By Tovah Martin
Quick! Some houseplants should be rushed indoors as soon as temperatures dip.
Okay, you can approach predictions about economic disasters and the end of the world with skepticism, but don’t ignore the meteorologists. When you see those temperatures dipping into the 40s overnight, you need to take action for the health and safety of your houseplants. Sure, some plants are okay with staying out until eleventh hour. Other plants need a cold weather curfew.
Cold Weather Alert
Granted, autumn days might be nice and balmy. But it’s the nighttime temperatures that can spell doom for certain houseplants. When they start to dip below 50° F. on a regular basis, you need to take action, because some tropical plants go into a snit. Although one chilly night won’t send them into a tailspin, but a series of evenings plummeting into the 40° range is not going to bode well for their future. The reverberations are usually not immediately apparent, but over the long run, damage might be done. Here’s a cheat sheet of “Some Like It Hot” plants:
Any orchid (with the exception of cymbidiums) is going to prefer warm temperatures, and they should be among the first to be shuffled indoors. Some orchids can be divas indoors. But you’ll be surprised how easy it is to host most of the orchids commonly found in grocery stores. An east or west-facing window will be fine, as long as they don’t get bright direct sunlight. Plus, a steamy bathroom is like spa treatment for an orchid.
Your begonia probably won’t stage a hissy fit immediately when exposed to a series of cold nights, but it will be happier in the long run if you bring it inside. For the most part, begonias prefer to be repotted in spring, so save graduations for warmer weather and longer nights. During the winter, your begonia will probably remain in a holding pattern as far as growth is concerned. Give it an east or west-facing window.
African Violets & Kin
Any member of the African violet family is going to prefer warmth rather than the cold shoulder. Whether you’re growing saintpaulias, sinningias, chiritas, primulinas, streptocarpus, columneas, or any member of the African violet clan—bring them all indoors and freshen them up with some Coast of Maine Bar Harbor Blend Potting Soil, and they will burst into an autumn and winter flower display that will warm your heart. An east or west-facing window is perfect.
Aglaonemas (alias Chinese Evergreens)
Although these foliage plants have a reputation for being bulletproof, they really don’t like a chill. Shuffle them indoors with the first contingent of incoming plants. Aglaonemas won’t thank you for bright light so make sure that their leaves are sheltered from sunbeams. Go ahead and refresh with Coast of Maine Bar Harbor Blend Potting Soil—their roots love being treated like royalty.
Alocasias (alias Elephant’s Ear Plants)
These swank foliage plants really turn up your interior décor a notch. With patterned leaves and strong architectural lines, they can redefine a room. So, you don’t want those leaves to look anything less than exquisite. Keep them prime and blemish-free by bringing them into the warm climate they demand. And while you’re relocating them, also graduate the vigorous root system into a larger container using Coast of Maine Bar Harbor Blend Potting Soil. An east or west window is perfect. Your fall is going to be so uplifting this year!
Written by award winning author, Tovah Martin. Photos also taken by Tovah Martin. Find her books and more information on her website: tovahmartin.com.