‘Killed overnight’: How to protect your plants from frost – ‘provide insulation’

Alan Titchmarsh shows off his cyclamen hederifolium plants

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Light frost typically won’t cause any damage to outdoor plants. However, a hard frost, which typically arrives between January and February, can actually kill plants. This is because it can cause major damage to plant tissue as well as causing dehydration. Some plants may not even recover from this so it’s best to take steps to prevent this from happening now.

Luckily, there are steps which gardeners can take to help prevent this happening.

Experts at Phostrogen said: “With the temperature finally taking a turn for the chilly, we can expect the first frost of the winter to appear imminently, so now is the time to take some simple steps to protect your plants.

“Of course, the level of protection your plants need will depend on the species and location.

“Some tender plants can be killed overnight, while hardier plants can survive a few frosts.

However, those hardier plants can still take months to recover.

The experts continued: “Generally, any temperature below minus two degrees is cold enough to kill even the hardiest plants.

“If you have tender plant species such as dahlias, fuschia and begonias, it is widely recommended to move them indoors if possible to a cool, frost-free area like a porch, conservatory or greenhouse throughout the winter.

“Of course, that may not be possible for well-established plants, so instead provide insulation by wrapping a few layers of fleece or bubble wrap around the container itself.”

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Fleece is a versatile material as it can protect plants from frost, wind, hail and pests.

It is advised to take the insulation off once the temperatures begin to rise.

Plus, bubble wrap is a cheap insulation material that can help the plants get through winter.

Terracotta pots are susceptible to cracking through the winter months, meaning they also need extra protection.

The experts added: “Raise pots off the ground where possible to avoid taking on the cold temperature off the ground.

“You can also wrap plants in materials like hessian and polystyrene to insulate and protect them from the elements.

“Just make sure they are finished with a waterproofing covering to avoid water getting underneath the wrap, as this can cause frost to set in.

“Heavily mulching around the roots of the plant is another great option for plants in the ground.

“Use compost, bark chipping or any organic materials to prevent the ground from freezing over and damaging root systems.”

Mulching has many benefits including suppressing weeds and improving the soil around plants and trees. 

As well as this, it can also help to keep the garden looking neat and tidy. 

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