Author Topic: Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?  (Read 3049 times)

BlueHouse

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Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?
« on: January 25, 2016, 08:08:48 AM »
I'm nowhere near as badass as those of you who keep their thermostats set to 60, but I do keep it at 62 at night and when I'm not home during the day.  Unfortunately, my plants don't seem to be able to stand the cold.  I don't have a green thumb, so I stick with pothos and chinese evergreen.  Any recommendations on keeping plants alive and healthy indoors when we're trying to be less dependent on artificial climate control?

big_owl

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Re: Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2016, 08:26:13 AM »
I'm nowhere near as badass as those of you who keep their thermostats set to 60, but I do keep it at 62 at night and when I'm not home during the day.  Unfortunately, my plants don't seem to be able to stand the cold.  I don't have a green thumb, so I stick with pothos and chinese evergreen.  Any recommendations on keeping plants alive and healthy indoors when we're trying to be less dependent on artificial climate control?

I can't speak for Chinese evergreen, but pothos should have no problems surviving those temps.  We have half a dozen in our house with similar temps and they flourish.  In our bedroom we have one and the night temp there is set to 55F and only 60F during the day.  They also get only ambient light as none are in direct view of windows. 

Are you sure you are not overwatering them?

lbmustache

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Re: Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2016, 12:33:57 PM »
60deg or so shouldn't kill plants... it might be a combination of light, water, and something else? Maybe the soil? I keep most of my pathos outside where it's like 55 during the night. They are still alive!

ooeei

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Re: Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2016, 01:00:27 PM »
We have a neighbor with a pot of pothos that has been outside since we moved in last February.  It's up against a southfacing wall, but it's survived through probably 40 degrees at times.

lizzzi

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Re: Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2016, 01:13:35 PM »
I continue to keep the house at 65 during the day, and 55 for 8 to 12 hours through the evening and night. My Christmas poinsettias continue to do fine. I have a couple bean plants sprouting in the window--one is growing in a toilet paper roll filled with soil--these were brought home by children following science lessons before Christmas--and they are doing fine in these temperatures. I only have one houseplant, which is a "Lucky Bean" or "castanospermum" which was given to me as a housewarming gift in Summer, 2013. It also seems to be unaffected by the cool temps. I have found that all these growing things seem to do better with plenty of light, and  that they need to be kept watered, but not drowned.

onlykelsey

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Re: Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2016, 01:23:47 PM »
Could you trap sun with something like this?  http://www.amazon.com/Ikea-Greenhouse-Indoor-outdoor-White/dp/B00J1QXXSA

letired

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Re: Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2016, 03:29:30 PM »
Ditto it's probably not the cold (unless the window it is by is exceptionally leaky, in which case you have a different problem). Check the light requirements, potting soil quality, and how moist they prefer the soil. When in doubt, wait to water until the surface of of the soil is entirely dry, and move the plants closer to the window.

Other things you can try:
- let the water sit out overnight to allow for chlorine evaporation before using it to water the plants
- if the potting soil is old/worn out, repot with fresh soil or try a weak fertilizer
- move the plants closer to the window, or to a more south-facing window if possible

BlueHouse

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Re: Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2016, 04:18:43 AM »
Great suggestions all. I will keep trying, and I am notorious for overwatering, but thought I was getting better about it.

Pepperomia plant goes in trash today, but I can still salvage most of the pothos. They seem to do better away from light, so it may also be that I let more direct light in in the winter.

FLBiker

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Re: Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2016, 05:05:24 AM »
It's definitely not the temp.  Here in Tampa, I keep both pothos and pepperomia outside, and we dip down into the thirties overnight.  I suspect a hard freeze would kill pothos (but maybe just to the ground).  My pepperomia has survived temps in the high 20s, though.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2016, 07:49:05 AM »
House is set at 48 F, but bumped to 50 when I'm home. Really cranked to 55 when I'm not feeling well...

Some days try and get the woodstove going but things have been hectic lately....maybe two days a week (and it only raises it to about 60 before I lose interest hauling wood in).

The lemon trees in the living room are in bloom. Have maybe 5 other misc houseplants....they're fine. But they're by a big window so they do get sunlight.

The Guru

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Re: Keep your thermostat low AND keep plants alive?
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2016, 11:04:33 AM »
I work as grower for a commercial greenhouse- have since I was 13yo- and agree that, even granting that most house plants are by nature tropical, cool temps by themselves aren't the problem. We routinely run our greenhouses in the 50s in the winter as a fuel- saving measure and most plants are just fine. In fact, when I do programs on the subject for a garden club I recommend keeping the plants as cool as the homeowner can stand. the reasons are twofold: first, cooler temps = higher relative humidity, which plants like; and second, because it slows down their growth rate. Indoor conditions in the winter suck- low light, low humidity, little air movement; any growth tends to be weak and spindly and probably will need to be pruned off in the spring.

I agree that your problem is probably water-related; however, IMO the oft-repeated mantra that overwatering kills more house plants than any other cause is bullshit. It implies that you as caretaker have nothing better to do than constantly pour water on your poor plants. In reality, excess soil water results from overpotting- using too big a pot- poor quality potting soil- a good soil mix will drain off whatever excess you put on- and/or lack of drainage in the container. If any of those conditions exist, I would nonetheless suggest waiting until spring to repot- after you see some sign of activity like new growth. BTW repotting may involve moving to a smaller pot if it seems way too big for the root ball. Until then err on the side of providing less rather than more water- even to the point of slight wilting.

Good luck!