The least time consuming and most sustainable approach to this topic is to only plant frost hardy plants. But for the rest of us who want to try our hand at Bougainvillea, Euphorbia, Aloe and Ornamental Banana, here are some tips:
- Water the garden thoroughly before nightfall on the day when freezing temperatures are expected. The soil will release moisture into the air around your plants during the night thereby keeping the air somewhat warmer.
- Cover up your plants before dusk. Your garden has already lost most of its heat by the time it gets dark. Build a simple frame around the plant, or row of plants. Use stakes, rakes, old chairs or whatever you can find then create a tent by draping newspaper, cardboard, plastic tarps, bed sheeting or any other lightweight material over the frame.
Tip: remember to remove the covers in the morning, once the frost has thawed, to let the light and fresh air back in, and to prevent overheating by the sun.
- Potted plants are particularly susceptible to frosts because their roots are also unprotected from deep soil layers. If you are unable to move your container plants indoors or under protective, just wrap the pot in burlap or bubble wrap. Or simply bury the pot in soil in addition to protecting the foliage.
If your plants still become damaged due to the frost, resist the urge to prune affected areas. Instead, leave foliage intact to protect the plant during winter and prune back in the spring