What are the Signs Plants are Too Cold?

The signs plants are too cold vary depending on the type of plant and the outside temperature. 

Some plants require cold conditions to flourish, while others can withstand lower temperatures. However, there comes a time when a plant becomes too chilly and begins to exhibit indications of suffering.

Some typical symptoms are stopping growing, becoming limp, or even dying. Protect your plants as soon as you see any of these indicators.  

Winter temperature

What Temperature is Too Cold for Plants?

When the temperatures outdoors begin to fall, we all consider how to protect our plants. But what temperature is too cold for plants? When assessing if the temperature is too chilly for your plants, there are a few factors to consider.

Some plants are colder than others. The second factor is the plant’s exposure time to chilly temperatures. A plant exposed to cold for a short time is less likely to be harmed.

If you are unsure if the temperature is too cold for your plants, err on the side of caution and bring them inside. Doing so will help ensure your plants stay healthy and happy all winter.

How Cold is Too Cold for Tropical Plants?

Most tropical plants, such as ferns, palms, spider plants, pothos, and philodendrons, enjoy cool nights between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit  (15 to 18 degrees Celsius). They cannot stand temperatures below 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius) on cold nights. 

Anything less leads to stunted growth and, eventually, death. It is thus essential to take preventative steps if you have large palm trees or hanging tropical plants outside before the temperature drastically drops.

What Temperature is Too Cold for Cacti & Succulents?

Is 40 degrees too cold for plants?  Mountains or deserts are the natural habitats of many cactus species. Some people are cold-hardy, while others cannot endure temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). 

For instance, the fishhook barrel cactus can endure temperatures as low as 5 F(-15 degrees Celsius). That cactus is tough, for sure! Cold-tolerant cacti live by releasing water at night, preventing their cellular membranes from freezing overnight.

Native to deserts and semi-deserts, succulent plants retain water in their leaves. Most succulent plants, especially those with delicate leaves like echeverias, cannot survive temperatures below 40 F (4 degrees Celsius).

How Cold is Too Cold for Blooming Plants?

Blooming plants, such as air plants, begonias, and peace lily plants, prefer warmer temps. So it stands to reason that they are not resistant to the cold. They, like tropical plants, must be taken indoors when the temperature drops below 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius).

What Temperature is Freezing for Plants – Frost Temperature for Plants

You may have observed little ice crystals on your plant’s leaves if you keep them on an open balcony or patio during frigid temps.

Frost is the little white crystals that grow on solid surfaces. They develop when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). This frost temperature may be quite destructive to plants.

Fragile plants such as tropical plants and succulents become weak when outdoor temperatures fall between 29 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 and 0 degrees Celsius). Temperatures range from 25 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 and -2 degrees Celsius), with a hard freeze occurring around 24 degrees Fahrenheit  (-4 degrees Celsius) or below. These temps severely harm most plants.

Signs Meaning Plants are Too Cold

There are a few indications that plants show when exposed to severe cold for extended periods. If you observe any of these symptoms, it is time to act.

If the weather remains below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) for more than 2 to 3 days, the plant may be subjected to too much cold, resulting in death. Whether the plant has spent a lengthy amount of time in an icy environment below 32 degrees (0 degrees Celsius), you can also detect if the temperature is too low. 

It might cause leaves to droop, bud thinning, and discoloration on the leaves, thus making it difficult for water and nutrients to travel around the plant properly.

Green Foliage With Yellowing Tips

Discoloring is typically the initial symptom of a cold plant injury. Bring the plant indoors when a leaf starts to turn yellow before dropping off, especially if it does not fall off right away. You have waited too long if you wait until the top of the leaf turns brownish-yellow.

Brown Buds 

Buds do not turn a crimson color. The buds at the base of the flower stalk may also appear dry and brittle. These indicators indicate that the marijuana plant’s blooming period has died.

Small Flowers

You should inspect your pot or tray regularly. Small blossoms might indicate that your plants are getting too much water. If they begin to swell, this shows that your plants want less water. Depending on how hot it is outside, you should only water them once or twice a week.

Thinning Buds

Some farmers are seeing diminishing buds. It occurs as a bud begins to wrap around its stem. To avoid this issue, you should prune the plant’s top section.

Roots Wilt

When roots lose moisture, they become brittle and feeble. If this persists, ensure your irrigation system is distributing water at the right pace. If it isn’t, be ready to correct the problem.

Drooping Leaves

Curled or drooping leaves This is the result of cell damage. The cells lose their stiffness as they are injured, causing the leaves to droop.

Frozen plants

How to Save a Frozen Plant

Your current focus will be on how to save a frozen plant. Checking the weather prediction should be done first. Is it feasible that the temperatures will continue to plummet at night for a few days, or was this cold snap just a one-night stand?

If it happens in one night, your recovery will be your top priority. However, if this cold weather is going to last, you’ll need to focus your efforts on averting more harm, such as

  • Water the plant –  First, water the cold plants. Your plant may recover with just an inch of water.
  • Don’t fertilize –  During this period, do not fertilize your cold plants. Fertilization can promote new growth, putting more strain on a plant attempting to recover. Furthermore, any weak new development will be highly vulnerable to cold harm.
  • Don’t prune –  Although temptation comes in, resist the urge to cut off the damaged portions. Till the weather warms up and the new buds appear to indicate where the dead tissue begins and stops, let your plant recuperate. When a plant stresses from the cold shock, heavy trimming can add to that stress and stimulate new growth when the plant should be putting all of its energy into recovering. A soft tissue plant with regions of black or mushy stems or leaves is an exception to this rule. This rot will spread to healthy sections if left on the plant.
  • Move pots inside – If your damaged plants are in pots, you may believe that moving them indoors is the greatest thing you can do for them. On the other hand, the sharp temperature difference from the frigid outdoors to the warm interior might stress your plants. First, place them in the unheated garage to keep them safe from further cold harm and give them time to adjust to warmer temperatures. Bring them into a hard place in your house after a few days.
  • Repot after trimming dead roots –  A loose root ball in its container might indicate significant damage. By taking it out of the pot and cutting off any evident dead roots, you can try to rescue the plant. After that, repot your plant in new potting soil and water it carefully. Your plant may live if enough of the root system remains intact.
  • Make use of the sun through a windowsill – Indoor plants can also suffer from cold shock. Your beautifully blooming amaryllis bulbs or houseplants might not get enough sunshine if you’ve put them on the windowsill to get the lightest possible because of the cold outdoors. Check the temperature by placing your hand on the window. If the leaves come into touch with the glass, it might be the source of the problem. Your plants may experience a draft if the window doesn’t seal correctly against the chilly air. Reposition the plants so they still receive sunshine but are not exposed to cold glass or currents.

What Happens to a Plant if the Temperature is Too Low?

Have you ever wondered what happens to a plant if the temperature is too low? Everything is affected by temperature. The temperature always has a role in everything, from the rate at which a bloom grows to how long it takes a plant to mature completely. Plants require oxygen and warmth to live.

Some flowers may not grow healthy if temperatures fall below these limits. When the temperature drops below, the plant goes into “cold shock,” which slows the rate of cellular division but allows the plant’s cells to continue dividing. 

After several weeks of exposure, some low-temperature damaging effects could become apparent. The plant may suffer significant harm if temperatures continue to fall.

Do Cold Temperatures Affect Weeds?

Does cold temperature affect weed? No, weeds are affected differently by cold temperatures than other types of plants. Weeds die off when exposed to freezing temperatures over lengthy periods, whereas other species thrive. The plants killed off by the cold begin to blossom and thrive anew when the temperature warms up.

What is the Best Temperature for Indoor Plants?

Temperature requirements for houseplants vary per species. However, a typical optimal temperature range for indoor houseplants is 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 26 degrees Celsius) during the day and 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 degrees Celsius) at night.

Warmer temperatures promote photosynthesis during the day. High daytime temperatures promote the growth of tropical houseplants such as philodendrons, palms, ferns, peace lily plants, and pothos.

The plant’s metabolism slows down at night. They preserve the food and water they have gathered during the day. 

Flowering plants, for example, thrive in higher daytime temperatures and cooler nighttime temperatures between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (12 and 15 degrees Celsius). This lower range aids the plant’s recovery from daytime water loss and boosts blossom life.

Reducing the Impact of Cold on Outdoor Foliage

You should not wait until the last minute to prepare for the chilly weather. Running around with a cover amid a cool night to protect your plants from frost damage is useless. You have time to bring your plants inside or cover them.

Here are some methods you may use to safeguard your plants through the severe winter:

Keep Your Planters Safe

It can be challenging to keep up with indoor plants’ shifting demands when the weather lowers. You may help them grow regardless of the outside weather by following the suggestions given above and keeping the optimum temperature with smart climate controls.

Make Use of Cold Frames.

They are wooden frameworks that protect your plants when you cannot relocate them. In addition to providing wind protection, cold frames also hold heat. They come with a transparent cover to allow sunlight in. During the day, you may also open the lid to allow air circulation. To safeguard your houseplants, you may buy one or make your cold frame.

Cover Your Plants

But please don’t wait till the last minute! Before the frigid weather arrives, you should have separate sheets available, washed, and dried. If you use plastic sheets, make sure to thoroughly clean and dry them.

A warm air pocket is created by covering your plants with a plastic sheet, soft cotton sheet, or blanket. Cutting the bottom off can protect smaller plants with paper bags or empty milk bottles. 

Ensure that the covering does not come into direct contact with the vegetation. To protect the surfaces from contacting the plans, use stakes. When temperatures rise the next day, remove the cover on the previous evening.

Avoid Using Window Sills

In the summer, window sills are ideal for growing plants because they receive enough light. However, placing them there in the winter is not a smart idea. Cold drafts from the windows might harm the plants. If there is nowhere else for the plants to go, you can move them back a few inches or add window insulation to seal the windows against drafts.

Bring the Plants Inside

Moving the plant inside is one of the most effective strategies to guard against winter damage to your plants. Don’t wait for it to become cold enough outside to bring your plants inside, though.

When the indoor and outside temperatures are pretty comparable, it is better to relocate a plant indoors. It is to prevent shock and to keep plants from becoming stressed. It also aids in their adaptation to new circumstances.

You would not want to bring them in this early, though, as this often occurs in late summer rather than the beginning of fall or winter in most regions.

So, how warm should you bring the plants inside? When the temperature outside falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius), most houseplants should be indoors. Tropical plants are susceptible, so get them inside when the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

Another method is to check the prediction for the first frost date and bring the plants in two or three weeks early.

Check for pests like mealybugs and spider mites before bringing in the houseplants. If you discover problems, spray the plant with an insecticidal soap and water solution. 

Examine the plant for any signs of damage, such as root rot, leaf discoloration, or a root-bound plant. Improper drainage causes root rot, so invest in a planter with plenty of drainage holes. Remove the plant from the previous pot, loosen the roots, and replant in a larger pot with fresh soil if it is root bound.

Place related species together to help houseplants acclimate indoors. If you have a rarely used south or west-facing location in your home, make use of it by relocating all of your plants there. As previously indicated, you may utilize a smart thermostat or AC controller to maintain your appropriate temperature.

Frozen strawberries


When the weather becomes bad, it’s critical to know how to conserve your favorite plants. It is one of the simplest methods to safeguard your plants. As winter comes, consider which plants require the greatest assistance.

Determine who you will miss the most. After that, determine which plants you might be able to salvage. 

Use as many strategies as possible to get your plants through. It is devastating for a gardener to lose a plant due to an unexpected night of cold. Hopefully, some of these solutions can help to avoid them.

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