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Transport Plants in Cold Weather

You've found the perfect plants for holiday decorating or gift giving. Getting them home safely in cold weather is an important consideration. Most plants are pretty resilient, but the shock of moving from a sheltered indoor environment to the chill of outdoors can be deadly. Don't let it happen to your prized plant purchases.

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Tips to Get Your Plants Home Safely

Exposure to temperatures from 45°F -50°F for as little as one hour is enough to kill many plants. Here are some quick, simple tips on transporting plants in cold weather. If these tips sound like overkill, consider them a small investment of your time in return for years of enjoyment of your new plants.

  • If possible, make the purchase of plants your last stop of the shopping trip.
  • Pick a day when the weather forecast is relatively mild.
  • Put them in a bag. Double-bag them if it's really cold or windy out. Paper is a better insulator than plastic, but plastic is better than nothing. If the trip home is long, open the bag slightly for ventilation.
  • Have your vehicle warmed up before you put the plants in.
  • Be sure to provide ventilation if using plastic of any kind as a covering for your plants.
  • Do not transport plants in the trunk.
  • Do not let foliage touch the windows of the vehicle. The cold will "burn" the leaves.
  • If you buy larger plants, don't let them stick out of the window.
  • Put a layer of newspaper or cardboard on the floor of your vehicle for added insulation.
  • Vans are preferable for transporting larger plants. If you must use a truck, lay the plants down and cover them to keep the wind and cold out.

The colder it gets, the more your plants are in danger. This is especially true when cold temperatures are combined with wind. Even a carefully bagged plant can be damaged during a short walk across a cold parking lot.