Plants Freezing in Their Tracks? Tips on Warm & Comfy.

Lehmusvirta Road is lovely in winter.
Finland winter Central Texas Gardener
Yeah, it’s got my last name, but it’s in Finland, not East Austin.
Finland snow Central Texas Gardener
In Central Texas, we just get weirdo weather. In one brief unromantic wintry escapade, we lose tomatoes and basil. The next day: we’re back to shorts and flip flops bemoaning the mush.

So, do we really need to run around and cover our plants? If you have tropicals like hibiscus, bougainvillea and Hawaiian Ti plants (Cordyline minalis), bring them inside or into a garage or greenhouse.
hawaiian ti cordyline and bougainvillea overwinter in house Central Texas Gardener
I’m not one to haul plants in and out in Texas weird weather. Who needs that kind of stress, especially the plants? Container plants, like sambac jasmine, are more susceptible to damage, so find their comfy spot and leave ’em be. Daphne explains why.
sambac jasmine patio container Central Texas Gardener
And running around covering plants in the garden is no longer on my to-do list. But, if you have a young citrus tree, it’s good to protect with mulch and a tipi. I made this one several years ago with bamboo stakes and floating row cover. Now that my citrus plants are bigger, I don’t bother, but they are in warm microclimates near the house.
row cover bamboo tipi over young orange tree
Here’s CTG’s list of most-hardy citrus.

Orange Frost’ and ‘Arctic Frost’ are two very cold-tough Satsumas.
Arctic Frost satsuma Texas A&M Texas Superstar
Tips for plant protection
• Mulch newly planted perennials like lantana, Esperanza and plumbago.
• If you wrap a plant, anchor it all around, including at the bottom with rocks or pegs.
• Don’t use plastic ON a plant. If covering with a plastic container, remove it when the sun comes out.
• If you can’t bring tender containers inside, gather together near the house and cover.
• Water plants if ground is dry, but try to avoid watering leaves.
• Roses don’t need protection in Central Texas.

Get Daphne’s tips on how to cover plants.

Established native and adapted plants do not need protection. If you’re covering too many plants, it may be time to reevaluate your plants!

Some succulents can’t handle super cold weather. My Agave celsii suffered major damage when we hit below 20° for several days, but rallied. I lost young ones that really hard year when Central Texans even lost mature Agave americanas. But that’s not usual!
agave celsii freeze damage Central Texas Gardener

Jeff Pavlat from the Austin Cactus and Succulent Society compiled this great list of succulent cold temp ranges. Good nurseries now list cold hardiness on plants, but containers and young plants may still need protection in hard extended freezes. That is not in our forecast this winter!
Agave victoriae-reginae Central Texas Gardener
Most winter vegetable crops can handle the cold just fine without protection. In La Grange, wedding tulle fends off insects in the Bernsen’s family garden.
wedding tulle vegetable garden protect Central Texas Gardener
Watch now!

But since we never know what’s coming, floating row cover keeps things cozy for lettuce and other crops that can get nipped in extended freeze.
floating row cover winter vegetables Central Texas Gardener
Get John Dromgoole’s tips for installing row cover.

Jay Carpenter protects his wicking beds with plastic over his Quonset hut frames.
quonset hut homemade greenhouses winter cover Central Texas Gardener
wicking beds in quonset hut vegetable garden Central Texas Gardener

Our biggest challenge in Central Texas: what to wear tomorrow?

Thanks for stopping by! Linda