Succulents are renowned for their hardy nature, thriving in arid conditions where other plants might wither. As the much-anticipated autumn arrives, many succulent enthusiasts embark on the journey of transitioning their indoor darlings to the great outdoors. This shift allows succulents to soak up the essence of nature, reaching the pinnacle of their vitality.
However, a concern lingers for novices and those accustomed to indoor cultivation: can succulents be left outdoors in the rain during autumn? The answer is yes. The benefits of rain exposure for succulents, particularly in autumn, might surpass your expectations.
Let's delve into the outdoor care required for succulents when embracing the autumn rain.
The Benefits of Outdoor Care for Succulents in Autumn
Autumn brings a golden opportunity for succulents to thrive in the great outdoors. Succulent plants have a robust origin story. They originated in open terrains, exposed to the elements, drawing sustenance from the soil, rain, and sunlight.
1. The Marvel of Rainwater: Rainwater, rich in nutrients like nitrogen, is a potent elixir for succulents that have endured the summer's thirst. Additionally, rain acts as a natural cleanser, washing away accumulated dust from the leaves.
2. Unobstructed Outdoor Exposure: The absence of shelter allows succulents to bask in full sunlight and well-ventilated environment. The more significant temperature fluctuations foster an environment conducive to achieving their optimal state.
3. Emulating the Native Environment: Outdoor care replicates the conditions of their natural habitat. With well-developed root systems, succulents exhibit enhanced resilience and vigor.
When do you start moving succulents outdoors？
When it comes to growing succulents outdoors, timing is everything. October, in particular, emerges as the prime season for succulent sunbathing.
If you're still on the fence, a good rule of green thumb is to keep an eye on the temperature. Once it dips below 85°F (30℃), it's a green light for outdoor growing. The sweet spot for succulent plants to flourish is between 60 to 80°F (15-25℃).
How to Care for Outdoor Succulents in Fall?
Succulents thrive in the embrace of autumn's rain, bouncing back with vigor after a refreshing shower. However, they still need some extra care. Let's explore some essential care guidelines.
1. Choose suitable varieties for outdoor nurturing
Most succulent plants, such as Echeveria, Sedum, and Crassula, are low-maintenance, which can flourish outdoors. Some mature succulent plants, especially those 4-inch succulents, or those succulent with woody stems, are prime candidates for a delightful vacation outdoors during this season.
Some delicate varieties like Echeveria 'Ice Green', Echeveria Monroe, and Echeveria Agavoides may struggle under the harsh sun and rain.
Young succulents with underdeveloped root systems are susceptible to root rot. Pay special attention to large succulents with tightly clustered leaves and succulent arrangements; water may linger, potentially harboring pathogens over time, leading to spotting and rotting issues.
2. Gradually Transitioning Succulents to the Outdoors
Please remember abrupt exposure to full sunlight can be quite a shock for succulents accustomed to indoor life. It's akin to waking up to a blazing spotlight after a night in soft lamplight. So, take it slow and steady.
Start by offering them short outdoor stints in the early morning or late afternoon. Let them bask in the sun's embrace for about 4-5 hours, then bring them back inside. Gradually extend their outdoor sessions in a week until they adapt outdoors totally.
3. Properly Sheltering Your Succulents from Rain and Sun
In the beginning, we mentioned that rainfall holds many benefits for the outdoor nurturing of succulent plants in autumn. But why emphasize the need for shelter from the rain? While rain can spur rapid growth in succulents, it's not a case of "the more, the merrier". Much like watering, moderation is key.
During prolonged spells of overcast and rainy weather, outdoor succulents might find themselves continuously drenched, with little chance for the soil to dry out. This could lead to root rot or melt of the leaves.
Autumn sun is typically moderate, but in early autumn or certain regions, providing shade to prevent sunburn becomes imperative when the sunlight remains intense.
4. Watering, Tidying Up, and More Essential Daily Care for Succulent Plants
In autumn, the outdoor environment offers excellent ventilation and just the right temperature. However, it also means that soil moisture evaporates faster than in winter. Some areas may not receive regular rainfall, so it's up to us, the diligent gardeners, to water succulents routinely. Keep an eye on the soil, and give it a good drink when it's completely dry. This typically happens every week, but the frequency may vary depending on the size of the potted succulent and regional differences. Learn more about watering succulents here.
Regularly clearing away dried leaves is equally crucial. This practice prevents water accumulation that could lead to leaf over-hydration and reduces the likelihood of fungi and pests.
Opt for well-draining soil like cactus mix and planter pots with ample drainage holes at the bottom. This setup allows excess rainwater to drain away, safeguarding the roots of your cherished succulents from overwatering.
Succulent Care Tips for Autumn Rain
1. Shielding from the Aftermath of Rain and Shine: In certain regions, autumn temperatures can still soar. After a downpour, intense sunlight can lead to water droplets on the leaves acting like magnifying glasses, potentially causing sunburn. It's advisable to either gently dry the leaves or, if possible, provide shelter until the sun mellows.
2. Be Careful Prolonged Rainfall: If your locale experiences 3 consecutive days of rain, consider providing a protective cover. While succulents enjoy an occasional drink, prolonged saturation can lead to waterlogged soil and potential root rot.
In conclusion, transitioning your succulents outdoors in the autumn is a beautiful way to rejuvenate them and let them thrive in their natural habitat. With proper care and attention, succulents can flourish under the gentle autumn rain and sunlight.