Plant Care Before and After a Freeze
Although our Winters are usually mild here in Charleston, we do occasionally experience a hard freeze that can damage or even kill landscape plants. We've put together a few tips for avoiding plant damage and caring for plants after a freeze event.
Preventing Cold Damage
The first and best way to guard against cold damage is to select plants that are appropriate for our growing region. Nearly all of the varieties we grow and stock at our Nursery fall into this category. If temperatures are expected to be at or below freezing for an extended period - one or more hours - precautions taken to protect hardy landscape plants will lessen the likelihood of wilted or brown leaves and damaged flower buds. Prior to the arrival of freezing temperatures, add mulch to cover plant roots, water if there's been a lack of rainfall (be careful to water the root zone, not the foliage), and cover plants with a "frost cloth." Frost cloth can be purchased or fashioned from a bed sheet or thick black plastic. Be sure to cover plants to the ground and secure to prevent plants from being exposed to cold air/wind.
Of course, it's hard to deny the beauty of certain colorful tropicals such as the Tropical Hibiscus. Tender plant varieties are often treated as annual container plantings throughout the warm season with the expectation that they may not survive a cold Winter. However, these and other annual flowers can be protected from freezing temperatures by bringing them into a covered area such as a garage. If containerized plants are too heavy to move, water them in place and cover with a frost cloth. Note: Containerized plants left outside may not survive hours of cold exposure even if watered in and covered.
Plant Care After a Freeze
After a cold snap has passed, allow ice or snow to melt away naturally. It can take days or longer for cold damage to become visible. Freeze damage will likely present itself as wilted or brown leaves, browned and/or fallen flower buds, or splitting/cracks in the bark of shrubs and trees.
Clean up cold damage on hardy perennial plants by removing any mushy, wilted foliage immediately. You may also strip crispy, brown foliage from deciduous woody ornamentals and trees at this time if desired.
Resist pruning damaged shrubs and trees right away. Instead, wait until warmer weather arrives and temperatures have stabilized to prune away dead wood. This will prevent stimulating the plants to produce new growth too soon.
Questions? The Nursery Professionals at our Garden Center are here to help! Email us at email@example.com. Please include any photos that may be helpful in answering your specific inquiry.
PLANTING FOR FALL & WINTER INTEREST
10 SHRUBS, TREES, AND GRASSES FOR FALL AND WINTER INTEREST
Thankfully, the gardening season here in Charleston is not limited to the warmer months of the year. Planting can continue throughout the Fall and Winter months, allowing new plantings to get settled in before the first flush of Spring growth appears.
Not only can we continue to plant, but there are many trees, shrubs, and grasses that offer seasonal color and blooms during our Fall and Winter months. As the warm-season landscape goes to sleep, the show goes on!
Fall and Winter Landscape Shopping Tip:
Visit the Garden Center during the Fall and Winter seasons to get a good idea of how landscape plants you've been considering look during cooler weather. You'll discover that the form of some trees and shrubs can be just as interesting in the landscape after they've lost their leaves as they are leafed out in Spring and Summer. For those shrubs that bloom in the Fall and Winter, you'll also be able to see flower colors and forms in person. And, last but not least, you'll have the opportunity to choose some new favorite evergreens!
Camellia - Queens of the Fall and Winter garden!
Both of our most popular Camellia shrub species have lustrous green foliage all year long, but there are key differences such as:
Holiday Decorating Tip:
Evergreen trees such as Green Giant Arborvitae and Carolina Sapphire Cypress can also be used as living Christmas trees. Choose a size that makes sense for your indoor or outdoor living space, add your favorite decorations and lights, and enjoy the tree during the Christmas season. Your tree can then be planted in its forever home after the holidays. The fragrant foliage of these trees can also be used in wreaths, swags, and other Winter arrangements!
FOR PLANTING SUCCESS:
We highly recommend amending the soil in your planting area with Brownswood Premium Planting Mix as well as a starter fertilizer such as Espoma Organic Bio-tone® Starter Plus to give your new plants their best start. You can find our Planting Guide at the link below. It provides planting instructions and helpful information about watering and getting new plants established. We look forward to seeing you at the Garden Center!
Tropicals for Sun & Shade
A landscape infused with the vibrant colors and lush foliage of tropical plants takes enjoying Summer activities outdoors with family and friends to the next level. Tropical plants make great additions to containers or garden beds that set the stage for fun times around the pool, patio, or pergola. They can even be used to create privacy around the perimeter of your yard.
Lucky for us here in Charleston, mild Fall and Winter temperatures allow many of the tropical plants that are available at our Garden Center to thrive without special protection during cold weather. This means that the plants you see this Summer, although some will need to be cut back before the next Spring, will survive the Winter to flourish again year after year.
Not sure where to start in selecting plants for your landscape? Our Nursery Professionals will be happy to assist! Or, if you're ready for a full makeover with a tropical theme (or other theme of your choosing), book an at-home design consultation today!
Ready to Transform Your Yard?