Frozen Plants: 6 Ways To Help Save Plants That Have Been Frozen

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Frozen Plants

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.

Water them.

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.

Bonus Tip!

If you do lose a plant, sometimes you can save the seeds from it. So if your plant does die, you can start again in the spring. And here are tips to stop frost on plants from happening.

Have you had to deal with frozen plants? If it happens, now you have the tools to help save them!


About Debra Maslowski

Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor, and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon!

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  1. Debra Maslowski says

    Hi Cheryl, you may not be able to. It depends on how long it’s been out in the cold. I would bring it in and let it warm up. Then trim off the branches to about 2-3 inches above the soil. Then place it in the bath tub. Water it really well. In the tub, you can let it drain better than in a saucer. Water it again and again as the cold weather makes the soil very dry and it may take some time to wet it all the way through. When it drains all the way, place it on a saucer and move it to a sunny spot. Keep an eye on the soil to be sure it stays moist. You should see signs of life in a week or so. Sometimes it takes a bit longer, so be patient. If not, then it can go in the compost. Hope this helps!

  2. Cheryl Pickard says

    I left my goldfish out in the porch which isnt heated so it got frozen that is a plant how can i save it