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Question: the succulents in winter
I live in Pavia and, usually in winter, I put my succulents on a table set against the wall in a veranda open on two sides; unfortunately, this winter's tail was particularly stiff (we even touched -12!) and over half of my 40 succulents They're dead. What can I do next winter, given that I kept them at home for a year, but many died from the heat? thanks.
Answer: the succulents in winter
Dear Maria Teresa,
as you rightly said, many succulent plants do not like living in an apartment, especially various species of cacti. In the imagination of many, succulents are native to desert areas, where average temperatures are always very high, as was once the case in old western movies, many of which were shot in areas south of Spain during the summer. But most of the cacti are in fact native to semi-desert areas, where in any case the seasons have different climates; in addition to this, many of them live in areas characterized by highlands, and therefore with quite high altitudes. In addition, the winter months of the areas located in central and northern Mexico (just to give an example of a country from which many cactaceae come) are characterized by sun, almost no precipitation and incredible temperature changes from day to night. For this reason, many cacti can survive even at temperatures below -10 ° C. As long as they are kept in a completely dry place, and therefore away from wind and weather. If closed at home, the falsely "spring" climate and the decidedly dry air confuses the vegetative cycle, and the plants tend irreparably to deteriorate. In principle, the shelter you have prepared for your plants is perfect, even in the area where you live, as the plants are protected from water and receive only a little of the cold that feels completely outdoors, as the walls of the house always disperse a little heat. Clear that, if the winters are particularly harsh, the question changes, especially if the cold arrives in February or March; this is because, in these months, the plants are already preparing for the vegetative growth, and are therefore more prone to suffer due to the cold. In general, however, it is sufficient to cover everything with non-woven fabric, and, when the cold becomes decidedly strong, even with two or three layers of material. You can try to prepare a small shelf, on whose shelves you will place the plants (dry already in October), and near which you can keep two beautiful sheets of non-woven fabric, to be placed on the shelf as soon as the temperatures drop below zero; if you can put the shelf in a place where it doesn't receive rain, but is exposed to the sun, you're done. However, there are several hundred species of succulent plants, and not all of them love the cold; therefore, before placing your plants in their winter shelter, check that they do not belong to delicate species, which will necessarily be kept indoors. If your plants belong to very delicate species, then you can immediately close the shelving, and place a small appliance inside to heat, just those small bathroom heaters, possibly with a timer, to operate at least an hour at night. Obviously, in this case things get complicated, because the plants should not be near the heater, or even near its air jet.