I get asked this question a lot, and honestly, I plant succulents all year round! But, remember that most of my growing has been indoors.
Now that I’m in Phoenix, the weather is pretty pleasant all year round, so it doesn’t make a huge difference.
The best answer to this is that you should probably wait until succulents are in their active growing season. But honestly, I plant succulents all year round!
Especially if you’re growing indoors, the temperatures are really mild so the succulents don’t really go into a true dormancy.
Now, indoor growing is different from outdoor growing. For example, when I was living in Utah, I couldn’t plant succulents in the middle of the winter outside because they would freeze.
Even if I was planting cold-hardy succulents, they still needed to be acclimated to the cold climate before they would do well. Plus, the ground was frozen, so that wouldn’t help either!
Here in Arizona, I could still plant succulents outdoors year-round, but I have to be really careful not to put them in areas that are going to get extremely hot.
Generally, I’ll need to put them in an area that gets shade most of the day, and definitely a place that gets shade in the afternoon. Once the succulents are rooted better, they’ll do fine in full sun, but they need that time to acclimate.
Here’s a great example of this is.
I planted some succulents for my sister-in-law in Southern California. We planted them in June, but they were going through a heat wave, so the succulents were outdoors in the ground, with temperatures close to 100°F (38°C).
The area we were planting them in was also in full sun, so these little 2″ (5 cm) succulents didn’t have time to acclimate to that hot temperature and the full sun. Most of them didn’t survive.
However, if you give succulents a nice, temperate climate without too many extremes, they can be planted year-round.
Some succulents grow more actively in the summer, and others are more active during the winter. Aeoniums, for example, grow more in the winter. They like those cooler temperatures.
Ideally, you would plant succulents when they’re in their active growing season. Because succulents aren’t growing as much in their dormancy period, if any roots are damaged during transplanting, your succulent won’t be as active to repair them.
Don’t let this worry you, though! They will still recover and grow just fine. It may just take a little bit longer for them to really root deeply, so you’ll have to give them a little more care and watch them closely in the meantime.
If you’re wondering about transplanting succulents you already own that are already in a pot, I would generally wait until spring or fall when the temperatures are more mild. But, if you’ve just purchased new succulents, I always recommend replanting them as soon as you can.
Generally, your succulents will do better when they’re taken out of the smaller pots they’re in, and their roots are broken up and have more space to grow. Just make sure that, wherever you plant them, it’s similar to the area where the succulents were growing when you bought them.
Most of them will likely have been in a greenhouse or indoors, so gradually acclimate them to wherever it is you will be growing them more permanently.
Another reason why you may want to replant your succulents is if they soil they are in isn’t ideal for succulents.
If you notice that you’re having problems with watering, and the soil is really compact (where it has a hard time absorbing water or draining), it’s probably time to replant your succulents.
They’ll be better off in new soil, even if it’s not their active growing season.
You also asked about propagation. This is best to do during your succulent’s active growing season, however… like I said before, I plant succulents all year round, but I also propagate succulents all year round.
You’ll notice though, if you’re propagating in their slower-growing months, you won’t see as much growth from your propagation. Keep that in mind, and just have a little bit more patience as you’re propagating.
Ultimately, the best time of year to replant your succulents is in the fall or spring, but as long as you’re careful and you’re paying attention to how much sunlight and heat your succulents are getting, they’ll be just fine being transplanted any time of the year.
If you’re just getting started with succulents, I wanted to let you know about my free course, Succulents for Beginners! It helps you get started with succulent growing, and is the perfect introduction to succulents!
I’ll walk you through what succulents you should buy, how to choose the right soil and pottery, and I also show you exactly how to water your succulents. It’s a great resource that you can reference over and over again. And, it’s free!
You’ll get a video and an eBook for each of the 3 sections of the course.