Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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 Seasonal Tasks Questions

Pruning for Spring
January 21, 2007 - When should I cut back (and how far should I cut back) the following plants in order to promote growth in the spring: Salvia gregii, Salvia leucantha, Ruellia (Mexican petunia), Plumbago, Sku...
view the full question and answer

Preventing weeds in kinnikinnick in Richland WA
May 29, 2011 - We planted our kinnickinick last Nov. and we live in Richland, WA, where it gets hot in the summer. We planted almost 500 of them on a hillside. Weeding is taking over our lives, to say the least. ...
view the full question and answer

Live Oak Mess in Liberty, TX
April 09, 2015 - Should I leave the pollination debris that has fallen from my 3 historic live oaks on the ground surface beneath them or use a leaf blower to remove.
view the full question and answer

Winter pruning for yucca in Michigan
November 10, 2008 - I live in SE Michigan and have an outdoor yucca plant that has grown quite large. My father tells me that I can literally cut it down to the ground in the fall and that it will grow back the followin...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
May 09, 2003 - When can I harvest my Bluebonnets?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.