A miss: Cold acclimated house plants can weather icy drafts

We wrote

Be careful with indoor plants in drafts or where doors are propped open to frigid air.

(Read about it in Cold kills holiday plants.)
A reader alerted us that we missed addressing the following situation, in which tropicals can become pretty tough when it comes to handling drafts:

We keep a whole collection of plants in the lobby of the building where we have our office. They're just five or six feet from where a door opens to frigid air and people come and go all day. Sometimes people prop that door open while they move things in and out.  - Eric Hofley, Publisher, Michigan Gardener magazine -

Below: Hofley's tough tropicals, just a floor mat away from anyone coming through the door from outside. (Photo ©2013 Eric Hofley)


Above: This photo records not only the plants' proximity to cold but a site characteristic that may be important, since duration of cold has a bearing on potential damage. We see that cold air may not linger here, in that the stairwell may act as a drain that pulls cold air away before it can pool.


Good point, Eric. We've revised that article to put the emphasis on guarding new plants from drafts, along with those recently moved -- such as a begonia bumped from its usual place during holiday decorating.

Your note here says the rest, best: A plant that's been near a door throughout the fall has been gradually acclimating to increasing cold. It may well shrug off what would kill another of its kind that had no time to harden off.