Nursery owner

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner.

There are two types of vegetable plants, some that are better at handling cold temperatures and some that are better handling hot temperatures. Most plants do have a temperature limit.

Knowing what temperatures plants can tolerate could save you from losing them. Just a couple of weeks ago, after a night of some very cold temperatures, many gardeners woke up to many droopy, sad looking plants. But why would your cold hardy plants look so bad, and some even died? Let’s take a quick simple lesson on the life of a plant.

Plant cells are full of water. As temperatures drop to freezing or below, water in the plants cells turns to ice and can then can burst the plants walls and cause wilting or death.

Knowing when freezing temperatures are moving into your area and when you will need to have your plants protected can be a first step in a plant’s protection. Being prepared for freezing temperatures means making sure plants are well watered, covered, and if possible moved into warmer locations. Watching a 10-day forecast can give you a possible prediction of days to come and when to get plants prepared for the cold.

Young roses are other plants that need to be protected from freezing temperatures. Making sure the soil around each rose is well watered is more likely to help the young plant withstand freezing weather than those that are dried out.

Another way to further protect young roses from winter damage is to cover the lower parts of the bush, from where the rootstock begins and then down, with several inches of some good compost. About 4 to 5 inches of loose compost piled around the lower parts of the bush can help to insulate it from the cold. When temperatures warm up again spread the compost around the lower area of the truck but not up against the trunk.

Until next time, let’s try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

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Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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