What Happens To A Plant If The Temperature Is Too Low?

If you are a fan of gardening, you might have wondered what happens to a plant if the temperature is too low. Weather plays a vital role in determining the growth of crops as it supports the plant’s respiration and photosynthesis.

Unexpected drops in environmental temperature can cause the trees to die or wilt. Let’s dive into the impact of low temperatures on crops and how to keep them from weather shock!

What Happens To A Plant If The Temperature Is Too Low?

Typical Effects of Cold Weather on Plants

Cold conditions are not entirely bad for all crops. Some grow out of season, and some do not experience enough chill time. That said, they still deliver sweet fruits. Cold weather shock is the culprit of most plant damage.

What Happens To A Plant If The Temperature Is Too Low?

Thus, what you need is a comprehensive awareness of the impacts of low temperatures on your crops. So what temp is too cold for plants? It depends on the types of trees. For some, 10-15 degrees is too low, while some are 1-5 degrees.

There are 2 kinds of damage that your plants can deal with when the temperature drops.

A tree can stand freezing injuries or frost. These injuries can happen when an air mass below 0-degree temperature comes and replaces the warm air of an area.

This phenomenon can cause the plant temperature to fall low, leading to ice crystals inside the crop cells.

The second kind is wind chill. You might wonder, “Does wind chill effect plants?” The answer is yes. Subtropical and tropical plants are likely to suffer cold weather shocks.

The crops dealing with chilling injuries turn reddish or purple. This type of injury is detectable and leads to the delay of blooming and hinders plant growth.

We’ll find out how temperature effects your plants:

Popular Symptoms of Plants Shocked With Cold Weather

So, what happens to plants in the winter? Well, you can notice the symptoms of cold weather damage like a breeze.

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Thus, if you want to rest assured you take in all crops timely or whether your garden fell prey to the low temperature, you need to know common symptoms.

Superficial Effects

Most plants and flowers respond similarly to low heat. Firstly, when the environmental temperature starts to plummet, the crops slow down their growth and flowering.

So what temperature is freezing for plants? Well, when it is below 32 degrees F, the vapors will condense and start to freeze. Then, the chilly wind hits the leaves and makes the water inside them freeze.

If your crops are exposed to cold weather, notice the following effects:

Leave discoloration

The first symptom you can observe is leaf discoloration. You can see red, white, or yellow marks near their veins. These marks signify dead cells caused by the frost. In fact, not every cell is injured by the frost.

What Happens To A Plant If The Temperature Is Too Low?

So, you can see some specific parts damaged by the frost while other leaves are fine. The ones with injured cells might die and fall.

Leaf drop

The drooping signifies the cell injuries in the leaves. When there is frost on the leaves, they lose the rigidity, leading to the drop of leaves.

Internal Impacts

Besides superficial damage to the crops, the low heat damages the crop internally. Some effects are as follows:


Cold weather can freeze the crop externally, comprising the soil around it. This effect causes desiccation since the frost can interfere with the water supply of the plants.

Plant Cell Damage

As the temperature falls sharply, the plant cell water freezes, leading the plant to damage on the inside. This condition can cause the plants to die or wilt after the weather warms up again.

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The impact of frost is worse in young crops since they do not have enough strength and a robust structure to deal with cell tissue expansion.

Enzyme activity drop

Cold weather can lower the activity of enzymes in crops, leading to a disruption in the consumption of nutrients. In conventional conditions, your plants can secrete enzymes to break the critical nutrients they gain from the soil.

What Happens To A Plant If The Temperature Is Too Low?

The lack of nutrient intake can hinder plant growth, and the crops can wilt.

Cellular membrane fluidity changes

Cellular membranes are essential to plant structure. They take responsibility for guaranteeing that the cells can adapt to the small changes in the environment.

They are incremental in the growth of the plant. That said, cold temperatures alter cellular membrane fluidity, damaging the water flow inside the cells.

What to Do If a Plant Is Frost Damaged?

In case your crops suffer cold weather, you should not give up first as the plants themselves can deal with this issue in some aspects. What do plants do in the winter?

The leaves and branches can appear damaged, yet they can recover when the weather warms up. Thus, a tree damaged by frost needs spring and summer to thrive.

Below is what you need to do when your plants are damaged:


You want to remember not to prune plants after low-temperature injuries. The foliage can look bad, yet it will protect the plant’s healthy parts from other cold damage. When the heat is higher, assess the injuries by slightly scraping the bark.

The cold wind injured wood will be brown or black under the bark. Please wait until your plants start to sprout new growth.

What Happens To A Plant If The Temperature Is Too Low?

Some crops damaged by the frost can wilt. Then you can cut off the dead parts to thwart any bacterial issues and decay. Nevertheless, as the branches have dead leaves, it doesn’t mean they are dead.

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Another vital thing is to check the surrounding soil for any dehydration signs. The soil often dries out due to the frost.

In that case, don’t forget to water your plants to defrost them and offer your crops the necessary moisture. In short, they need water to revive.

Ideal Temperature for your Grow Room

We suggest the best temperature to grow the room ranges from 70 to 75 degrees F. Don’t leave the grow room too cold.

When the sunlight is on during the day, and there are no over 3-5 degrees cooler at night time with the humidity level of 45 – 55 percent.

In this condition, your crops are likely to convert the light source into their food for growth.

The plants also put on their leaves and branches as well as expand their roots. If the light is too high or too low, the growth of plants will stop, and you can lose your plants forever.

Final Thoughts

So you have known what happens to a plant if the heat is too low. In a nutshell, whether you need several trees to deck out some spaces or add some plants to a garden, you should remember each plant can deal with a particular heat point.

The key to proper plant care is to get the ideal temperature to grow (not too low or too high). Various researchers claim that growing plants around you can support your respiration and improve your emotion, enhancing your spirit.

So irrespective of the weather, you should find some plants to grow during your life.

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Jill Sandy

I am a sustainable focus gardener. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself.

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