Keith Collins is the LSU AgCenter county agent for Richland Parish. This news article originally appeared in The Richland Beacon News on Dec.23, 2010.
By this time of the year house plants should have been brought inside or most of them are otherwise dead but care should be taken during extreme cold temperatures
to ensure healthy, vibrant plants when in the house or transporting.
House plants are tropical in nature and do not shed their leaves and go dormant. Plants will begin to show cold damage when exposed to temperatures around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold injury generally appears as limp black leaves or a mottled, blotchy appearance. Although temperature is seldom a concern when plants are indoors, subtle differences in temperatures may occur during extreme cold especially around doors and windows where these microclimates
can exist and cause cold damage to your plants.
To avoid this, simply move indoor plants from these areas during extended cold periods and avoid these cold drafts that can impact your plants. Office buildings and homes sometimes have the temperature turned down on weekends or extended trips that may result in enough chilling to damage plants.
Transporting plants during extreme cold from a store or building to building even for a short distance can damage plants. Wrap plants thoroughly with newspaper or paper bags and place in the front of the car where the most heat will be. Transporting plants in the trunks of cars even when wrapped is generally too cold to protect plants. If transporting in SUV type vehicles, plants should be placed anywhere adequate heat can be provided.
Contact your local Extension office
at 318-728-3216 in Rayville, should you require assistance with any of your horticultural needs.