The Q&A Archives: When To Bring In Tropicals For The Winter

Question: When is the proper time to bring in my tropical plants (Shefflera, ferns, palms, etc.) before it gets too cool? I've heard conflicting answers including 45 degrees and 50 degrees.

Answer: Tropicals are not very fond of cold temperatures even if it is not cold enough to frost. They vary in their tolerance to cool weather, but as a general rule when nighttime temperatures drop to about 50 degrees they should come in. Some may do fine when exposed to 45 for a brief time, but some will not. Remember that the change in light from outdoors to indoors is a dramatic one and plants do better if you condition them by gradually bringing them in to the lower light environment.

You can accomplish this by moving them first to an intermediate light level for a couple of weeks and then indoors, or by bringing them in at night and then leaving them in for longer periods of the day over the course of a couple of weeks.

Good luck with your tropical plants!

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