Is Oh Snap too 90's? I can't tell. Anyway, Thursday night is the first night in my area that we will have below freezing temperatures. We're a little cushioned by the city warm zone but it was bound to happen sometime this month: a cold snap. I've been preparing some of my plants for the journey indoors. Others will be left out in the cold, but with some protection in place to make sure they don't freeze. Still others I'll let die off because they're annuals and aren't meant to live through the winter.
|What can survive a cold snap, and what should be brought indoors?|
The Rosemary plant prefers above-freezing temperatures
so it will be brought in once it dips below around 35 F
|Begonia living the warm life indoors.|
Aloes and other succulents have a hard time in the cold if they are watered too much. They can easily get root rot since they go into a winter dormancy state where they are basically "asleep" and not absorbing much. The water then just sits in the soil and rots the plant's roots. Water your succulents less in winter even if they are indoor plants. If you would normally water as soon as the soil is completely dry then wait an extra week. The exceptions are tropical succulents like Jade and Hawarthias. They use the same amount of water year-round. I can usually tell it is a tropical succulent if it scorches in direct sunlight. Tropical ones for some reason require less sun, not more.
|The aloe plant that spent a 40F day outside|
but is coming in for the night.
Carnivorous plants that are native to North America like the Venus Fly Trap and some pitcher plants should stay in a cold-ish place for the winter to hibernate. However, they must not freeze. I'm experimenting with leaving my Venus Fly Trap close to the brick wall of my apartment, near the door to my porch. Hopefully this micro climate will keep it from freezing on all but the coldest nights in January and February, when it will be kept in the fridge until the temperature outside gets back around 30 F.
|Sadly, lettuce does not do well below freezing either,|
though some varieties are hardier than others.
If you don't have a south-facing brick wall to warm your potted plants against, another thing you can try is burying the pots up to the brim in the ground before the first frost. This acts like an insulator for the plant roots and will help the plant make it through the winter. The leaves will still die off, but they will come back in the spring if it's a perennial. Putting row covers over your plants can also help keep frost off and insulate the leaves. This is a way to grow hardy lettuces, kale, and brussel sprouts all winter long in our area. Row covers can come in plastic or a thin fabric which lets enough light in for the plants to keep going until spring. If only I had room for row covers on my porch! Fresh kale in February...mmm.