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Help! How do you revive plants from a cold shock?

Posted by rookgirl MA (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 2, 07 at 11:38

We just moved into a house and transported our gorgeous houseplants (some 10' high) in the back of an enclosed rental truck (there was no room elsewhere with our fish and pets in the cab). The drive was an hour long in the freezing cold. I quickly brought them in; but now they are very unhappy! Their leaves are clinging tight around them. I don't know what to do. I gave them a little warm water to warm up their roots but I'm taking blind measures here. Does anyone have any experience reviving plants who have been through a traumatic experience like this? I can't find any steps on how to solve this problem online.

Thanks for any help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help! How do you revive plants from a cold shock?

Be patient. All you can do at this point is to observe them for permanent damage (if any) and be ready with your pruners if they begin to lose stems or branches. Do not fertilize or over water...there's really nothing you can do at this point but respond to what the plant is telling you. It might be too early for that, yet.


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RE: Help! How do you revive plants from a cold shock?

I agree--I'd prune back anything damaged and wait to see what happens in spring. One sign I've found pretty reliable is that if the whole plant goes see-through/mushy it is a goner. If not, there is hope. Good luck!!


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RE: Help! How do you revive plants from a cold shock?

There is nothing you can do at this point but wait and remove permanently damaged portions as already advised.

If you ever have to do this in Winter again, WRAP them with sheets of newspaper taped together (several layers) or towells and blankets. Smashing a few leaves in the wrapping is much better than freezing the plants.....


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RE: Help! How do you revive plants from a cold shock?

I am constantly amazed at how dead a plant can look from cold damage and still come back, often better than before. I have limited space for winter storage and leave many plants outside, sometimes with covering but sometimes in a place I thought mistakenly was protected. Our winter temperatures are seldom much below freezing, but that's enough to give them considerable damage sometimes. They often freeze all the way back to the soil level, but come back very well (I hope that holds this year!) The advise to refrain from over-watering is important too, but patience is most important.


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RE: Help! How do you revive plants from a cold shock?

I had the same type of problem
Went away on vacation for a week and came back to a freezing cold house. The thermostat broke sometime while I was gone and the house was at 36 degrees, not sure for how long. My Draceana Marginata and Sanseveria escaped the cold unscathed and show no signs of distress. My ZZ's show some sign of wilting which once temperatures came back to normal in the house they sprang back but there is noticable "synging" along the leaf outlines. Of course the one plant I'm obsessed with (ficus lyrata) is now showing the most damage. When I first got home it was the first plant I checked, leaves were still green and healthy and the only sign of shock was the new leave buds had shriveled. It was almost bone dry so the next day I watered it when the house was back to 68degrees. Then, the day after that I noticed black spots randomly on some leaves anywhere from the top all the way to the bottom. Not sure what's going to happen to this guy but I guess time will tell. A little nervous to start pruning him already when he's probably on low energy reserves.


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