Protect your plants from Jack Frost’s bite


Moorten Botanical Garden, Palm Springs

With near-freezing temperatures heading our way this evening, a local plant expert offers suggestions on how to protect your plants from frost damage.

A strong cold front from the Gulf of Alaska is expected to drop temperatures into the mid-30s – dipping into the low 30s by Friday evening.

“If it’s going to be in the 30s, I cover the plants with old bed sheets,” said Clark Moorten, owner of Moorten’s Botanical Garden in Palm Springs.

He was already hanging sheets and blankets on his greenery Thursday afternoon.

“It looks like my garden’s tucked in for the night,” he said, laughing.

He recommends using a cloth to cover plants – not plastic. Newspapers can also be used, he said.

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Moorten said temperatures are taken about 5 feet above ground level, so, “If it’s 36 degrees, it might be 30 at the ground,” he said.

Bougainvilleas are one of the most frost-sensitive plants. Soft succulents, including Aloes, are also susceptible to damage from extreme cold.

“If they’re planted right up against the house, they’ll probably be OK because a house gives off heat.”

Plants that are under the cover of trees, or a canopy of shrubs or bushes should be fairly well protected, he said.

Potted plants can be moved under trees, or other areas in the yard that provides shelter.

But it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution, he added.

“Frost cuts like a knife,” he said. “If you’re worried, cover them up as a precaution.”