Winter Weather Advisory:
The Houston area is expecting freezing temperatures thru tonight, warmer starting Thursday. It is best to keep an eye on the weather! Remember you only have to cover the plants that need it; young citrus, tropicals and tender perennials. Potted plants are vulnerable and may need to come inside or in the garage.
Freeze Damage Prevention
In a chance of a freeze, here’s what to do:
1. Water your plants thoroughly ahead of time. You need to be sure the roots are wet, not the leaves. A lot of freeze damage is from dehydration. Watering before a freeze could make a big difference in your tropical and tender perennials. We water ours with a dilution of liquid seaweed in the water to help them be more frost tolerant.
2. Cover your tender plants. Remember, you want to be sure the roots are protected, covered, and mulched well. Even if you lose the top growth of these tender plants, if the roots are alive it’ll come back in the spring. Don’t cover with plastic touching the leaves of your plants. If at all possible, use woven frost protection sheets or sheets and blankets. In a mild freeze or frost, one blanket will probably do for most plants. If it’s a hard freeze (below 30 degrees for any period of time) use a heavy blanket or several layers of sheets. You can even use plastic over that if you want because it won’t be touching the foliage. ALSO, don’t forget to put rocks or something heavy on the edges of your N-Sulate or blanket to be sure the wind doesn’t blow away, exposing the roots of your plants.
3. Don’t do any heavy pruning on freeze-damaged plants until late winter when you think all chance of frost is over.
4. Remove all of your protective covering if the sun comes out and the temperature goes up, because it can be 32 degrees today and 70 degrees tomorrow.
5. Along with protecting your tender plants during the winter, remember it’s not a good idea to fertilize tender tropicals that are exposed to outside temperatures during these cold months. Fertilizing encourages new growth and that new growth is more vulnerable to freezing and near freezing conditions than old growth. It’s okay to fertilize and encourage growth on indoor or green housed tropicals although shorter days usually slow down growth no matter how much you fertilize.
Stay safe and warm!