How to treat a plant that has been exposed to too much cold & wet

How to treat a plant that has been exposed to too much cold & wet

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Cold stress can be harder to identify than heat stress, but can still have a negative effect on your plant’s overall health, as it can lead to overwatering.

WHY CAN THIS CAUSE PROBLEMS?

Placing a plant so that it is exposed to a draft or a place where temperatures that are too low for it will make your plant need less water. Therefore, if you continue to keep it on the same watering schedule as normal, it can lead to overwatering, which in turn can cause many additional problems for your plant.

Some plants are more sensitive to cold than others, and each plant has a certain temperature range that it is able to withstand: you can check this by looking at your plant’s ‘Info’ tab under ‘Ideal temperature’. For the most part, houseplants are typically tropical, meaning that they are best-suited to warmer temperatures all year round - between 65 - 80 °F (18 - 24 °C). If a plant is kept in conditions that are much too cold, it may suffer so much stress/damage that it dies.

Other plants go into a state of dormancy during the winter, which is also an important factor when considering its water need, as it is greatly reduced when in a dormant state and so, again, if you continue to water as normal, you could end up overwatering your plant.

As well as keeping an eye out for potential signs of having received too much water, you should try and monitor your plant’s growth - if it’s kept in too cold an environment, growth will likely slow or may even stop entirely.

Overwatering

WHAT TO DO NOW

In order to try and help your plant recover, firstly you should try and remove it from the source of the cold stress - attempt to find a less drafty area and move it to a warmer location in your home.

If it is showing signs of having been overwatered, then firstly make sure that your plant isn’t sitting in water - this is never good for your plant! If you have it sitting on a dish, then be sure to empty out any water that has collected there. You can also try to ensure that your plant has sufficient drainage - check that there are holes in the bottom of the pot, and consider changing the potting material if it seems to be draining more slowly than normal.

Additionally, if the soil is especially wet, it may be a good idea to gently remove your plant from its pot and place it on a paper towel for a few hours to allow it to dry out (again, make sure that wherever you place the plant while it’s drying is draft-free and warm enough so as to avoid placing it under any more stress). It may be necessary to repot the plant entirely - remove any wet soil and allow the pot to dry before replacing the plant in the pot with new, dry soil.

If the plant is already showing signs of damage from overwatering, such as browning of the leaves or black parts, you may wish to remove these entirely, as they will never recover. If the damage isn’t too extensive, you can just carefully trim away the dead tissue from otherwise healthy parts of the plant.