Most areas of the country have been bitten by frost by early-mid November. Instead of scurrying out in the dark to protect your plants (even though you knew this day was coming), follow these simple guidelines to protect your tenders.
How to Protect Plants from Frost
- Succulent plants belong in containers so that you can remove them from the frost indoors or in a sheltered location outdoors.
- Water the soil! This feels counterintuitive, but wet protects roots and warms air near the soil. The exception here is succulent plants, which if left in the ground, should remain dry.
- Cover your plants with suitable material (bed sheets are fine in a pinch!). Stake the material to be sure it doesn’t touch the plant, especially if you’re using a plastic tarp. You can remove your cover in the morning, when the frost has lifted and temperatures have risen.
- If it’s an unseasonably cold period, or if you don’t expect the frost to be prolonged, cover your low plants with mulch or straw.
- Strategically place your holiday lights around your garden (though not the LEDs). Or, place an outdoor lamp (100 watts) in a small tree. It should produce enough warmth to protect your plants.
- Pick up an anti-transpirant spray at your local nursery and spray on the foliage of tender plants. It will seal in the moisture for up to three months.
- Place container plants close the house, if possible under a covered porch. Cluster them close together.
If your plants sustain damage, don’t panic. Your plants are tougher than you think. If you think your plant has been damaged, do not automatically prune the damaged leaves, or dig up the plant. Wait until the weather warms to see whether the plant has survived. Likely, it has. Once you see new growth, you may then prune the damaged parts of the plant. Only if no regrowth is noted, should you remove the dead plant and replace it.
Here is a short list of cold-hardy plants to suit various different needs and looks:
- Bartzella Peony
- Standing Ovation Bluestem
- Black Tower Elder
- Red Midget Mexican Hat
- Day Lilies
We hope these tips to protect plants from frost help you!