Each year frozen plants are a problem for all gardeners north of the frost line. But don’t worry, frost on plants is not a death sentence!
Last night was windy. Really windy, gusts over 40mph. It took the covers off of my plants that I was trying to keep over the winter. I should have taken them in, but I wanted them to get a bit more natural light. And it froze, so some of my plants are looking rather limp. Before I compost them, I’m going to try to save them.
Can You Save Frozen Plants?
The short answer is yes and no. If you have a sensitive annual plant, like impatiens, you might as well give up. But if it’s a bit hardier, like a moss rose, they might have a chance.
Help for Frozen Plants
Here are a few tips that might help.
Water before a freeze to form an ice capsule.
While it may seem the opposite, ice on a plant can actually help to save it. Set your sprinkler on mist and allow it to shower over the plants as it freezes. This will help form a barrier against extreme cold. As the ice melts, it will water the plant.
Water over the top after frost has happened.
If you see a plant that is still frozen, you can pour cool water over it. The trick is to catch it before the sun hits it. I took this tip from an old book, but it really works!
Cut off the dead parts.
If your plant has frozen but the roots are still ok, like figs, you can cut the tops of them and let them be for the winter.
Sometimes the most simple answer is the best answer. Often the soil will dry out when it freezes, so a drink may just be what the plant needs to survive.
Mulch can help too.
If a plant is more sensitive in your area, like the figs are in mine, you can mulch them well. This will keep the roots warmer and not allow cold air to get to them. Mulching with snow works too. Snow? Yep! Plies of fluffy snow around a plant will create air pockets that can help keep them from becoming frozen plants.
If all else fails, bring it in.
Cold-sensitive plants can come in for the winter. Be sure to check for bugs before you take them in and keep them watered well, but don’t overdo it. Homes are often very dry in the winter, so proper watering is a must.
Have you had to deal with frozen plants? If it happens, now you have the tools to help save them!