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 temperatures of different regions of the country. This map is divided into 10-degree Fahrenheit zones.
The USDA hardiness zone 5 has a minimum temperature range of -20 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. These places typically experience a moderately cold winter and include the states of Pennsylvania, New York, New England, Idaho, and some parts of Alaska.
-20 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit is very cold, so you need to choose the right kind of plants if you want them to survive in these conditions.
In this article, we will discuss the different kinds of succulents that are hard enough to survive and thrive in zone 5. If you are currently living in an area that belongs in this zone and you are planning on growing succulents, just keep reading.
How does one know which succulents can survive in zone 5 and which cannot?
The USDA hardiness zone map is used to identify the types of plants that can grow in a specific area and whether they will be able to thrive in that area’s specific climate.
Some succulents are able to tolerate extremely cold conditions because they have lived in similar conditions in their natural habitat for hundreds or thousands of years.
There are other succulents that, although not as hardy as those that belong in zone 5, maybe grow in this climate by heavily mulching them so that their roots are protected from possible damage by the snow and the cold.
The hardiness zone of your plant can usually be found on its tag when you purchase it from the nursery or the store. If there is no such information attached to the plant, do not be afraid to ask the professional working in the store for their opinion and advice.
Zone 5 includes areas of Pennsylvania, New York, New England, Idaho and Alaska. These places can get quite chilly in the winter, so you must have succulents that can tolerate -10 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.
You do not need to worry much about these succulents during the summer; they will do just fine and even thrive in warm temperatures.
7 Best succulents for Zone 5
1. Euphorbia myrsinites
This succulent is also called the myrtle spurge and it is identified by its bluish-green leaves that grow in a spiral. It produces beautiful yellow flowers that grow on yellow-colored bracts.
It is quite versatile and can grow in zones 5 to 9. Place it in a spot where it can get lots of sunlight and make sure that the soil is well-draining, sandy and gravelly.
This succulent is able to tolerate periods of drought and will not need to be watered as often as most plants.
Water the plant when the soil in the pot is dry to the touch. If the top two inches of soil are still damp, wait one or two days before checking again. This is done to avoid overwatering the plant, thus ensuring it does not get root rot.
2. Sempervivum tectorum
The Sempervivum genus is composed of numerous succulents that are hardy enough to survive in zone 5 conditions. In fact, some of the succulents in this group can even survive all the way to zone 3.
The most popular Sempervivum is probably the one more commonly known as hens and chicks.
Plant this succulent in well-draining soil and place it in an area where it can get lots of sunlight throughout the day. Before watering it, check the top two inches of soil with your finger and, if the soil is dry, water the plant. If it is still damp, wait one or two days before checking the soil again.
This plant is very easy to grow, both in containers or pots and in outdoor gardens.
It is called the hens and chicks Sempervivum because the mother plants grow little offsets, or pups, which make the plant look like a hen with its baby chicks around it.
It can survive in drought conditions and it can be used as a good ground cover for your rock garden or landscapes.
The Delosperma, or the ice plant, is a hardy succulent that is able to grow and thrive in zone 5 conditions.
It is called the ice plant not because of its ability to survive in cold temperatures, but because its foliage is covered in white flakes that make the plant look as if it is covered in ice crystals.
This plant can make a great and colorful addition to your landscapes and outdoor garden because of the bright purple, orange, yellow and red colors of its daisy-like flowers.
Place the plant in areas where it can get lots of bright sunlight and plant it in sandy soil that is well-draining.
This plant is able to tolerate drought and only needs to be watered when the soil around it is dry to the touch. This will ensure that you do not overwater the plant and possibly cause root rot.
4. Agave havardiana
This specific variety of Agave is also called Harvard’s Agave. It is an evergreen succulent with blue leaves.
This Agave is hardy enough to survive and thrive in zone 5 conditions, where it likes to grow under the full sun in well-draining soil.
It does not like to be watered too often because it is able to store plenty of water in its leaves and body. It can tolerate drought as well as very cold conditions.
5. Rosularia muratdaghensis
This succulent looks very similar to the hens and chicks Sempervivum because of the appearance of its rosettes.
It is a perennial succulent that has small, hairy rosettes formed by its leaves and yellow or creamy-white tubular flowers that grow on spikes. Its flowers bloom during the summer.
Rosularia muratdaghensis is hardy to the cold of zone 5, so you can grow it in your outdoor garden and landscapes.
Plant the succulent where it can get lots of sun as it grows, and use well-draining, sandy soil to ensure that the plant reaches its full potential.
It is tolerant of drought and needs very little care and attention to grow well.
This succulent is also called the Chinese dunce cap. It is an interesting-looking succulent with spires of silvery-lavender, cone-shaped rosettes.
It is a match for zones 5 to 10, which means it can adapt to a wide array of different temperatures and climates.
Growing this succulent is not very challenging because it does not require too much care and attention to grow well.
Plant it in sandy, well-draining soil and water it only when the top two inches of soil are completely dry to the touch.
This succulent, especially the “Little Pickles” variety, is a slow-growing plant that has small, blue-green leaves resembling tiny pickles, hence its name.
Othonna can grow in hardiness zones 5 to 9.
This is a low-growing succulent that makes an amazing ground cover, and it will grow well in containers, rock gardens and even your outdoor landscapes.
It is able to tolerate drought and does not need to be watered that often. Water it only when the soil in the pot is dry to the touch.
Plant this succulent in a spot where it can get lots of sunlight and use well-draining soil to avoid overwatering and root rot.
How do I keep zone 5 succulents from dying in the freezing temperatures?
In order to ensure that your succulents do not die in zone 5 temperatures, you can try placing mulch around the root zone so that the soil is kept warm.
You can also grow the succulents in a microclimate in your garden, where there are lots of rocks to help conserve the heat. This helps even semi-hardy succulents to grow in cold climates.
You can also use a frost blanket to protect your plants from the cold.
If you feel the plant cannot handle the cold, you can always bring it indoors and keep it there until the temperature outside starts to become warmer.
The USDA hardiness zone 5 has a minimum temperature range of -20 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit, which is very cold, so you need to choose the right kind of plants if you want them to survive these conditions.
There are plenty of succulents that are still able to survive and thrive in zone 5 conditions, so if you really want to continue growing succulents despite living in a cold climate, you can definitely do so.
These succulents come in all different shapes, colors and sizes, so it is up to you to mix and match them as you like in your outdoor garden or landscape.
The important thing to keep in mind is that the succulents you choose should be placed where they can get lots of bright sunlight throughout the day. Also, only water them when the top two inches of their soil are dry to the touch. These rules are important because they help your plant avoid overwatering and possible root rot.