Indoor plants: just a few discolorations
Many of us are accustomed, during the summer, to putting out the plants of the apartment: thanks to the “natural” rain and to the intense illumination, it pushes them to grow quickly, giving us great satisfactions. It may happen, however, that the cold, especially at night, arrives suddenly causing leaf burns and drying up. In these circumstances, a common mistake is to move the specimens abruptly in a very hot room: these drastic changes for them are only a further stress.
Instead, it is necessary to act gradually by putting them first in a room with a constant temperature of about 15 C° and, before further movements, wait for a minimum of recovery. It is important to water often, but slightly: the cold, especially if associated with the wind, causes dehydration. Let’s suspend the fertilization instead.
Indoor plants: extensive damage
More serious damage can be seen if the plant has been exposed to significantly lower temperatures than it can tolerate, perhaps for a long time. The compromise here also extends to stems or branches that will appear very soft or dry. Also in this case we suggest to act gradually: let’s take the specimens to a temperate room (just above their tolerance threshold), but very bright.
Let’s resist the temptation to cut: we could compromise the tissues as well as stimulate the vegetative recovery in advance. Let’s eliminate only the compromised leaves and any soft parts. Let’s wait at least a month and a half, water slightly and monitor any regrowth. If it should not be there try to cut until we see inside the green tissue or possibly up to the base, then wait at least another month.
Plants from abroad: light damage
As we have said, it can happen that the intense cold, especially if it is late, damages trees or bushes that are also considered completely rustic. In less serious cases, only leaves and apical portions of the branches are compromised: we absolutely avoid cutting early.
Most of the time the plant will recover autonomously: we will eliminate these damaged parts only when the vegetative recovery is well underway and, above all, when the temperatures (especially the minimum ones) will be widely and steadily above zero. Also in this case it is essential to irrigate with a certain frequency: the frost, and especially the cold wind, debilitate all the plants a lot because they cause strong dehydration.
In the spring (April) we give a balanced fertilizer (ideal a NPK 15-15-15) with a good supply of trace elements.
How to get a plant that has suffered the cold back on track: Outdoor plants: serious damage
It is not uncommon for very extensive death or damage to occur in particularly harsh winters. In some cases it is just a coup de grace for specimens that were already compromised. More and more often, however, they are not totally acclimatized plants, suitable for the temperate winters of recent years, but not for particularly harsh seasons, which periodically recur. Even if the plant is completely dry, we must not despair: most of the time only the aerial part has died.
We just have to wait patiently for late spring: in many cases there will be new jets from below. At that point we can intervene even drastically pruning: eliminate all the dry or shorten the branches until you highlight a green core. Of course, irrigation and, afterwards, good fertilisation are of great help.
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