Extreme cold snaps can wreak havoc on houseplants. If you’re a plant parent, you’ll want to keep your green friends happy and ensure they survive and thrive all winter long. Here’s what to know…
Extreme cold snaps can be harmful to houseplants, especially those that are not cold-hardy.
When the temperature drops below freezing, the water in the plant’s cells can freeze, causing the cells to rupture and die.
This can lead to wilting, leaf yellowing, and even death of the plant.
In addition to freezing, extreme cold can also cause damage to the plant’s roots.
When the soil freezes, it can expand and contract, causing damage to the delicate roots of the plant. This can lead to root rot and other issues.
Here are some tips for taking care of your houseplants during extreme cold temperatures.
Hydrate Your Plants Before the Cold Snap
Before the cold snap hits, give your plants a good drink of water. This will help hydrate them and make them more resilient during the extreme cold snap.
Hydrated plants are better equipped to handle stress and are less likely to suffer from damage caused by freezing temperatures.
And, you don’t want to be trying to rehydrate them during really cold temperatures.
Avoid Overwatering Your Plants
Don’t water your plants that much during the cold snap. Overwatering at this time can cause root rot, which is a death sentence for plants.
Instead, give them a moderate amount of water and let the soil dry out slightly between waterings.
You can use the finger-dip test to know whether you should water. For how to do this, see my article on caring for house plants during extreme heat.
Keep Your Plants Away from Drafts
To keep your plants as cozy as possible, move them away from windows and doors that let in drafts.
You want to keep them as cozy as possible.
You don’t want cold air blowing directly on them. By keeping them in a more protected area, you can help maintain a stable temperature and reduce the risk of damage.
Relocate Your Plants to a Warmer Room
If you can, relocate your plants to a room that’s warmer than the rest of the house. A sunny spot near a heating vent will do the trick.
A spot near a sunny window can also help keep them toasty. Just be sure to monitor the temperature to ensure it doesn’t get too hot.
Cover Your Plants to Insulate Them from Cold Air
To help insulate your plants from extreme cold air, cover them with blankets or towels at night. This can help trap in warmth and protect them from frost damage.
Bring Your Plants Inside if Temperature Drops below Freezing
If the temperature looks like dropping severely overnight, bring any potted plants you have on the patio inside.
They won’t survive outdoors in those frosty conditions, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Monitor Humidity Levels in Your Home
Keep an eye on the humidity levels in your home. Dry air can be tough on plants, so consider investing in a humidifier to keep the air moist.
Group Your Plants Together to Create a Warmer Microclimate
If you have a lot of plants, consider grouping them together. This can help create a microclimate that’s warmer than the surrounding air.
Just be sure not to overcrowd them, as this can lead to other issues.
Check Your Plants for Signs of Distress Regularly
Check your plants regularly for signs of distress. Drooping leaves or discoloured foliage could indicate that your plant isn’t handling the cold well.
If you notice any issues, take action immediately to prevent further damage.
Don’t Fertilize Your Plants During the Cold Snap
Don’t fertilize your plants during the cold snap. They’re already stressed enough, and too much fertiliser can hurt them.
Wait until they’ve had time to recover before resuming your normal fertilising routine.
mulch around the plant
Mulch is a good insulator. Adding a layer of mulch to the top of your plant’s soil will protect your plants during very cold weather.
It will help to protect your plants’ roots from the extreme temperature changes.
For indoor plants, decorative mulch includes bark, pebbles, recycled glass or coconut fibre (coir).
Ease Your Plants Back into Their Regular Routine After the Cold Snap
When the cold snap is over, ease your plants back into their regular routine. Don’t shock them by suddenly exposing them to a lot of light or water. Gradually increase their exposure to light and water over the course of a few days.
Be Patient and Give Your Plants Time to Recover
Finally, be patient! It can take a few weeks for your plants to bounce back after a cold snap. Give them the time and care they need to recover, and you’ll be rewarded with healthy, happy plants.