How to Deal With Fall Temperature Changes

Temperature is one of the basic aspects of growing conditions, so its influence on plant growth is undoubtedly huge. However, how does it work?

Throughout its life, a plant is undertaking two main processes—photosynthesis and respiration. Both of them have been proven to intensify when the temperature increases. Moreover, high temperatures are necessary for seeds to germinate. Nevertheless, these processes go out of balance if the temperature exceeds the plant’s highest limit. Overheating may be as harmful as overcooling—even for indoor plants that are usually tropical natives.

However, choosing the optimal temperature range may be tricky, as several factors can come into play here.

  • Sunlight. Tender plants withstand lower temperatures better and can even survive winter outside if they grow in well-lit places. Similarly, an indoor plant grown on the windowsill and a plant located far away from the light source would feel differently although they are placed in one room.
  • Watering. Sometimes you can balance out a temperature increase by giving your plant more moisture.
  • Thermal range. Regular drastic temperature changes in the daytime and at night may be much worse for your plant than just its exposure to slightly higher or lower temperatures.

Since it’s fall and many of us have already faced the first light frosts, it’s important to focus on the external signs of damage caused by low temperatures. Frosts cause the water in the plant tissues to crystallize, resulting in the following symptoms:

  • pale brown leaves;
  • leaf scorch;
  • black foliage.

So, if you’re a lucky plant lover who can move your indoor plants outside for spring and summer, don’t wait for these symptoms.

Is it high time to bring your plants back indoors? Yes, if the night temperature drops below 50°F (10°C). Most indoor plants grow in tropical forests in the wild and may die if the temperature reaches as low as 45°F (7°C).

Recently, Plantum botanists have received numerous requests describing problems many gardeners face when they bring indoor plants back inside, such as wilting and defoliation. Unfortunately, a sudden change in growing conditions may do more harm than good to your plant. Here’s how you can help your plant acclimate indoors successfully.

Gradual Acclimatization

Indoor growing conditions are much different from the ones your garden has to offer, so it isn’t surprising that an abrupt shift in the environment causes a lot of stress to plants. Bring the pots inside only at night firstly. Repeat this a few times and then gradually increase the time your plant spends indoors. The whole period of acclimatization tends to take around two weeks. Make sure to adjust the watering and misting schedules—outdoor plants require more moisture, and indoor ones may need extra spraying. We recommend that you also find a well-lit place to balance out a lack of lighting.

Repotting and Pruning

Repot pot-bound plants. Fall isn’t the best season for transplanting, so do it only if necessary. You can also prune plants but make sure to keep at least 2/3 of the entire plant. When pruning the vegetative part, remove an equal amount of the root system so that the plant doesn’t spend all its energy to maintain it.

Pest Control

Another crucial point is to examine your plant for pests. There are no natural predators indoors, so even a slight infestation that would go unnoticed in the garden may kill all the plants in the room. Moreover, it’s much easier for pests to spread indoors. To prevent this from happening, check all the plants you would like to move inside for insects and slugs. Treat the affected ones or wash them with a hose to knock pests off. Make sure to bring only healthy plants inside.

Follow these recommendations, and no seasonal temperature changes will harm your beloved plants!

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