Have you gotten tired of the hot humid Southern Louisiana weather? Well looks like we get a break for a while! Winter-like weather has arrived, at least for a while. Meteorologists are calling for lows in the mid-30s this weekend, with a chance of snow!
With the warm weather we have had, a lot of plants may not be ready for winter. If you have any tropicals still hanging around that you want to save, now is the time to plan. Our coldest weather usually occurs in late January into February.
Here's a few tips on preparing plants for very cold weather:
- Move any outdoor tropical plants in containers inside the house or in a covered area. Remember that the north and west sides of your house will get colder than the south or east sides.
- For any in ground or large container plants, it helps to have the roots "dressed" with some type of mulch or pine straw. This will help to insulate the roots from a hard freeze and also can protect the crown of the plant. If you add extra mulch or straw around the stems/trunk before the cold arrives, make sure after the cold is over to pull away the extra mulch or you may get stem rot when the temps warm up in early spring.
- Make sure all plants are well watered going into a cold spell. When water freezes it gives off heat calories. Many times, cell damage due to dehydration can be avoided if there is plenty of water available for your plants.
- Cover plants with a cloth or a blanket. Secure the cover from the ground over the plant. In our stores, we use a white cloth material called Frost Cloth. It helps insulate the plants while allowing them to "breath". These cloth material covers can be left on for several days, until the cold weather is gone. NOTE: If you cover with a non-breathable material, you MUST vent the sides the next morning and then uncover soon after or you will create a greenhouse effect. The temperatures can rise dramatically as the sun is out and your plants can/will get burned.
If you follow these steps your plants should survive the cold weather just fine.