Plants Not Accustomed To the Cold Need Extra Protection Tonight

Billy Copeland at Houston's Newton Nurseries covers bedding plants in preparation for tonight's freezing temperatures.
Along with pipes and pets, the bitter cold has many Houstonians scrambling to protect their plants. All over the city, sheets and blankets are covering palms and bushes that usually thrive in the city's warm temperatures.

"We have some of these pansies here, and you can see on the top of the pansies, they've kind of wilted a little bit."

Workers are staying busy at Newton Nursery on Houston's north-side. Some plants are being hauled inside. Others are getting a warm blanket to help them through the chilly night ahead.

The nursery's Billy Copeland says there are commercial coverings available in different sizes to protect outdoor plants, but it's okay to improvise.

"Anything is better than nothing. You know, home sheets, old blankets, anything like that, anything that you can throw across something that's not going to put too much weight on it and you're not going to break stems and things like that. Anything is going to protect better than nothing, that's for sure."

And when you cover the plant you want to do it loosely.

AgriLife Extension Agent Paul Winski says you don't want to tie it at the bottom and create what he calls the "Lollipop Effect."

"We actually want that heat to come up from the ground, so you actually want to let that covering drape down to the ground. Then go ahead and either use some rocks or boards to keep it in place, and allow the heat from the ground to come up inside to turn around and keep that plant nice and warm."

Experts say if you need to protect container plants, it's best to move them near the house so they can get a little more warmth.

For more information, visit AgriLife resource on protecting plants from cold.

Bio photo of Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

Gail Delaughter joined KUHF in October 2008 as Saturday morning news anchor and host. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Gail has extensive experience in Texas and Louisiana as a radio news reporter and morning show anchor and co-host...