If you have accidentally left your Monstera somewhere cold, you may be worried; these plants come from rainforests and do not like being chilled. However, it may not be too late.
If your Monstera has been exposed to frost, the best thing to do is to trim off any damaged foliage and stems. This will encourage the plant to puts its focus on new growth. New growth won’t sprout from stems that have been damaged, so cut these back to undamaged greenery.
How Should I Tend To A Frozen Monstera?
If your Monstera has got frozen by mistake, the first thing that you should do is to bring it somewhere with no further risk of freezing. This may mean bringing it indoors or into a shed or greenhouse, depending on your climate and the current weather conditions.
This is the most important step because getting frozen multiple times could kill your Monstera. These plants do not cope well with cold.
However, once you have brought the plant in, there are other steps you need to take. Inspect the foliage and assess how bad the damage is. The worse it is, the longer it will take for the plant to recover. Both leaves and stems may have been damaged by frost, and will likely turn brown and limp.
You should identify all the damaged greenery, and then take some sharp, sterile shears and cut the damaged parts of the plant away. These parts will not recover, no matter what you do, so it’s important to remove them.
This will prevent the plant from sending more resources into them, and in turn, help it to focus those resources on building new, healthy leaves. This will take some time, but it will move faster if your plant is not sending energy and nutrients into the leaves that have been damaged.
You will also need to water the Monstera. Being frozen often draws water out of the plant, and it needs to be rehydrated to produce new growth. Do not flood the pot, but water it regularly to help it get over the stress of being frozen.
How Much Greenery Should I Remove From The Damaged Plant?
It’s challenging to know how much of the damaged greenery you should remove, but as a rule of thumb, aim for any parts that have turned brown or mushy. The discoloration and loss of rigidity indicate that the cells in those parts have been destroyed.
Removing them will give your plant the best chances of survival, especially if you take the stems back to their last healthy point. They can then start to re-grow from that point, whereas the damaged stems will not be able to produce new growth.
There is no exact answer for how much to take off, but remove anything that looks sick, and your plant will be more likely to recover. If the damage was severe, this might seem like a lot, but damaged cells will not repair or regrow, so you should remove them, even if this means cutting off a large part of the plant.
Make sure you are using sterile shears to do this, as this reduces the risk of introducing bacteria to the wounds you will be inflicting. Ideally, they should be sharp, making clean cuts that will heal quickly.
Should I Fertilize A Frozen Monstera?
Your first instinct might be to give your plant some food so that it can get to work rebuilding the tissues it has lost. However, this isn’t necessarily a good idea.
Your Monstera will need nutrients when it begins to regrow the foliage and stems, but often, it won’t do this straight away. Fertilizer prompts the plant to start producing new shoots, but you should allow it to recover for a few weeks first.
It’s also not a great idea to fertilize your Monstera during the winter, as the plant is often dormant or close to dormant at this time of year, and will therefore not be using the nutrients. This can cause them to build up in the soil, which might lead to root burn.
When your plant resumes its growth for the new season, however, you may want to start fertilizing it. This will give it the food necessary to begin replacing its lost leaves and stems.
Will My Monstera Recover If I Don’t Prune It?
You might be wondering if the damaged growth could just recover if you leave it intact and look after the plant, but it won’t. The plant will gradually cut off the nutrient supply to these parts and the leaves will shrivel up and drop off eventually.
Even if part of the leaf has been damaged, this will happen; it will not regain its glossy, green texture. You can cut off that part of a leaf, but you may find it is better to just remove the whole leaf. This will encourage your plant to grow new foliage.
Will My Frozen Monstera Survive?
If the damage is serious, you may be wondering if the Monstera is even likely to survive. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question; it depends on how bad the damage is, how healthy the plant was, and how quickly you intervened.
Monstera plants do not like being frozen. They come from tropical countries where freezing would be very unlikely, so they don’t have much resistance to frost. Damage to a leaf or two should not be an issue, but damage to the plant’s roots could be serious, and major leaf or stem damage is dangerous.
If you act promptly, your Monstera may survive, although there is no guarantee of this. A Monstera can grow back from just its rootstock if it is healthy enough and has enough energy stored in its roots, but it depends on the circumstances. You will need to treat your plant gently in the following months to help it recover.
Sometimes, a frozen plant is beyond saving. If your Monstera has lost all of its foliage and stems, or if its roots are badly damaged, you may find that it cannot be rescued. If this happens and there is still some healthy growth on the plant, you could try taking a cutting, although this will weaken the mother plant further.
The cutting might grow to replace the adult, but you’ll have to make a judgment based on how sick you think the plant is, how healthy the cutting is, and how much of a risk you want to take.
You won’t know for sure whether your Monstera is going to survive from the freeze until you see new growth. Root damage may not be obvious, but if the plant starts to put out new shoots and leaf buds, it will likely recover.
Should I Put My Monstera By A Radiator?
You might think that the solution to a frozen Monstera is to place it somewhere nice and warm so that it can recover, but you shouldn’t do this. Don’t put a frozen Monstera by a radiator, fire, or any other source of heat, especially after you have just brought it in from the cold.
These places are too hot for the plant at any time, and will quickly dry out its soil and foliage, damage the roots, and probably kill it.
Additionally, the sudden heat could shock your plant. Extreme temperature fluctuations are rare in the natural world, and most plants do not have much resilience to deal with them. If you swap your Monstera from a freezing environment to a very hot one, it is actually more likely to die.
Indeed, you may wish to stay at the low end of the Monstera’s temperature range (60 – 80 degrees F) so that it isn’t shocked by the change. Put your plant in a cool room, away from radiators and open fires, or other sources of heat. This transition will prevent further damage from occurring and will minimize shock to the plant.
How Soon Will My Plant Regrow Its Leaves?
The answer to this depends on how much damage was done and how healthy your plant was to start with. If the plant is large, healthy, and lost just a few leaves, it will likely start regrowing leaves within a few weeks, especially if the weather is warm and sunny, and it has plenty of light and food.
However, if your plant was already small or sickly, it could take quite some time for it to start putting out new growth, especially if it is in non-ideal conditions. Most plants grow more slowly in winter because the light is limited, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see new growth until spring has started.
Once the days get longer, you should hopefully start seeing growth appearing. Little green shoots coming from the undamaged stems are a sign that your plant is on the road to recovery and should be restored to its full glory soon.
Why Does The Cold Damage Plants?
Some plants can tolerate the cold well, but many will be damaged by frosts. The water inside the plant’s cells will expand, and this breaks the cell walls. The cells can no longer carry the sap which is needed to support the leaves, and so they die.
This is why the leaves turn brown and go limp once they have been frozen. The walls have collapsed, destroying the leaf’s structure and preventing it from getting the nutrients needed to produce chlorophyll, photosynthesize, and grow. Once damaged, these cells will not be replaced.
How Can I Reduce The Risk Of My Monstera Freezing?
Of course, prevention is better than cure in this sort of situation, so it’s best to keep your Monstera inside. If you put it outside for a while, make sure you monitor weather forecasts and nighttime temperatures regularly.
Remember that the air temperature can decrease dramatically overnight. Warmth in the daytime can translate to sudden drops after the sun sets, especially if the sky is clear. Always err on the side of caution and bring your plant indoors if you think it is going to get too cold for it.
If you cannot bring your plant indoors, read the next section for information on how to minimize frost damage to an outdoor Monstera.
What Should I Do If I Grow My Monstera Outside All Year Round?
In theory, you can grow a Monstera outside, although it is usually best to do so only if your local temperatures don’t drop low enough to freeze its roots. However, if this is an established setup and your plant is too big to be moved and frost damage is an issue, you should focus on protecting your plant from frost and minimizing the damage.
The most important thing to do is protect the roots. You can do this by applying a deep mulch to the plant’s soil, as this will trap heat in the ground. Layer additional cardboard, bubble wrap, or other insulating materials on top of the mulch.
For a large plant, you are unlikely to be able to protect the plant’s leaves, although putting up structures may help to reduce wind chill. Most people who grow Monsteras outside in these conditions accept that the plant will experience dieback each year because of the cold, and simply cut off the damaged parts.
This may mean cutting it back to the ground each year. If the plant is healthy, it will often grow back from its rootstock, although there is no guarantee that this will occur.
You should make sure your plant has a good amount of fertilizer at the start of the growing season to promote new growth and ensure that it has all the nutrients necessary to rebuild its stem and leaves.
Monsteras do not like being frozen, so you should try to protect your plant from cold damage at all times. If your plant does get frozen, bring it into a reasonably warm environment, remove damaged foliage and stems, and wait for the plant to recover.