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Freeze Alert! Protect Your Plants!


As of right now, NOAA (our preferred source for weather forecasts) shows cold weather starting Sunday night (1/14) through Wednesday morning (1/17), with temperatures dipping below freezing Monday and Tuesday nights. That means we’re busy preparing to protect plants here at Gill’s! We want you to be prepared too – here’s how.

1. Water all plants well. It sounds counterintuitive, but watering will help keep the ground temperature warmer by filling tiny air pockets in the soil.

2. Cover cold-sensitive/tropical plants (like Dracenas, Ti plants, Crown of Thorns, Schefflera, Ixora) and tender new plants. Cold-tolerant plants that were recently planted in the ground (like trees, Boxwoods, Hawthorns, etc.) do not need to be covered, just watered well.

  • Gather supplies now, but wait until Sunday afternoon/evening to cover your plants. Keep your eye on the weather – it could change!
  • We have pre-cut frost blankets and frost protection cloth that can be cut to your desired shape, or you can use quilts, bedsheets, towels, etc.
  • Make a tent to capture ground warmth. Wrapping plants like a lollipop will not be effective. Make your tent and use whatever you have to weigh down the edges, like anchor pins, bricks, firewood, garden hoses, rocks, etc. Remember – the most important thing is to capture ground warmth. The ground temperature will remain warmer than the air. Watch Wyatt’s demo video below!
  • Consider cutting back tall shrubs. If you have taller shrubs like Esperanza that would be difficult or impossible to cover, consider cutting it back to a few feet tall so you can cover it.

3. Bring in potted plants. Since potted plants don’t have the advantage of retaining ground warmth, they are more susceptible to cold temps. Bring them into the house or garage if you can. If they are too big or heavy, water them well, lay them over on the ground, and cover the whole plant (pot and all) with the tent method.

We can’t cover all of the information about freeze protection here, but you can give us a call or stop by if you have questions. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram where we’ll continue to post how-to’s and updates.

Click to Watch – How to Cover Plants for the Freeze!

Reader Interactions


  1. Jesse says

    Hi Polly – here are your answers:

    1. Should I water the plants in the garage or leave them dry? – Yes, water them if you didn’t water before you brought them in
    2. What can I do for my gigantic in-ground bird-of-paradise? – Cover it if you can. Use long bamboo poles or pvc to help create a structure for frost cloth.
    3. Do I need to cut back my drift roses before I cover them? – No
    4. Do I need to water the lawn before the freeze? – Watering can help insulate the roots, just like other plants, but lawns should be fine with this freeze.
    5. I have some blooming vinca in the ground and some Katie Dwarf Ruellia…any tips for those? – The vinca will freeze. You could try to cover them if you’d like, but they won’t like the cold. The ruellia will suffer some damage up top, but the roots will be fine and it will grow back fast.

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