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.
USDA hardiness zone 6 has a minimum average temperature, during the winter season, of -10 to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. This zone covers a large part of the United States, and several zone 6 regions have temperatures that can drop to -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
This zone typically experiences cold winters, with a mild to hot summer.
You might think that succulents can only grow in desert climates, but there are actually hardy succulents that can grow, and even thrive, in climates with cold winters. These succulents are used in landscaping and in rock gardens.
In this article, we will discuss the various succulents that do well in zone 6. So, if you live in a place included in USDA hardiness zone 6 and you would like to create an outdoor succulent display, then just keep reading.
7 Best succulents for zone 6
The Yucca is a very easy succulent to grow and care for and can do well in zone 6. The Color Guard Yucca is the best variety for this zone and has variegated foliage which makes it stand out in any garden. It can grow in both rock gardens and in landscapes and goes great along with perennials outdoors or even in containers indoors.
This plant grows well under direct sunlight but can also tolerate partial shade for several hours a day. It can tolerate wind, heat, and even drought-like conditions because it is able to store water for times of drought.
If you live in a place with some wildlife, do not worry because deer and rabbits do not typically like eating this plant.
2. Ice plant
The ice plant, specifically the purple ice plant, is a kind of succulent that grows low on the ground, making it a good choice as a ground cover around your other plants. It produces flowers that look a lot like purple daisies, which gives the plant its signature striking and beautiful look. It blooms in the summer and you will be able to appreciate its beautiful flowers throughout the entire season.
The ice plant grows well in sandy soil or in rock gardens, and can grow to around four inches tall and a foot wide. It is hardy and can thrive in zone 6 regions.
If you were thinking that this plant got its name because of its hardy nature, this is not the case. It is called an ice plant because its foliage and flowers look glossy and reflective, as though they were covered in ice crystals.
Place the plant under full sunlight and only give it water when the soil in the pot has dried out completely. To be sure that it needs watering, touch the soil in the pot. If it is dry, water the plant, but if it is still damp, wait one or two days before checking the soil again. Being vigilant of the plant’s watering needs will keep it from becoming overwatered and save it from possible root rot.
3. Frosty Morn Sedum
Sedums are some of the most hardy succulents that can grow in cold climates such as those included in zone 6.
The Frosty Morn Sedum is one such variety, with markings on its leaves and pretty flowers.
This plant is very easy to grow and care for; there is not much you need to do to make it happy. It can even grow in a hardiness zone as low as 3, so it will have no problem growing in zone 6.
Keep your Frosty Morn Sedum in a spot where it can get lots of sun, and plant it in well-draining soil. If you give the plant all of its basic needs, it should have no problem thriving in this environment.
Sempervivum is another family of succulents that grow well in zone 6. These succulents are beautifully symmetrical with their rosette formations, which is why they make great decorative plants.
The most popular Sempervivum variety is probably the hen and chicks. This plant gets its name because the mother plant produces tiny offsets, or pups, that make the plant look like a mother hen and its many little chicks surrounding it.
This plant is very easy to grow and care for and requires very little attention to thrive.
Zone 6 is completely fine for it, and it can even tolerate zone 3 if it needs to.
It will definitely add a pop of color to your zone 6 outdoor succulent gardens.
This Sempervivum likes to be planted in well-draining soil and placed in a spot where it can get lots of sunlight. It is tolerant of drought, but should ideally be watered when the soil in the pot becomes dry.
5. Sedum cauticola
Sedum cauticola is a slow-growing, spreading succulent that is quite colorful.
It will not take over your garden too aggressively, which is an annoying characteristic of many sedums.
This succulent has bluish-gray foliage with purple edges that will stand out nicely in your succulent garden. It does well in most types of soil, as long as the soil is well-draining, and it can be placed in areas with lots of sun since it is also drought-tolerant.
Lots of pollinating insects visit the Sedum cauticola during the late summer when it is in bloom. Its flowers are a lovely, eye-catching shade of reddish-pink.
6. Euphorbia Ascot Rainbow
Euphorbia Ascot Rainbow is a succulent that produces cream, green and lime-colored flowers at the end of winter and in early spring.
The warmer the weather becomes, the more its foliage changes to greenish-grey.
Inversely, the closer the weather gets to the colder seasons, the more pinkish or reddish the succulent will become.
This is a succulent that can grow and thrive in hardiness zone 6, and can also grow easily in hot, dry conditions.
Give this plant water only when the soil is dry, and place it in a part of the house or garden where it will get enough sunlight.
7. Opuntia humifusa
Opuntia humifusa is also called the low prickly pear, and is a clump-forming cactus that produces yellow flowers with red centers. The pads of this cactus are oval-shaped.
This plant is native to the eastern parts of the United States and is a staple in plenty of northern gardens, even in colder states such as Michigan and Illinois.
It is hardy and has no problem being placed in desert landscapes as well as in zone 6 gardens, so whether you want it for its beautiful blooms or its edible fruit and leaf pads, Opuntia humifusa is a great choice for you.
How should zone 6 succulents be cared for?
The specific care guidelines will depend on the type of succulent you are growing, although succulents are some of the simplest plants to grow.
Generally speaking, these succulents can grow and thrive even with little care and attention, and they will reward you with their beautiful aesthetic and flowers.
All of these succulents like the sun, so make sure you place them where they can get lots of bright sunlight for several hours a day.
Plant them in pots with drainage holes and never overwater them. Only give them water when their soil is dry to the touch.
An overwatered succulent can get root rot, which is a condition caused by constantly soggy soil. The plant’s roots will be unable to get access to oxygen, which the plant needs to survive. Eventually, the roots will drown and die.
The dead roots will then become susceptible to opportunistic pathogens, such as fungi and bacteria. These pathogens will cause the rot to spread even faster through the rest of the plant, and before you know it the entire plant will be affected and could die.
Always check that the pot’s drainage holes are sufficient because this is where any excess water will flow out.
When watering your succulents, make sure that you allow the soil to dry out first before watering it again.
If you have fast-growing succulents, do not be scared to prune them so that they do not take over your garden too quickly.
USDA hardiness zone 6 has a minimum average temperature, during the winter season, of -10 to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. There are several zone 6 regions whose temperatures can drop -5 degrees Fahrenheit, and this constitutes a large part of the United States.
There are many succulents that can adapt to zone 6 climates. Despite most being native to arid regions of the world, they can actually survive winter climates when they need to.
If you are living in a zone 6 area and you wish to start collecting and growing succulents, be sure only to plant succulents that can handle zone 6 climates so that they do not get stressed by the winter conditions.