Winter can be tough. All the leaves are gone. Usually, it’s really cold and February, historically, has the fewest days of sunshine. So far, at least on the east coast in VA, it’s been pretty mild, but they always say “don’t like the weather in Virginia? Wait 10 minutes.” We definitely live in a fluctuating climate.
The part that doesn’t change is that we still need sunshine, food, water, and shelter, both for ourselves and our succulents. These are essentially basic needs we always have, but during the winter things change for our succulents, and depending on the type of succulent, those changes can vary. Some things change for us too like our motivation to get outside, our diets, and our sleep patterns.
Let there be Light
The sun is very important to both us and our plants. During the winter months, when the days are shorter, getting enough sunlight represents a challenge to humans and plants alike. Depending on your specific succulent the amount of light needed will vary. Winter dormant succulents can get by on less or indirect light. Some succulents are active growers during the winter and they need a little more light. Place these the succulents in a window that gets the most direct sun for the longest period of time during the day.
We need sunlight too. Often during the winter months many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is caused by sunlight deprivation. It is especially important for people who sit in an office all day to spend a little time out in the sunshine when it’s around. Take breaks, get fresh air, and let the sun shine on your face to boost your spirits during the cold winter months. This is an easy Small Act.
The basic necessities
On a basic level we all need food, water, and shelter. These elements are important for our succulents too. It’s best not to “feed” winter dormant succulents with fertilizer during the winter. Water is important too! We never want to overwater our succulents, but this is especially important during the winter months. For winter dormant succulents a deep watering once a month should be sufficient. It’s best not to re-pot or disturb your winter dormant succulents. It’s better to wait until new signs of growth appear before pruning, shaping or repotting.
We have these same needs. We slow down in the winter. We often want to stay curled on the couch watching Netflix and eating cookies, especially during the holiday season. We may become dormant too. However, it’s important to remember that what we put in, we get out. Our energy levels are affected by our diet and activity. So, a second Small Act, stay active, try to eat healthy, and as always, drink plenty of water. Our bodies are 80% water! If we’re lucky enough to have shelter, it’s a good time to organize when we’re stuck inside on those nasty winter days.
We all need love
It may not be obvious whether your succulent is an active grower or dormant during the winter. The most common succulents, Crassulas such as jade and sedum, are actually active winter growers. This is somewhat of a misnomer because the true growth happens during the fall and spring rather than in the dead of winter, but there may still be persistent, while slow, growth during the cold winter months. To truly know, and as always, pay attention to your succulents. Give them your love. Visit them each day to say hello. See how they’re doing. Check in.
The same is true for ourselves. Winter can be challenging, but taking the time to connect with others and get out of the house with friends is important. The last Small Act, spend time with people you love and nurture yourself too. Stay positive and you can bet spring time will come before you know it.
A Small Act Feature by Heather, of Small Acts Count