Are you starting notice bits of frost on your flowers and foliage? While chilly nights are the norm in spring, you may have started gardening a bit too soon. If you don’t know how to properly tend to your garden and protect your plants from frost, this could pose a serious threat. A freeze occurs when temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Water inside the plant freezes and causes the cells to burst.
There is an array of vulnerable plants that will be vastly affected by a freeze. These include both house and tropical plants, spring-blooming shrubs, trees, tender bulbs, warm-season vegetables like tomato, corn and pepper, and warm-season annuals like impatiens, petunia and geranium.
Here are three ways to protect your garden from spring frost:
1. Bring them indoors
If your plants are in a container like Teleflora’s Orchid & Tropical Plants, simply bring them inside until the weather starts to warm up. If they’re bulbed plants like tulips, consider digging them up and storing them in a cool, dry place.
2. Hydrate before a frost
Check the weather daily, and be sure to thoroughly water your plants before the cold comes. You should be watering your soil about 6 inches deep. Damp soil traps more heat than dry soil, so hydrating your plants will add insulation and help prevent desiccation in your flowers.
3. Cover them up overnight
Before you turn in for the night, be sure to tuck your plants in – they’re your babies, too! Uncover all plants in the morning if the weather is above 40 degrees.
For your tender sprouts, place an upside down bucket or flower pot on top of them.
Shrubs and trees
For larger pants like your shrubs and trees, layer and cover them with bedding, burlap or frost cloths – steer clear of plastic. Completely drape the cover over the foliage, making sure it goes all the way to the ground.
Submerge stakes into the ground around your flowers to prop the bedsheets or lightweight blankets up. This will help prevent squishing your beautiful blooms.
Don’t make the mistake of leaving the covering over your plants for multiple days in a row – especially when the weather doesn’t call for more than one day of frost. Take the protection off as soon as those sunny rays are shining bright. The reason being is because plants cannot breathe under heavy containers or layers of fabric. The quick removal of any protective covering will eliminate the creation of another stress factor for your plants.