With the arrival of winter, some people resign themselves to a boring garden, devoid of interest until spring arrives with its warmer temperatures.


Thankfully, we don’t have to settle for ‘blah’ winter gardens if cold-hardy succulents have a spot to grow in the landscape, many of which can survive temps down to 0 and even -20 degrees F.


Yucca growing among boulders.

When the flowering plants are ‘sleeping’ through winter, succulents take center stage with their unique shapes and growing patterns.

Whale’s Tongue Agave (Agave ovatifolia)

While the cold temperatures may freeze back your favorite bougainvillea or lantana flowers, cold hardy succulents like these whale’s tongue agave steal the show with their beautifully shaped leaves.

Toothless Sotol (Dasylirion quadrangulatum)
During the warmer seasons, these succulents add texture and welcome structure to the garden, often serving as a backdrop to flowering shrubs and groundcovers.  But, when winter arrives, they get their turn to shine.

Want to learn more about cold hardy succulents, which will add beauty to your outdoor space, not just in winter, but year round?  I recently compiled a list of 10 cold hardy succulents, for Houzz.com that would be a welcome addition in most landscapes.


Hopefully, you’ll find some of your old favorites and maybe a few new ones.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

5 replies
  1. David Cristiani
    David Cristiani says:

    Agave ovatifolia – your source's 0F on this plant sounds right, with the caveats of other factors and proper plant culture.

    It's used at the ABQ botanic garden (cool end of USDA z 7, arid) – the valley location colder than much of the town on most any winter night, clay soils (not ideal). In the last 20 year uber-freeze (2/11), their low was something like -8F @ 85+ consecutive hours <32F. That species sustained serious damage but recovered. It's more common where I am, an entire zone warmer (z 8), and had no damage at 0 to +5F.

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