditions are favourable. Many succulents have “opportunistic hibernation,” the ability to hibernate when it is profitable to do so. This allows the succulents to be more flexible to changes in their environment. A hot summer pushes them to hibernation, while a moderately hot summer allows them to actively grow and develop further.

This tricky “opportunistic” hibernation can make the succulents behave differently in the same weather. For example, in the same apartment or garden, Aeonium Kiwi can hibernate in one place if it is in direct sunlight, and in another place, if it grows in the shade, it can continue its growth!

Care for succulents in hibernation

Care Succulents

Hibernation in succulents is not a signal that they are suffering or missing something. They hibernate from their needs and feelings. Do you need to make any changes in care when the succulents are asleep? Everything is simple, it is better to give the plant to yourself and not to touch it.

There is no need to clean sleeping succulents in a dark corner, they can also hibernate when backlit. Because plants have a root system, in nature, there is no such way for them to move from one corner to another 🙂. If your succulent is in direct sunlight and you are afraid of sunburn, you need to create shade in summer. If the plant is not cold-tolerant, you should protect it in a strong cold.

Water consumption consumes a lot of energy and energy, and during the rest period the plant slows down this function to the maximum. Even if the ground is completely dry and you are sure that it is time to water it, you should refrain from it. Only when you see such signs of dehydration as wrinkled and sluggish leaves, you can water the plant with a calm soul without fear of overwetting it. Also do not apply any fertilizer if the succulent sleeps. Put some more pillows on it and wait for your sleeping beauties to wake up!