It can be frustrating to gently nurture a plant with rich soil, proper drainage, nutritious fertilizer and thoughtful pruning only to have all that effort demolished by a cold snap that severely damages or kills the plant. Fortunately, there are hardy plants that will survive cold weather and continue to flourish, even in a chilly garden.
Know Your Zone
The best step toward choosing cold-tolerant plants is to select only plants and cultivars that are appropriate for your planting zone. Those plants will be best adapted to the regional climate, weather patterns and seasonal moisture levels. Native options are best, as those plants are even hardier and better adapted to local conditions.
When choosing plants, however, you have to keep more than your planting zone in mind. Consider the soil type, natural drainage, sunlight levels and other factors to meet the plant's best needs in your yard or garden. This will ensure a strong, healthy plant that is more resistant to the occasional cold snap, frost, freeze or long winter.
Top Plants That Survive Cold Weather
A wide variety of plants do well even in chilly conditions, and some plants not only survive the coldest season, but actually show some of their very best characteristics when it seems nothing else is growing. Many of these cold-hardy plants have outstanding blooms, brilliant berries, luxuriant foliage or unique stems and bark that make them an outstanding addition to the winter landscape. Top cold-hardy choices include…
Harry Lauder's Walking Stick
Red Twig Dogwood
In addition to plants that look outstanding in a winter landscape, there are many plants – both annuals and perennials – that can withstand cooler temperatures and bounce back with little or no damage. Popular and easy options include…
These are just a few of the most familiar plants that do well when subjected to cool temperatures. Be sure to visit your local garden center or plant nursery for more suggestions that are best for your local climate and weather conditions.
When Cold Threatens
Many gardeners get nervous when cold weather threatens, even if they have chosen cold-tolerant plants for all their flowerbeds, landscaping and gardening. Fortunately, there are several easy steps anyone can take to give even the hardiest plants an extra edge when cold threatens. Watering plants thoroughly several days before a cold front or in late fall will help ensure their stems and foliage are as richly hydrated as possible, which will help them resist cold drought when water is locked up as snow and ice. Well-watered soil is also better insulated to protect delicate roots. Adding an extra inch or two of mulch to a plant before the cold will also help insulate the roots, and cold frames, bags or other coverings can help protect foliage from chilly winds and snow buildup. Always keeping plants in their best condition with proper pruning, adequate fertilization and pest control will help them be healthier and better able to resist any cold stress.
While not all plants will survive the deepest freeze, harshest winter or most sudden cold snap, it is possible to select cold-hardy plants and care for them in ways that will ensure you have a beautiful garden and landscape to enjoy in all temperatures.
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