Foil On Plants: Should You Remove Foil From Houseplants

Potted Plant Wrapped With Foil
foil plant
(Image credit: brown54486)

It’s common practice for nurseries to put colorful foil around plants, especially around the holidays. Poinsettias and potted hydrangeas come to mind, but foil-wrapped plants often include miniature trees like lemon cypress or dwarf Alberta spruce as well as:

Should you remove foil on plants? Read on to find out.

Reasons for Foil on Plants

Nurseries wrap foil around plants because it makes them more attractive and festive, and it hides the inexpensive green, black, or brown plastic pot that most plants come in. Often, those foil-wrapped plants die in the first couple of weeks and the recipient of the gift plant is discouraged and wondering how they managed to kill that beautiful, healthy poinsettia or Christmas cactus.

The foil around plants is often to blame for the early demise of the plant. The problem is that water catches in the foil because it has nowhere to go. As a result, the bottom of the pot sits in the water and the plant soon rots because its roots are sopping wet and unable to breathe.

So, if you’re wondering if you should remove foil around plants, the answer is yes. The foil should be removed as soon as possible.

How To Keep Plants Wrapped in Foil Safely

If you want to leave that colorful foil in place a little longer, just poke several tiny holes in the bottom of the foil, then set the foil-wrapped plant on a tray or saucer to catch the drained water. This way you can enjoy the pretty wrapper, but the plant has drainage it needs in order to survive.

You can also lift the plant from the foil wrapper. Water the plant in the sink and let it drain thoroughly before replacing the foil.

Eventually, you’ll either discard the plant (many people toss out poinsettias after the holidays, so don’t feel bad) or in the case of Christmas cactus and lucky bamboo, move it to a more permanent container. Some plants, like mums, can even be planted outdoors, but check your USDA plant hardiness zone first.

Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.