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?


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


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?


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

Planting wildflowers and ryegrass in RIverside AL
February 07, 2015 - Love the name, enjoyed a visit last spring. We repaired a retaining wall about 300 ft. and want to plant wildflowers on a strip 5 ft wide. Slope gentle to 1 in 3.5. Hauled in topsoil for fill. Can ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning pink skullcap and rock daisy from Austin
February 06, 2013 - I have some pink skullcap and rock daisy and other plants in my yard that never entirely die back over the winter. Can you tell me what kind of pruning is appropriate? How far can/should I cut them ...
view the full question and answer

Food Allergy to Beautyberry or Persimmon?
October 22, 2015 - I think I might have a food allergy to Beautyberry or American Persimmon, eaten Saturday at the North Carolina Great Dismal park. These were the only strange foods recently, though I've had persimmo...
view the full question and answer

Planting under Pine Trees in Pocatello ID
April 08, 2014 - Hi I was wondering if you could give me some ideas of what I could plant under and near some pine trees for my area. The trees are huge and so it is also constant shade where I want to plant. Thanks f...
view the full question and answer

Sharing Selfheal with Texas Friends
April 25, 2013 - I have discovered selfheal plants in my yard. When and how do I collect the seeds or do I just dig up plants to share with friends? I understand this is actually an herb. I love identifying wildflower...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center