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

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

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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 signs of damage from cold draft are usually similar to overwatering. Depending on the severity of it, issues can range from the plant growing a lot slower and the soil staying rather moist without drying fast enough. You might find that you have to snooze the watering and fertilizing tasks a lot, and consistently. It can be difficult to spot because some plants will show damage immediately while others may decline slowly over time.

The cooler air coming from the window cools the pot and soil, and slows down the processes of the roots. Because of this, water in the soil won't evaporate as fast as usual, and can cause overwatering even if you keep the same watering schedule. This is why it's so important to check the soil moisture before watering your plant. Sensitive plants might also get damaged root tips if they get too cold which makes them even more vulnerable to overwatering.


  • The whole plant is drooping or wilting

  • The plant begins to droop directly after moving it

  • It takes a long time for the soil to dry up in between watering, and snoozing the watering task is needed a lot

  • 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


  • 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 do this, the better the chance that it will be restored to full health faster

  • You might also wish to remove any brown or severely damaged leaves - as they will unfortunately not recover

Luckily, most plants can recover if the exposure to cold wasn't too severe. You might need to snooze the next upcoming watering task if the soil hasn't dried enough. This can happen until the roots and plant have started to grow and transpire as usual again.

In severe cases of cold exposure, the leaf tissue can turn soft and darker in color. You might see this if you carried a plant from the shop to your car in cold winter weather or if your plant was in the mail without insulation. As long as the stem or the centre of the plant is still healthy and living, it can recover in sheltered conditions again. The leaf may die back but the plant will live on. Very succulent leaves should be removed if they're too damaged, as they might cause rot to the main stem otherwise.


Most houseplants should be kept away from drafty doors and windows. If you live in an area with cold winters, keep in mind any plants that you keep in entry ways or near patio doors. Indoor plants can be especially sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.

Common cold, drafty areas are close to doors and windows or under 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.

It can be easy to forget that warm breezes also can be harmful to your plants, not just cold drafts. Try to keep your plant’s living conditions as stable and constant as possible to avoid stressing on your plants.