House Plants/Frost bite

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Question
My corn plant was left outside an froze. All the leaves died but the plant itself, I think, is still alive. What should I do?

Answer
Hi Emily,

There are many different kinds of "freezing." There is 30 degree freezing and there is below 0 degrees freezing. There is exposure for a couple of hours and there is exposure for several days or more. The lower the temp and the more prolonged the exposure, the greater the damage will be.

Cold damage affects the foliage first and foremost because the leaves are exposed and unprotected. The roots are somewhat insulated by the pot and soil so roots suffer less damage. That is a good thing because a Corn Plant can suffer extensive foliage damage, but it will recover as long as the roots were not badly damaged by the cold. Only time will tell if the roots are still viable.

In the interim, there is not much you can do. Of course, keep it warm. Trim off all leaves that are completely or mostly damaged by the cold. They will never recover. If the stems coming out of the top of the cane are shriveled, then they are unlikely to recover. Provide lots of very bright, but mostly indirect sunlight, no more than 6 feet from the nearest window. Reduce the watering so that the top third of the soil dries out before you add any water. Do not fertilize, repot or do anything else to try to short-cut what will be a long, slow recovery.

Look for signs of healthy new growth in the next 4-6 weeks. If you see none by then, you can assume the roots have been severely damaged and the plant will not recover.

I have written detailed articles on cold damage and on Corn Plant care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com. I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

If this information has been helpful, please click the Rate Volunteer bar below and enter a rating and NOMINATION for me. I am a volunteer on this site so Ratings are the only compensation I receive for answering plant questions.

Need more information? Visit my website at: www.HorticulturalHelp.com

or email me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com or call me at 917-887-8601 (EST)

Regards,
Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

Visit my website at: A link to HorticulturalHelp.com  

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Will Creed

Expertise

I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.

Experience

I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

Education/Credentials
BA, Amherst College

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