Tips on How to Protect Plants from Frost

Frosty mornings can make for beautiful country walks and lovely wintery photographs. However, they aren’t so enjoyable when it comes to plants and plant care. Frost can hugely damage plants, meaning that all of the hard work you put into growing them during the summer months can go to waste in the winter. This guide should help you understand how frost can affect your garden and how you can protect your plants from its damage.

Why does frost damage plants?

When the sun is shining on the plants during the day, they will store the heat. However, as the temperatures get cooler, your plants will lose this heat. Throughout the night, as temperatures get lower and lower, the moisture in the plants will condense and turn to dew, which, should temperatures reach 0 degrees, freeze. This sort of temperature will cause minimal damage to plants, perhaps ruining a leaf, or petal or two. However, if temperatures should go sub-zero, more serious damage is caused to plants as parts of cells in the stem begin to freeze.

How to protect plants from frost

One simple way to avoid plants from being affected by frost damage is to plant them in the highest areas of your garden. This is mainly because cold air, as it’s dense, will sink to the lower areas of your garden, meaning plants in this area are more susceptible to frost.

You could also try:

  • Watering your garden before nightfall. The moisture in the soil will be released into the air during the night, helping to keep temperatures slightly warmer.
  • Cover your plants before nightfall. Simply putting a covering layer over your plants before the sun goes down (when plants will quickly lose heat) will prevent any frost from settling on them and damaging them. A cover as simple as some newspaper will do the trick! However, you should ensure to remove the cover in the morning to prevent the plants from overheating.
  • Create your own mini heaters from water-filled milk bottles. Leave these to store heat from the sun during the day and, because water will lose heat more slowly than the plants, they can work to keep plant temperatures up during the night.
  • Plants stored in pots and containers will lose heat faster than those planted in soil as the roots aren’t as protected. To avoid these plants becoming damaged by the frost you should either take them indoors during very cold periods, or wrap the containers in bubble wrap or bury them in soil to help insulate the roots.

Are any plants frostproof?

Of course, frost can be a potential damage to all plants, but there are some plants that will be more resistant to cold weather, such as:

  • Butterfly Bush
  • Winter Flowering Cherry
  • Wild Daffodil
  • Holly
  • Japanese Anenome

Do you have any tips on how to protect plants from the winter frosts? Perhaps you have a favourite frost-hardy plant? Let us know in the comments section!

[Photo Credit: marcus_and_sue ]