The United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map is used by farmers and gardeners to determine the average, or the range, of the annual minimum winter temperature of different regions of the country. This map is divided into 10-degree Fahrenheit zones.
The range of minimum average temperatures in zone 4 is -30 degrees Fahrenheit to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Zone 4 regions include the interior of Alaska, so you can imagine just how cold zone 4 really is.
Interestingly, there are still succulents that are able to grow and thrive in these temperatures.
In this article, we will list and discuss these succulents, so if you are a succulent-lover living in a zone 4 region, read on to find out what to grow.
8 Best succulents for zone 4
1. Sedum spathulifolium
This Sedum species is also known as the broadleaf stonecrop and is coveted by gardeners and succulent collectors alike for its beautiful rosettes of leaves that grow on long stalks. Other cultivars of the plant may have flatter or rounder leaves.
This succulent is an evergreen perennial and is hardy to zone 4 climates.
It likes to be under the full or partial sun and to be watered only when the soil in the pot is dry to the touch.
It can reach a height of six inches and spread to about two feet wide.
2. Sedum matrona
This succulent is a great choice if you want one that has large blooms, huge growth, and is able to grow in cold climates.
Unlike other sedums that keep low to the ground, Sedum matrona grows more like a bush.
Like most of its family, this succulent is low-maintenance, can tolerate periods of drought, and can thrive despite receiving very little attention.
It blooms in the late summer and can encourage the presence of pollinating insects with its pink flowers.
Sedum matrona is hardy to zone 4 provided it gets lots of full sun for several hours a day.
It can grow to 30 inches high and 18 inches wide.
3. Sedum sichotense
The toothed rosettes of this Sedum give it a truly unique look, while the intense orange and red of its foliage give it a lot of personalities.
The foliage will start off more yellow but will turn green the closer summer gets.
When fall comes around, the leaves will turn red and become a deep burgundy in the winter.
If you want to add a pop of color even during the dreary winter months, this is definitely a succulent you need to add to your collection.
Sedum sichotense is hardy to zone 4 and loves getting full or partial sun throughout the day.
It reaches six inches high and 10 inches wide on average and typically becomes dormant during the winter.
4. Sempervivum tectorum
Otherwise known as hens and chicks, this is one of the hardiest succulents that can tolerate and even thrive in winter climates.
The leaves of this plant also form rosettes, and it makes a good ground cover for gardens and landscapes.
It gets its moniker from the fact that the mother plant resembles a mother hen, with its offsets growing out from its sides like little chicks.
If this plant does not get the amount of light that it needs every day, it might start to become leggy as it searches for more light.
It is easy to propagate: all you need to do is to take the offsets, or pups, and plant them in their own pots, and you have a new Sempervivum plant.
If you end up having too many of these plants, they also make good gifts for friends and neighbors.
This plant is hardy to zone 4 and grows best when given lots of sunlight. It can grow up to six inches high and two feet wide.
5. Sempervivum arachnoideum
Another Sempervivum, this variety is also called the cobweb houseleek. It gets its name because it produces cobweb-like hairs on its leaves. The more leaves the plant has, the more it seems as though a spider has actually spun its web across the foliage of the plant.
It has a very unique look that adds something interesting to your garden or your succulent collection.
This succulent is hardy to zone 4 and also likes to be placed where it can get full or partial sunlight. Fully-grown Sempervivum arachnoideum plants are typically three inches tall and four inches wide.
Opuntia compressa is also commonly known as the prickly pear cactus. This drought-tolerant plant is native to desert-like places but it can actually survive in zone 4 climates as well.
Opuntia compressa can actually be eaten, but be careful when handling both the plant and its fruit, because it does have spines that can lodge in your skin if you are not careful.
The pads of the prickly pear can be cut off and used to propagate new plants after they have been calloused over. The pads are sold in grocery stores as food, but you can also buy them and try to grow a prickly pear for yourself.
The prickly pear is an evergreen perennial, but do not be alarmed if its pads become thinner during the winter because this is completely normal.
Ensure that the plant gets full sun and only water it when the top two inches of soil are dry to the touch.
7. Euphorbia myrsinites
The myrtle spurge is a flowering succulent that is hardy to zone 4 climates. It may not look like your typical succulent, but it is, and it is also considered a weed by some people.
In some states, it is required to exterminate the plant because of its sap, which can be a skin irritant. The plant can also cause stomach upset if accidentally ingested.
It is so fast-growing that before you even know you have one, it could have already spread up to 15 feet.
If you live in a place where this is not considered invasive, you can grow it in a pot so that you are able to enjoy its orange and yellow flowers.
This succulent is a herbaceous perennial and is evergreen in warm climates. It loves the heat and prefers being under the full sun.
8. Agave parryi
This hardy Agave species is perfect for places with harsh winters because it can still thrive and produce foliage despite the extreme conditions.
This variety is native to New Mexico and Arizona, so you know that it does well in either very hot or very cold climates.
Unfortunately, this plant dies after blooming, but as long as you keep its offsets or pups, you will have no problem making sure you have one of these plants at all times. It also takes the plant, on average, 25 to 50 years before its first bloom, so you will have it around for a quarter to half a century before it leaves you for greener pastures.
This Agave is slow-growing and is noticeably smaller than most Agave species.
Its foliage is blue and silver and its leaves have spiked tips that give the plant a look quite similar to that of an artichoke.
The flowers grow on the end of stalks that can be as tall as 20 feet. In the wild, clumps of Agave parryi will look absolutely stunning, with all of them producing large yellow flowers on their tall stalks.
This plant is an evergreen perennial and is hardy to zone 4.
The range of minimum average temperatures for zone 4 is -30 degrees Fahrenheit to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Zone 4 hardiness regions include the interior of Alaska, so you can imagine just how cold zone 4 really is.
Despite the extremely low temperatures in zone 4, there are still succulents that are able to tolerate these conditions and can even thrive in them.
These plants may be able to endure the cold, but make sure they are still getting the number of hours they need under full sun every day. Do not water them as long as their soil is still damp. When the top two inches of soil are dry to the touch, you can water them again.
These succulents come in all shapes and sizes, so it is up to you to mix and match the ones you like to create a beautiful display in your garden.