How to Help Cactus Survive in Winter

How to help cactus survive in winter

Winter conditions can definitely challenge cacti, especially if they live outside for most of the year. Unfortunately, many cacti die off during winter without proper care, and due to this fear, many people ask how to care for Cactus in winter.

Keep in mind that some cacti can become frostbitten in harsh winds and temperatures; therefore, they need to be carefully covered with Burlap as late in the season as possible.

Don't worry if it seems confusing to you. We have shared multiple methods to care for your Cactus in winter. Indeed at the end of this guide, you'll be able to save your Cactus plants during the whole winter. 

So let's get started.

Can Cactus Survive Winter? 


Yes. Succulents are also known as drought-tolerant plants, but few of them can also tolerate Frost. They thrive in snowy weather, and cold and extreme temperature even brings out their unique and vibrant colors. Such succulents are called Hard Succulents.

Some cold-hardy succulents belong to the Sedum, Sempervivum, and Euphorbias genera. Most of these succulents can tolerate temperatures as low as -20F (Hardiness Zone 5), so you can easily grow those succulents outside all year round.

On the other side, Soft Succulents are more sensitive to Frost and must be given proper care and attention in winter when the temperature falls below freezing point. Click here to learn more about how to care for soft succulents in winter.

Indoor cactus plants grow well indoors

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Now that you have gotten your main answer, it's time to know how to care for Cactus in winter. We have shared a step-by-step guide for indoor and outdoor cacti so enjoy reading.

How To Care For Outdoor Cacti In Winter?


When it comes to caring for an outdoor cactus in winter, the process is trickier. Depending on the species of your Cactus, some may tolerate colder environments, and others may die off without your care.

Snow-covered cactus plant outdoors in winter

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In general, you need to pay proper attention to your Cactus in winter. Consider these steps to keep your outdoor Cactus safe and secure during the winter season:

Watering Your Outdoor Cactus


The average Cactus needs to be watered once a month, but during the winter, you might not need to water your outdoor Cactus.

In the winter, it's best to let nature take its course and water the Cactus whenever necessary. Melting snow and rain can provide your cacti with adequate water, making your added watering efforts void.

Remember, if you decide to water your Cactus during the water (and the temperature is freezing), this could result in the total freezing of the Cactus internally and kill it. Click here to learn how to save the frozen cactus.

Outdoor cacti growing in your yard are likely acclimated to the seasons and, before winter arrives, will begin preparing for the upcoming harshness by storing the water they need.

So, make sure to water your outdoor cacti before winter.

Prevent Runoff


If you have Cactus planted in a particularly low area of your yard, consider taking measures to keep water (namely, melted snow) away from them.

Remember, excess water or near-freezing water is a death sentence for your Cactus. 

If your Cactus is potted, you can reduce runoff simply by changing the location of your Cactus to another area of your garden. The best place for an outdoor potted cactus is on a covered woodshed or patio.

Moving your Cactus to these areas could also block biting winds.


On the other side, if your Cactus is fixed and planted in the ground, It would help if you considered adding an attractive and efficient landscaping vibe, such as a dry riverbed around the area.

Any melted snow runoff will be dispersed away from your cacti by the sunken ground and spaces between the rocks. 

Installing a drain to the road is also an option.

Protect Your Cactus With Burlap


Cover your Cactus with Burlap but be gentle to prevent it from becoming frostbitten. Burlap is porous enough and allows your Cactus to breathe. It's also sturdy enough to keep strong winds and ice from negatively impacting your Cactus.

You can also place any covering over your Cactus to prevent them from snow and harsh winds. This is an affordable solution if you want something other than Burlap. In addition, these covers will maintain a tolerable temperature for your Cactus.

Covering the tops of cacti to prevent frost

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How To Care For Indoor Cacti In Winter?


When planted outside, taking care of your indoor cacti in winter is very easy. 

The reason behind this is that your home's temperature can easily be adjusted to the liking of your Cactus, and where there is a lack of Sunlight, grow lights are available to supplement.

You can take these steps to care for your indoor cacti in winter:



Although the amount of water your cactus needs differ from specie to specie, as a rule of a green thumb, you should only water your indoor cacti once a month during winter.

The amount of water you water your Cactus in the warmer months is exactly what you should be watering in the cooler months.

Water cactus plant in winter

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Watering Tips:

Below are a few watering tips for your Cactus:

● Avoid Overwatering: When it comes to moisture, less is more. Overwatering can lead to root rot in cacti.


● Proper Draining: Ensure your Cactus is draining water properly because too much water can kill your Cactus.

Temperature Control


The usual indoor temperature of your home is perfect for maintaining a cactus plant. But 65-70F is ideal for most cacti.

If your Cactus is placed near the frequently used door to the outside, changing its location until the weather begins to warm is recommended. 

No doubt the overall temperature of your home is normal but frequent exposure to freezing temperatures isn't safe for your Cactus.

Sunlight Exposure


Like watering, the amount of Sunlight you need depends on your Cactus specie. Some cacti species will only need 4 hours of Sunlight to be happy, while others require 6-8 hours. 

Look for the area of your home that receives the most Sunlight and grow your Cactus there.

Cactus getting sunlight on the windowsill

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Click here to know how much sunlight do succulents and cacti need to grow.

Best Cactus Species For Winter


Below are our favorite cactus species that can tolerate the cold:

1. Brittle Prickly Pear (Opuntia Fragilis)
2. Chollas (Cylindropuntia)
3. Eastern Prickly Pear (Opuntia humifusa)
4. Old Man Of The Andes (Oreocereus celsianus)
5. Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus Triglochidiatus)
6. Pincushion Cactus (Escobaria Vivipara)

Note: The Cactus mentioned above are extremely dangerous to children and pets.

Final Words


The article concluded that some cacti could become frostbitten in harsh winds and temperatures; therefore, they need to be properly cared for and paid full attention to.

Hopefully, now you can know how to care for Cactus in winter and all the facts related to the Cactus plant.

The above guide and facts are based on our deep research and experience, and we're sure you'll benefit significantly from them.


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