How to protect plants
1. Water: Make sure the soil around the plants is thoroughly moist. Since we just had a good rain you only have to check potted plants. Only water if the soil is dry! You CAN overwater in the winter! Soil moisture is important in the winter since it keeps the plant hydrated from the dry winter cold (even though we are having a wet winter!) and will keep the surrounding area warmer since water has a higher average temperature than air. If you’re not sure if the soil is dry, pick up a moisture meter at the nursery. It is an inexpensive tool that will save you time, water and money!
2. Cover: Use a frost cloth or breathable fabric to keep the frost off of sensitive plants. Frost cloth is different than plastic or even a sheet or blanket from the house. Frost cloth breathes well and allows light in where plastic doesn’t breath and sheets or blankets do not always let light in. If you have to use something other than frost cloth, it has to be removed during the day to let in light and allow the plant(s) to breath. The frost cloth should also not touch the plant if at all possible. Anywhere any type of covering touches the plant the frost will transfer directly through to the contacted portion.
3. Do not prune: Sensitive plants, that is. Any damage plants may have incurred already or will incur should not be removed. The damaged portions help insulate the plant against further damage. It is best to wait to prune any frost damage until Spring when you see new growth beginning to push.
What plants to protect
1. Citrus trees, especially those with fruit. Fruit can be damaged by frost.
2. Succulents! Read more about those that are frost hardy, here.
3. Tropical plants: Bougainvillea, Mandevilla, Ginger, Tropical Hibiscus, Kaffir Lily, houseplants (they really should be in the house now!), Fuchsia and more. If you have something I haven’t listed you can ask in the comments section or call the nursery to find out if you need to protect it.
4. Most winter veggies in our climate take frost fine but I would recommend covering spinach, lettuce and celery and new seedlings.
5. Some palms: Canary Island Palm, Date palms, Sago palms primarily. Protecting these can be tricky because of their size and shape. It is more important to protect the trunk and top of the trunk (crown), the leaves can easily grow back in the spring. Sago palms are an exception, protect the entire plant as much as possible. A trick is to use Christmas lights, the old ones with C7 or C9 bulbs, and wrap the trunk of the palm then leave on all night. These lights give off more heat than the smaller ones or the LEDs.
Hope that information helps prepare you and your garden for this cold spell. If you have further questions feel free to ask in the comments or call/drop by the nursery and our staff can help!