Friday, February 1, 2013

When It Freezes in the Deep South

Tonight we expect a freeze with temperatures in the mid 20s. Many plants have put out tentative blooms during a warm spell. What does the freeze mean to them?

To Camellias like the one above, it means open blossoms may turn brown and fall off.
Tight buds remaining will open normally when the weather warms again.
To Formosa azaleas and their kin, it means the few open blossoms
may suffer. There are many more buds not yet open.
Rosemary is in bloom.
Rosemary doesn't seem to mind. The white azaleas behind may
look like dirty tissue after the freeze.
Loropetalum fringes can stand a good bit of cold.
I'm sure there are plenty of buds if these get nipped.
Loropetalums extend the season of early spring pink, opening ahead
of azaleas and extending beyond their bloom.

Three of our oldest loropetalums, limbed up as trees.
I cut this hyacinth and brought it in the house.
We are fortunate that our freezes usually come in early morning hours and
last a very short time. With the sun, temperatures rise quickly.
These little daffodils may not mind a brief chill.
I heaped pine straw over new growth on Hydrangea Variegata 'Mariesii' and some chartreuse alternanthera and my violas that were uncovered.
The cat and dog will be snug in their heated huts.
Greenhouse heaters are set to come on.
Electric heat pump will switch and gas furnace will come on in the house when temps are 38º outside.
I never feel ready.  My feet are cold.
Linking to Flaunt Your Flowers on Tootsie Time Friday


  1. you are invited to follow my blog

  2. I'm beginning to think that the temperature shifts are crueler than the colder snaps themselves. They leave plants confused and the gardener with hands in the air. We haven't dipped as low as the 20s but even our shifts from 40 at night to 78 in the day put the plants in a dither...

  3. OMG...I am so glad I read this because I know we are in the same area....I quickly looked up the weather and sure enough...expected low of 28! As tired as I am, I have some things I need to cover...thanks so much!

  4. Look at all of your loveliness growing all around you. I just LOVE your loropetalums, I didn't realize they get that huge. They look fantastic limbed up as trees. Just beautiful. I have one, but it's only about 3' tall at the most.

    Hope your freezing temps don't last too long.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

  5. When I first started gardening in the south (zone 7b), I'd worry about my blooms every time we got a really cold spell in the winter. But after watching how my winter bloomers have handled the roller coaster ride of winters in the south, I have decided that anything the blooms in January or February is used to getting the occasional blast of arctic air and will recover just fine.

  6. Next morning: things look pretty good. Some camellias have brown edges on the open blooms and half-open buds.

    It's a pleasant day today, in the 60s. no more freezes predicted in the next week. I guess the groundhog saw his shadow, sun was out early. Mid-March we'll still be watching for that late killing frost that can come as late as April 15.

    Rainey, old Loropetalums can get pretty tall. These are about 12 years old and some are about 12 feet tall. Like azaleas, I think there may be some dwarfs.

    Sarah, I rarely cover anything except maybe a bit of pine straw over some tiny tender plants only because they look so vulnerable.

  7. Love the loropetalums I don't think they are so hardy in my part of the world. Day time temperatures in the 60s sound very pleasant, that is very much our Summer temperatures.

  8. Nice to visit your Southern region garden -- we don't get such cold freezing here but we've had a bit of frost. I don't have anything (outside of the greenhouse) that I think will suffer from cold, and I don't heat the greenhouse since I just grow natives. Rosemary is tough I think - I just removed a whole lot that had gotten too woody. But mainly I want more rain!!

  9. awesome photos!~ I hope they all survived your cold snap! thanks for linking in!!! sorry I am so late getting around...hope you will link up again soon!
    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.


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