Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Confused on overwintering.

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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Jan 23, 2018 1:33 PM CST
I read many contradicting things on the overwintering issue. I have some questions.
Is forcing desert cacti in winter dormancy imperative? I read that it is, as this prevents etiolation.
But the temperatures that are to kept the cacti when in dormancy are rare happening where I live. Yes, sometimes we could have winter nights from 41 to 50 F (which is 5-10 C), but those will not be many in a winter! So I can't provide my cacti the right low temperatures I read are needed for them to stay dormant until spring.
As for a dark and unheated room, I can provide that. I can crack a window and turn the heater off. But the light will be limited, no sunlight there. My other option is to get them outside either on the north or the south balcony. If I put them at the south balcony, the temperature will get hotter as the sun hits it. At the north balcony, there will be no sunshine, just the colder temperatures, cooler days and colder nights. It is also windy, so much more cooler than the south one.
I have made sure they are kept dry, but still I am at a loss what to do and how to proceed. Shrug!
I read most of the members in cold areas are getting their cacti inside to overwinter, and I have to get them outside to prevent etiolation? Confused
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
[Last edited by Faridat - Jan 23, 2018 1:35 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 23, 2018 2:09 PM CST

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Our temperatures get down to about 8°C/45°F minimum during winter, but it always warms up into the 60s (60°F=16°C) during the day. I leave most of my succulents out year round, but I do keep a few indoors too. All of them get regular water during winter (when it isn't raining) and lots of light. Even the dormant plants (like Pachypodiums which go leafless in winter) still get regular water in the winter, just half as often.

Sure, you can force dormancy if you want. I don't do it because I don't have to. A good rule of thumb for your indoor succulents is that they are getting enough light if they can "see" the sun for hours a day, and it's warm enough to continue watering if daytime temperatures get to near room temperature (say 68°F/20°C).

Your south facing balcony might be the best place for succulents this time of year. You do need to be careful putting indoor plants out there in the sun (especially if it's for most of the day, which is often the case with a southern exposure). The jump in light can be overwhelming if it's not done gradually over time. Start in a protected place in mostly shade for a couple of weeks, then some morning sun, and so on. Sun shock is the number one killer of cacti here (historically, if not currently) so I speak from experience when I say that you have to take it slow when you turn up the light.

My indoor plants are behind the glass doors to our south-facing balcony (basically the indoor equivalent of that location). They get sun for a few hours in the afternoon, good air flow, moderate temps (50s and 60s at night), and regular water every week or two year round. I would not consider moving them outside (say a foot from where they are, right outside the glass door on the balcony) without first giving them several weeks in a more protected spot to get used to the sun.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 23, 2018 2:09 PM (+)]
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Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
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Faridat
Jan 23, 2018 2:39 PM CST
Thanks a ton Baja! So, I keep them outside on my south facing balcony, after I acclimate them for some weeks? And do they get watered or shall I treat them as if they are dormant, that is no water until spring?
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Jan 23, 2018 2:43 PM CST

Moderator

If they are outside and temperatures are moderate, water when the soil is dry. That will take longer this time of year than spring or summer.
Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
Orchids Region: Europe Garden Art Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Faridat
Jan 23, 2018 2:47 PM CST
Thank You! Much appreciated!
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer

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