What to do when your plant has been exposed to a draft

What to do when your plant has been exposed to a draft

Want to learn more about Diagnosis: Draft/cold air

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Why is this happening?

Most of our house plants come from tropical regions so being exposed to lower temperatures or drafts might lead to a number of different symptoms that can be confused with other issues.


  • The whole plant is drooping or wilting

  • The plant starts to droop immediately after being relocated

  • It takes an extended period for the soil to dry up between watering, and postponing the watering task is frequently necessary

  • In severe cases the leaves turn darker in color due to damaged tissue, and succulent leaves might get soft and mushy

Plant exposed to cold

What to do now

  • The first thing you need to do is to move your plant to a warmer and less drafty spot in order to prevent it from suffering any further stress

  • The sooner you move it, the better the chance that it will be restored to full health faster

  • You might also want to consider removing any brown or severely damaged leaves, as unfortunately, they will not recover

  • Most plants can recover if the exposure to cold wasn't too severe but you might need to snooze the next upcoming watering task if the soil hasn't dried enough

  • In severe cases of cold exposure, the leaf tissue can turn soft and darker in color. As long as the stem or the centre of the plant is still healthy and living, it can recover in sheltered conditions again

  • Very succulent leaves should be removed if they're too damaged, as they might cause rot to the main stem otherwise

Common questions

What places should I avoid?

Most houseplants should be kept away from drafty doors, windows or air conditioner vents. Hot, dry drafts can be just as damaging, so don't place your houseplants on top of a radiator, close to a fireplace, or next to an appliance.

Could something else be causing these symptoms?

Damage from cold drafts often mimics symptoms of overwatering. Depending on the severity, problems may include slow plant growth and consistently moist soil that doesn't dry quickly. You might find yourself needing to delay watering and fertilizing tasks frequently. Identifying the issue can be challenging, as some plants show immediate damage, while others may decline gradually over time.