In honour of the cold weather that has descended unwelcome upon the city, today we will discuss the effects on plants. Heating, low light, drafts, and dry air can and will all affect the plants around you. Here’s how we deal with these issues. Warning; a lot of it comes down to waiting it out.
Too Hot, Too Cold
Most of the plants that we keep indoors (pretty much all of them) originate in the tropics. They were never meant to see the snow and some of them want you to know that. Aglaonemas, for instance, get dark oil like blotches on their leaves when exposed to cold. Drafts will always be displeasing to plants, but some show it more subtly. If you notice a draft around a plant and you are able to move it we recommend you do. But please be sure to let your Hort. Tech. know where the new home is, they get confused easily ;).
Surprisingly heat is also a major problem for plants this time of year. Plants near a heat vent will likely dry out quickly, and we don’t just mean their soil. Many tropical plants desire humidity. While they basically never get that desire met in Edmonton, winter is by far the worst for them. This can lead to dry tips or yellowing and crispy leaves. As Feild Horticulturalists, our options are limited, but we may up the about of water we provide, or us a Cap Mat. This uses capillary action to give the plant a reserve of water to absorb from when they are ready. As the plant uses the water it also evaporates and offers the plant a little extra humidity.
It is true that the winter months mean shorter daylight hours. However, if you are a plant up in a tower, you may be experiencing an increase in your sunlight consumption. The angle of the sun to the towers can end up falling more directly on some plants. Unfortunately, this doesn’t allow them to increase their photosynthesis. Ultimately the plants will end up relying on the synthetic light around them, so just be mindful about leaving a light on!