Hartford, Connecticut falls within USDA Hardiness Zone 6a.
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 13 zones based on each region’s average minimum winter temperature.
Zone 6a has average annual minimum temperatures between -10°F and -5°F (-23°C to -21°C).
This means that Hartford generally experiences cold winters with the possibility of severe winter weather.
When selecting plants, it’s important to consider a plant’s hardiness range to ensure it can withstand Hartford’s winter conditions.
While Hartford winters are cold, its summers are hot and humid.
The average summer highs range from the mid-80s F to low 90s F (29-32°C), with moderately high humidity.
This hot and humid summer weather is ideal for growing heat-loving succulents.
With proper overwintering care, many succulents that thrive in arid, sunny conditions can grow well in Hartford’s summers.
Best Succulents for Hartford
Here are some of the best succulent varieties that can be successfully grown outdoors in Hartford during the summer:
Sedums are cold hardy succulents that can often withstand freezing winter temperatures with proper care. Some recommended varieties include:
- Sedum spurium – Has round, colorful leaves that range from bronze to reddish-purple. Height ranges from 2-4 inches.
- Sedum album – Has thick, pointed gray-green leaves. Height ranges from 2-4 inches.
- Sedum reflexum – Has blue-green leaves and yellow, star-shaped flowers in summer. Height ranges from 5-10 inches.
Commonly known as hen and chicks, most sempervivum varieties can withstand freezing temperatures down to -20°F (-29°C). Some recommended varieties include:
- Sempervivum arachnoideum – Has compact rosettes of cobwebbed leaves. Height is around 2-4 inches.
- Sempervivum calcareum – Has emerald green leaves with vibrant red tips when exposed to full sun. Height ranges from 2-4 inches.
- Sempervivum tectorum – Has green, red-tipped leaves. Often used as roof covering on traditional cottages, hence the name “house leek.”
Not quite as cold hardy as sedum and sempervivum, but some echeveria varieties can handle brief frosts and freezes with protection. Some recommended varieties include:
- Echeveria agavoides – Has ruffled, pale green leaves. Height ranges from 6-12 inches.
- Echeveria runyonii – Has blue-gray, ruffled leaves. Height ranges from 6-12 inches.
- Echeveria pulidonis – Has powdery blue leaves. Height ranges from 4-6 inches.
Yuccas are resilient, drought-tolerant succulents. They can survive winter temperatures as low as 0°F (-18°C). Some recommended varieties include:
- Yucca filamentosa – Has sword-like, green leaves with curly white threads along the edges. Height ranges from 2-3 feet.
- Yucca glauca – Has sharp, blue-green leaves. Height ranges from 2-3 feet.
- Yucca flaccida – Has flexible, blue-green leaves. Height ranges from 2-3 feet.
Caring for Succulents Over Winter in Hartford
Succulents that don’t tolerate frosts and freezing temperatures will need to be overwintered indoors in Hartford. Here are some tips for overwintering succulents:
- Bring pots indoors before the first frost, usually around late September or October in Hartford.
- Place in a sunny south or west facing window. Supplement natural sunlight with a grow light if needed.
- Reduce watering significantly, only watering every 2-3 weeks. The cooler indoor temperatures and lack of sunlight reduce the plant’s need for water.
- Stop fertilizing until spring.
- Monitor for pests like aphids, mealybugs and fungus gnats. Treat promptly if detected.
- In spring after the last frost, usually early May in Hartford, succulents can be moved back outdoors.
- Gradually re-introduce to sunlight and restart regular watering schedule to avoid sun or water shock.
With the right varieties and proper care, Hartford’s climate is amenable to growing beautiful succulents. Just be sure to select cold-hardy varieties or properly overwinter tender varieties.