This week’s question is a good one: “Hi and thank you in advance for your help. I live in Texas and have a lot of succulents in pots (20) and other things in the ground like cannas. Question is: how to keep them alive through winter? Get some kind of tarps or bring them into the house or invest in a small greenhouse if so what kind? Thanks!!”
Winter in Texas can be brutal, and like many places, you may need to bring your succulents indoors for winter. It not only protects the plants, but the pots as well. Ceramic pots can crack in frosty temperatures and plants need to be insulated from the cold. All the ideas you inquired about are good. Here are a few options:
Bring them indoors – 20 pots is a lot to carry, but ideally you’d bring them indoors or at least on to an enclosed porch where temperatures are warmer. Indoor plants get really dry, but this is okay for succulents. Just make sure they get enough light. Here is a handy guide for winter care for succulents.
Put them in a Greenhouse – Everyone wants a greenhouse, but not many have room for one. There are many small green houses that work in small spaces, even in urban settings. Greenhouses keep plants protected from frost and generally run warmer than the open outdoors. You can build a compost pile up against the wall of your greenhouse to generate heat inside. Inexpensive greenhouses are available from places like Harbor Freight and can get more pricey as the size increases. I would recommend something with shelves, if your space is limited and your plants are light weight.
Protect them Outdoors – insulation is key to survival for most plants that must endure frost and snow. Some succulents are hardier than others, but you can wrap pots with insulated plant blankets or surround them with straw bales. Moving pots to the south and most sunny side of the house, right up against a wall, will also help. Here’s a website that suggests lowering your pots into holes in the ground as well as other clever ideas.
I hope this helps you plan ahead for your winter garden. Thanks for writing in and happy gardening!