Will Paddle Plants Survive the Winter?

When it comes to paddle plants, there is a lot of debate over whether or not they can survive the winter. Some people believe they need a warm, tropical environment to thrive, while others claim they can handle cold weather just fine. So, what’s thsoe truth?

Paddle plants will only survive if the temperature remains above 40°F (4.4℃). These succulents’ native habitat is warm and tropical—so they are not cold-hardy. Lower temperatures can cause severe damage, so protecting your plant in an area with colder winters is essential. 

Paddle plants are gorgeous succulents with their bold, red-tinged paddle-like leaves. However, as the plant hails from African climes—it does not easily take to extreme cold. In this article, we will explore whether paddle plants can survive the winter and provide tips on keeping them alive if you live in a colder climate.

Paddle Plants Cannot Survive Extremely Low Temps.

Paddle plants are native to tropical regions and thrive in warm, humid environments. When winter comes, and temperatures drop, paddle plants can experience stress. They may lose their leaves, or their leaves may turn brown or black.

These plants are well-adapted to hot, dry conditions and can tolerate long periods of drought. However, paddle plants are not frost-resistant and will not survive if the temperature drops below 40°F (4.44°C).

In most areas of the United States, paddle plants must be brought indoors or placed in a greenhouse during winter. If you live in a zone with icy winters, it’s best to take your paddle plants indoors or grow them as annuals.

However, if you live in a milder climate, there is a good chance that your paddle plants will make it through the winter unscathed. With a bit of care and attention, you can enjoy these beautiful plants all year round.

How Do I Know if My Paddle Plants Are Too Cold?

A few tell-tale signs will tell you if your plant is chilly, such as the following:

  • For one, the leaves will start to change color. This discoloration occurs because cold temperatures damage the cells in the leaves, and this damage manifests as color changes.
  • Another sign that your plant is cold is if the leaves start to droop or wilt. This reaction occurs because the plant loses water faster than it can absorb, so the leaves begin to wilt.
  • Finally, if your paddle plant looks dried up or desiccated, it is also a sign that it is too cold. When your plant’s roots freeze, they can no longer carry moisture to the leaves. 

So if you see any of these signs, it’s time to give your plant a little extra warmth!

Colder Temperatures Disrupt Plant Nutrient Intake

Did you know that colder temps can disrupt a plant’s nutrient intake? When temperatures drop below 40 degrees, plants can experience disruption. A plant’s growth is slowed or even halted due to the cold weather.

When this happens, it becomes more difficult for the plant to take in nutrients from the soil. As a result, the plant may become weakened and less resistant to disease.

So How Can You Help Your Plants During Colder Weather?

One way is to make sure they are getting enough water. Although it may seem counterintuitive, watering plants during a cold snap can help them stay warm by insulating their roots.

Additionally, it’s an excellent idea to mulch your plants to help protect them from the cold. By taking these simple steps, you can help your plants thrive even when the temperature takes a dip.

Risk of Cold Shock in Paddle Plants

A paddle plant risks cold shock when the water temperatures drop below 40°F (4.44°C). Cold shock can damage the plant’s leaves and roots, causing them to turn brown. In severe cases, cold shock can kill a paddle plant outright.

How Long Does It Take Plants To Recover From Cold Shock?

When plants experience cold temperatures, they can go into shock. This stress can damage the plant’s cell membranes, leading to dehydration and tissue death. The severity of the damage depends on how long you expose the plant to cold weather.

If the plant only experiences cold for a short period, it will likely recover quickly. However, if your paddle plant endures prolonged or severe cold, it may not recover.

In some cases, plants that have experienced cold shock may never regain their full vitality. If you think your plants have suffered cold temperatures, check on them regularly and take steps to protect them from further damage.

How Do You Treat a Paddle Plant With Cold Shock?

One of the most common problems that plants face in winter is cold shock, which occurs when they experience sudden, extreme temperature changes. If your plant is suffering from cold shock, you can do a few things to help it recover.

  • First, move it to a warmer location out of the drafts. 
  • It’s best to provide extra humidity by misting the leaves or setting the pot on a tray of pebbles and water. 
  • Also, avoid any fertilizer until the plant has recovered.

If you take these steps, your plant should be able to recover from cold shock. However, saving the plant may not be possible if the damage is severe. In this case, you can try taking cuttings and propagating them to rescue the plant.

Can You Save a Paddle Plant After It Freezes?

Many gardeners believe that once a plant freezes, it is doomed. However, this is only sometimes the case. While it is true that freezes can damage plants, sometimes it is possible to save them with a little effort.

  1. The first step is to assess the damage. The plant is likely beyond repair if the leaves are blackened or the stems are brittle. However, if the leaves wilt or the stems are soft, there may still be hope.
  2. The next essential step is gently removing any damaged tissue by surface sterilization. Once completed, the plant should be watered deeply and placed in a sunny location.
  3. You’ll also need to trim any damaged leaves or stems. Finally, be patient—it may take a few weeks for the plant to recover.

How Do Plants Cope With Low Temperatures?

When the temperature drops, plants must work extra hard to keep from freezing.

They do this in a few different ways:

  • First, they produce more carbohydrates, which help their cells to build overall immunity.
  • Many plants can tolerate low temperatures by forming a thick layer of wax on their leaves. This wax helps to insulate the plant from the cold and prevents moisture from escaping.
  • In addition, plants may also produce unique antifreeze proteins that help them to withstand frost damage. These proteins help to prevent ice crystals from forming within the cells, which can cause severe damage.
  • Finally, some plants will release water from their leaves, creating a barrier of ice around them that helps to protect against the cold.

With these adaptations, plants can survive even in icy environments.

How To Ensure Paddle Plants Survive in Winter

Paddle plants are technically tropical, which means they’re not hardy in our climate. However, there are some things you can do to help them survive the winter months.

Here are a few tips:

  • Bring them indoors: Unless you live in a mild climate, bringing your paddle plants indoors for the winter is best. The best spot is a sunny location near a window to ensure they get plenty of indirect sunlight each day.
  • Water them regularly: Paddle plants require regular watering— even in winter. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings, but don’t let it get too dry, or the plant will start to suffer.
  • Avoid overwatering: As the temperature drops, you’ll need to reduce the amount of water you give your plant. Over-watering can cause the roots to rot, so it’s essential to be careful.
  • Use warm water: The air temperature isn’t the only thing that gets cooler in winter. The soil temperature also drops, which can affect your plants’ health. One way to offset the effects of cold soil is to water your plants with warm water. This method will help to raise the soil temperature and encourage plant growth. Additionally, warm water is less likely to shock delicate roots and leaves. 
  • Fertilize them monthly: Like during the growing season, paddle plants must be fertilized monthly during winter. Use a balanced fertilizer (one high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) and apply it according to package directions. Just be sure not to over-fertilize, as this can damage the plant.
  • Protect them from frost: If you live in an area with a chance of frost, it’s vital to protect your paddle plants from cold weather. You can cover them with a sheet or blanket if there’s a forecast for frost or move them into an unheated garage or shed overnight.

If you are interested in learning more about your paddle plant’s longevity, check out my article: How Long Do Paddle Plants Typically Live?


Paddle plants are tropical plants that aren’t genetically able to withstand frigid winters—but with a little TLC, they can survive just fine until spring rolls around again! These simple tips can help your paddle plants make it through the coldest months without problems.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of TheGrowingLeaf.com, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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