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Re: cold weather - plants outside?

  • Subject: Re: cold weather - plants outside?
  • From: Dan Levin <levin@pixar.com>
  • Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 10:01:57 -0500 (CDT)


I've done this same plant eviction maneuver with my mixed collection here in
the San Francisco bay area, enduring similar temperature ranges.  I've done it
three different times over the past 20 years and have experienced varying
success rates, depending upon variables both within and beyond my control.

Assuming your plants have been maintained in a warm/heated environment
with minimum night temps greater than 60 F or so, I offer the following advice:

1) Do NOT subject your Alocasia collection to chilling if at all possible.
While 2-3 weeks of the low 50's at night probably won't kill them, what's
likely is that most will go dormant and then you'll be looking at empty pots
and/or leafless, slowly decaying rhizomes over the next few months- perhaps
even longer.  I can't speak for other growers, but in my experience the
difference between "stagnation" and "degeneration" in Alocasia is too close
a margin and not worth risking if you have some other alternative. e.g.: How
about bringing all the plants indoors to your heated bathroom for 2-3 weeks?
Consider photographing the end result for a "Better Homes & Gardens" cover.

2)  Your Xanthosomas are likely to stagnate or go dormant but will resprout
much faster than their Alocasian brethren, once warmth & humidity return
(I'm assuming your 2 plants are post-seedling & have substantial rhizomes).
If there's no extra space left in your bath for these, then at least keep them
dry while camping out.

3)  I bet the Anthuriums will do fine outside, but also keep them on the drier
side during the course of events in order to discourage mold and/or fungal
escapades... many of those organisms love to philander in the moist mid-60's
(this may be true for humans too, but I'm not certain).

4) Lastly, if time allows you might consider drenching the banished with a
product called Pro-TeKt by Dyna-Gro a few days before eviction (I know,
I know... we're venturing back into the realm of Superthrive & other snake oils).
All I can say is: I've used it in the past.  It hasn't hurt, and it may actually bolster
those tiny vascular systems as advertised, hence minimizing environmental stress.
Hope this provides some insight.  I've still got my "elephant graveyard" of old plant
tags lying around to remind me of the ones that didn't survive my great botanical
equivalents of Outward Bound.

Best of luck with your greenhouse maintenance,

Lester Kallus wrote:

> It's already getting to be late in the growing season, but temperatures on
> Long Island are reminiscent of the ice age.  I expect to see glaciers
> developing at any time.
> Night time temperatures over the next 2 weeks will continue to be in the
> 50s.  Day time temperatures won't break 70 until more than a week from now.
> Can any of the following aroids tolerate being outside without degenerating
> - I'll even settle for stagnation.  I'm just trying to get my greenhouse
> emptied so that some work can be done on it.


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