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I know that bringing plants from +20°C to -10°C can cause a lot of stress, because they need time to adjust to cold temperatures.

Does it work the other way around too? In other words, is it ok to bring indoors (+20°C) a plant that was kept outside (-10°C) the whole winter?

Some background: Most of my plants can handle temperatures between 0°C and -10°C, but this winter is unusually cold, and this week temperatures might drop down to -20°C. I'm afraid that some plants won't be able to handle it, but I'm also afraid to bring them indoors where it's 30°C warmer, because such an abrupt change in temperatures might harm them. Is it safe to bring them inside? If I do so, should I keep them indoors until spring or can I bring them outside again once it gets a bit warmer?

The plants grow in containers on my balcony, if that's important.

Update: I decided to leave the plants outside in order to not stress them and all my plants froze and died. I think keeping them indoors at least during the nights would have been a better option.

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Bringing the plants inside will likely wake them up, they will start growing and any attempt to put them back out will be detrimental.

If you have snow, the better idea would be to cover them deeply in snow to keep the temperature low enough to avoid wetness problems and keep the plants in a constant temperature state. Consider putting a box around the plant and fill the box with dry snow. If no snow, look for dry leaves. Insulation; not to keep the warm in, but keep the cold in.

If this solution makes no sense for your situation, please take it as a hint that we need more information about what plants, how many, area, location and so on.

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  • Good point, I added this information to the post. The plants (different kinds, like rosemary, thyme, some dwarf fruit trees etc) are growing in containers on my balcony, so collecting snow or leaves might be difficult. – lawful_neutral Feb 10 at 14:02
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    Do you have an outdoor (unheated) storage unit? Access to an unheated garage? If you do, then putting the plants there for a couple of nights would be fine - they'll be about 5-8C warmer than the outdoors, which should keep them both alive and dormant. – Jurp Feb 10 at 14:17
  • @Jurp no, sadly I don't, so I have only 2 options: keep them outside or bring them indoors. I decided to move them close to the house wall and pray. – lawful_neutral Feb 10 at 21:28
  • Can you lay the tall stuff down and cover with something? – Colin Beckingham Feb 10 at 22:23
  • I agree with Colin - if you can cover them with a quilt or something like that overnight - or even during a non-sunny day - then you may be okay. Maybe use empty pots (upsidedown) as a means to keep the heavy fabric from crushing the plants? – Jurp Feb 10 at 23:53

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