En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - December 08, 2003

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Seasonal Tasks, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Survivability of plants after freeze
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have many beautiful plants that froze. Some were Lantana, Hummingbird Bush, Candlestick Trees, Esperanza, Some flowers, and Marigolds. I love all of my plants and flowers and I want them to grow back if possible. Also, I have Rosemary that was also harmed by this freeze. Is there anything I can do?

ANSWER:

Most of the plants you have listed above have reasonably good cold hardiness. Assuming you live somewhere within the Central Texas area, the freezing temperatures haven't been very low for an extended period of time yet. Therefore, even though the leaves have been damaged, the stems probably haven't been significantly damaged nor the roots killed. This means the plants aren't going to look very pretty the remainder of the winter, but they probably will survive to put out new growth in the spring. In general, you can wait for the frozen parts to dry and then trim them away to six inches or so above the ground. Alternatively, you could leave the frozen dried parts in place until late winter to provide some shelter for birds and other small wildlife. Then, early spring remove all the dried dead material. For some of these plants a severe pruning is recommended anyway each winter to stimulate growth in the spring. There are several things you can do to protect your plants from further freezing. 1. Cover the root zone with a good layer of mulch--bark chips, grass clippings, shredded leaves, and hay all work well. 2. Give them adequate water. Drought stressed plants are less able to withstand freezing temperatures. 3. To protect still green foliage from freezing, you can cover the plants with cloth__old sheets, tablecloths, towels, etc., work well. You want the cloth to extend to the ground and to be anchored there with rocks or stakes. This will trap some of the radiant heat of the ground around the plants.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Ground cover for shade from Atlanta GA
May 28, 2012 - I am looking for recommendations for a ground cover. I live in the Atlanta, Georgia area and have a large shady slope on which I would like to use low maintenance/water native ground cover. What wou...
view the full question and answer

Replacing St. Augustine with Horse herb in Austin, TX.
December 12, 2012 - I'm considering replacing my St. Augustine grass with a Horseherb/Straggler Daisy ground cover, but I've heard that it provides a mosquito breeding habitat, especially if you allow dead leaves to de...
view the full question and answer

Texas native shade plants for metal troughs in Austin
December 22, 2012 - Interested in finding Texas natives that would do well in metal troughs in the shade.
view the full question and answer

Problems with sunflowers in Florida
November 03, 2006 - I planted sunflowers on the west side of my house where I have previously planted them and they grew wonderfully. These new ones, however, seem to be dying, (less than 2 weeks). I bought the plants at...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back of non-native Salvia Elegans in Portland OR
December 31, 2011 - I did not trim back my pineapple sage in the fall. It is now winter and the plants are bare sticks. Should I cut them back or leave them alone?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center