Snake Plant Frost Damage can be a real nuisance if not treated on time! Here’s how to keep it healthy even when it’s chilly outside!
If you’re living in a chilly area and wondering why your outdoor plants or that snake plant on your windowsill are suffering from frost damage, let’s break it down for you!
Got Holes in Your Snake Plant? We have the Solution!
Can a Snake Plant Survive Frost?
Snake plants are hardy but have their limits in cold weather. They do fine in temperatures down to 50F or 10C, but anything lower can be harmful. Especially in chilly climates or spots that receive cold drafts, it can damage the plant beyond repair.
Signs Of Snake Plant Frost Damage
1. Soft and Mushy Leaves
When you see those sturdy leaves turning soft and losing their firmness, it is an indicator of severe damage caused by frost.
This happens because the water stored inside the plant’s cells freezes, causing the cell walls to rupture. When the ice thaws, the cells are unable to retain their structure, leading to soft, mushy leaves.
2. Dark Burn Spots at the Edges
Cold stress often causes the leaves of the snake plant to turn dark brown or black, starting at the tips and edges. This discoloration occurs because the freezing temperatures burn the plant cells, cutting off their nutrient and water supply and leading to discoloration.
It’s like when your skin gets frostbite and turns black, indicating severe tissue damage.
3. Wilting or Drooping Foliage
The leaves may begin to wilt or droop due to the damage caused by the freezing temperatures to the plant’s internal structure. As the water in the plant cells freezes, they fail to maintain rigidity and support the weight of the leaves.
4. Leaf Collapse
In severe cases, frost damage can lead to complete collapse of the leaves, indicating extensive harm. This means that the cellular structure of the leaves has been damaged beyond repair, and the plant is unlikely to recover fully.
Factors That Lead To Frost Damage
1. Lesser Sunlight Exposure
In their tropical homes, snake plants bask in consistent, indirect sunlight, which keeps their internal processes, like photosynthesis, humming along nicely. This process also generates a bit of internal heat. But in colder climates, where sunlight isn’t as strong or frequent, their metabolism slows down. This means they can’t generate as much heat, making them more vulnerable to the cold.
2. Lack of Humidity in the Cold
Snake plants are pretty clever with their water storage tricks in their leaves, which is great in humid conditions. But, in cold and dry environments, the air sucks the moisture right out of the leaves, thus dehydrating them.
This dehydration makes the leaves brittle, kind of like how your skin might feel dry and cracked in winter.
3. Root Shock
Snake plants have roots that love warm and somewhat dry soil. But when the soil gets cold, the roots get a shock. They become less active and can even start to rot, especially if they’re sitting in wet soil. This weakened root system then struggles to support the plant’s needs for water and nutrients, leaving it less equipped to handle the cold.
4. Reduced Growth Hormone Production
Just as cold weather can make us feel less energetic, snake plants produce fewer growth hormones like auxins and cytokinins in cold conditions. These hormones are like the plant’s energy drinks, driving growth and cell division.
With lower levels in the cold, the plant’s growth and recovery slow down, leaving it more exposed to the harsh effects of cold weather for longer periods.
Snake Plant Frost Damage—What To Do?
If you can spot some visible signs of frost damage in your snake plant, here are some straightforward steps to help your green buddy recover:
- First thing first, move your plant to a warmer spot. It’s most probably sitting by a window or a vent that lets in cold air. Just shift it indoors to a cozy setting with a minimum of 60F or 15C temperature.
- Watering or fertilizing a plant post-frost damage is a big NO. It will stress out the already impaired plant roots
- If you see leaves that are clearly damaged (we’re talking brown, mushy, or just sad-looking), it’s time for a trim. Use clean scissors and cut off the damaged parts to help your plant focus on growing healthy leaves.
- Check the roots; if they look mushy or damaged, snip them out, too, and repot them in a fresh potting mix.
- Give it some light, but not too much. Bright, indirect sunlight is perfect. You don’t want to scorch it with direct rays, especially when it’s recovering. High-intensity grow lights will also do if you don’t want to risk forgetting the plant in the chilly air at night.
Recovery takes time. Don’t expect overnight miracles. Just keep an eye on it and adjust care as needed. Once your plant is back to its perky self, think about how to avoid frost in the future. Keep it away from drafty windows in winter, or consider using plant covers if it’s outside.
How to Avoid Snake Plant Frost Damage?
Why look for ways to recover a plant from frost damage when you can avoid it in the first place? Here’s how you can do that:
- If you’ve got your snake plants outdoors or on a chilly windowsill, bring them indoors before the first frost hits. This is the most straightforward way to avoid frost damage.
- Find a spot inside that’s away from cold drafts and windows. A cozy corner that gets some indirect sunlight would be ideal, that’s neither too hot nor too cold.
- In colder months, your snake plant won’t need as much water. Overwatering can lead to root rot, especially when the plant is already stressed from lower temperatures.
- If your place doesn’t get much natural light during the winter, a grow light can help give your snake plant the light it needs without the cold risk.
- Snake plants don’t like being too dry. If your indoor air gets dry in the winter, a small humidifier or a pebble tray, or even grouping a few plants together, can help.