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How To Protect Plants And Flowers From Frost

Updated on March 2, 2012

Okay, so those little plants and flowers that you planted in the spring have evolved into the most beautiful and eye- catching floral display in the neighborhood. And just as you finally begin to enjoy the full beauty you have created, you hear that ill-fated weather report. That dreaded first frost is on it's way!

Now your worried that this evil frost is going to swoop in like the grim reaper while you're sleeping and destroy the fruits of your hard work. You're wondering how to protect your babies from such immediate danger. Well the most important thing you can do is not panic. It is possible for plants and flowers to survive a frost, and here is how you can protect them:

Protecting Plants and Flowers From Frost: Step 1

Discontinue fertilization. Older leaves are much tougher than new foliage and are more likely to withstand a frost. Stop fertilizing your plants and flowers in early to mid September. This will limit the amount of new foliage before the cold weather arrives.


Protecting Plants and Flowers From Frost: Step 2

Water Your Plants And Flowers. Watering your plants and flowers in the late afternoon will help the soil release moisture into the air around them during the night. As a result, the temperature of the air surrounding your flowers will be a bit warmer. 

Protecting Plants and Flowers From Frost: Step 3

Use a fan. A nice breeze can keep cold air from settling near the ground during the night. If it's a breezy night, you're okay, but if not, you will want to create a breeze artificially. This will reduce the frost's ability to form on your plants and flowers.

Protecting Plants and Flowers From Frost: Step 4

Cover your plants and flowers. Cover them before dark! After dusk, you may have already lost much of the stored heat in your garden. Use the tips below to properly cover and protect your plants and flowers from frost.

  • For large plants and flowers: You may want to build a frame around your plants and flowers (a simple frame can be made with a few garden stakes). Next, drape some sort of cover (plastic tarp, newspaper, sheet, table cover, cardboard, etc.) over your frame. If you don't have the time and/or materials to build a frame, you could just drape a lightweight cover directly over your plants and flowers.
  • For small or individual plants and flowers: You may cover small plants and flowers with glass jars, paper cups, milk jugs with the bottoms removed, upside down flower pots, etc. 

Protecting Plants and Flowers From Frost Step 5

Important! Remember to remove all covers in the morning to allow your flowers to receive sunlight.

Protecting Plants and Flowers From Frost: Step 6

Bring potted plants and flowers inside. Potted plants and flowers are more susceptible to frost, because the roots are unprotected. If you can't bring your potted plants inside, be sure to cover them as well. It will also be helpful if you are able to bury the pot in soil to help protect the roots from frost.

Protecting Plants and Flowers From Frost: Step 7

Don't prune your plants and flowers. If after all of your effort, the frost still managed to cause some damage, don't cut off the damaged parts. These dead leaves and stems will provide a little insulation, helping protect your plants and flowers from further frost damage.

It is very important to protect your plants and flowers from frost. You've worked hard all spring and summer raising these plants and flowers. Just a bit more effort can extend the lives of your plants and flowers by several weeks, and with a little help from Mother Nature, possibly months.


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