Our shop is old and a little gappy around the windows and doors so although we do our best to keep it fairly warm, the temperatures are sometimes on the low side during the colder months. It can hover around 8-10°C when it’s really chilly so we make sure that during the winter we are only stocking plants that do well in these conditions. If you are going away during the winter and are goping to leave your heating just ticking over, or you have a cool room such as a conservatory where overnight temperatures drop relatively low, it might be an idea to consider the following plants that hold up well in lower temperatures;
Ferns, Aspidistras, Fatsias, Sansevierias, Orchids (the flowers last for weeks and weeks if you keep them cool), Chlorophytum comosum, Zamioculcas zamiifolia.
Most of what we grow as houseplants need artificial warmth and ideally 12°C is about as low as you should risk it. Many of the warmth lovers would prefer it to drop no lower than around 15°C. Plants that are particularly susceptible to suffering from cold damage are: Calatheas, Dracaenas, Ficus lyrata, Musa species, Dieffenbachias.Symptoms of cold damage are wilted leaves or leaves that turn a muddy brown colour, or in worse cases, black. The leaves will fall off or rot to a mush to start with, followed by the stems. If you catch the symptoms while they are still at the leaf stage, move the plant to a warmer location (but not very much warmer or the sharp temperature change will injure the plant even more). If its a much loved or expensive specimen and the stems have died back too you can tip the plant out of its pot and have a look at the roots. If they still appear firm and healthy, try cutting back the dead or dying stems to the base and leave the plant somewhere cool-ish until the spring, when it may decide to grow again. Don’t water it during this time. If it’s really a hopeless case, the compost bin is the only thing for it unfortunately. A final word of warning, cold sensitive plants can be damaged by even short periods of cold, so avoid draughts from open windows or doors during the winter. And don’t forget to ask your friendly plant shop to wrap your plant well for its journey home, or better still go shopping prepared with your own insulation in which to wrap your purchases, as even a short walk to your car can be enough to kill some of the more delicate specimens.