Spring came early this year and had most of us fooled that the 80 degree temperatures were here to stay. With the threat of frost this Tuesday and Wednesday nights, a lot of gardeners are curious to find out which perennials and annuals can and cannot survive a sudden Spring frost.
The most common question we’ve been getting about spring bulbs and perennials that have started popping up are about daffodils and tulips. The exposed foliage of most varieties of tulips and daffodils can withstand temperatures to just below the freezing point, when light frosts occur.
Draping a thick piece of burlap or a heavy blanket over a post driven next to the growing plant provides a layer of insulation. Remove the insulating covers and mulch as soon as the risk of frost is over. This may require lifting and replacing the insulation each day. Although this method may help protect tulips and daffodils from some damage during cold nights, it won’t prevent damage during extreme cold spells.
The perennials on the Sunnyside Gardens lot have tolerated the cold night spells uncovered very well. We have Hostas, Bleeding Hearts, Creeping Phlox and Prairie Smoke to name a few.
Although the overnight temperatures for annuals such as Geraniums, Petunias and herbs are too cold, frost hardy annuals like Pansies and Violas will tolerate freezing temperatures. After cold spells have passed Pansies and Violas get hungry and will appreciate a little fertilizer to perk them back up.
When in doubt- cover it!