Category Archives: What’s Blooming

Cut flowers sunflower zinnia

First Frost Warning: What it means for outdoor plants

Usually during the months of September and October, we will start to see warnings for the first frost of the season.  If you are a gardener you’ll want to keep an eye out for a first frost warning.  We’re here to help with some easy tips.

What does a frost warning mean?

Generally, a frost warning means that temperatures will dip down into the 30s, creating an icy frost on plants, grass and cars.

What happens during the first frost of the season?

  • Annuals will finish for the season.  Many plants will turn brown, including their leaves and flowers.
  • Vegetables in the garden will finish for the season.
  • Some hardy flowers, like mums, will survive the first frost.  They usually survive until a hard frost occurs, when temperatures dipping into the twenties.

One positive result of the first frost is that mosquitoes will not survive the cold temperatures.

What should you do to prepare for the first frost warning?

First frost warning Cut flowers sunflower zinnia

  • Cut your final batch of flowers and put them in a vase indoors.
  • Harvest all of your vegetables.  This includes tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers.
  • Gather any seeds from flowers you want to plant next year
  • Cover any plants which you want to keep growing.

What can you do to extend your growing season?

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost, but Running A Household will receive a commission. Thank you for supporting our website.

If there will be just one or two nights with low temperatures expected, you may want to consider extending your growing season.

  • Bring potted plants indoors.
  • Cover up flowers and vegetables to protect them from the frost.  In the past, we have used sheets, lightweight blankets and even a tarp.  Large pieces of plastic and brown paper bags  will also work, if there isn’t any wind.
  • This Garden Quilt Cover will certainly keep your plants protected from frost. It’s large size makes it easy to cover multiple plants.
  • Don’t have any covers?  Some gardeners have used water as an insulator.  How does it work?  You can sprinkle water on your garden later in the day.  As long as there isn’t too much sun or wind, the water will stay on the plant leaves and freeze overnight, acting as insulation.  It’s certainly worth a try if you don’t have any other options. Generally this method works when temperatures are right around the freezing mark of 32 degrees or slightly below.

Good luck preparing for the first frost.

You may also find these articles helpful:

Things to plant this fall

It’s Time to Put Down Step 4 Fertilizer

When Should You Plant Grass Seed?

snowfall on pansies

Can pansies survive snow? What you need to know

Did you ever plant pansies, only to find out a snowstorm is on the way?  We’re here to tell you what happened when we planted our pansies, and then a surprise snowstorm occurred overnight.  Can you guess the outcome?

Planting pansies early

Pansies are known for their hardiness. People usually plant them in early spring, knowing that they can survive colder temperatures.  Here are the pansies we planted.  Aren’t these orange pansies beautiful?

Orange Pansies in Black Container

We also planted yellow ones in a pretty planter stand that was crafted out of wood.

Yellow pansies

And then it snowed

On April 19th, we awoke to an unexpected snow-covered yard. It was so beautiful, until sheer panic set in when I realized my pansies were outside. Some of them were under a covered porch, while others were in containers unprotected from the elements. And then there were the ones that I planted directly in the window boxes of our shed. My heart sank.

Orange pansies covered in snow

According to the news reports, the rain changed over to sleet around midnight. It was followed by about an inch of snow. So when I looked at the pansies around 7:00 a.m. they were covered in snow. I hustled to lug the containers into the house, hoping that they weren’t outside too long. Within an hour, the snow melted, and after another hour things were looking optimistic.

Yellow pansies after snow

By the end of the day, I knew the yellow and orange pansies would be fine.  As for the pansies out in the window boxes, I wasn’t able to bring those indoors. I thought about covering the plants with a plastic bag or pillow case, but instead I just let Mother Nature take her course. What was the result? They were fine! We were so thrilled that all of the pansies survived.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.  Thank you for supporting our website.

Lessons learned

Pansies can survive cold temperatures slightly under 32 degrees. They can even survive a light sleet and snow storm.  In fact, the ice may have acted as an insulation to protect the flowers.

Frost Protection Covers for Plants

Did you know there are special frost protection covers for plants available, like this one:

PHI VILLA Plant Protector Bag Frost Protection Cover Plant Cover

These covers are terrific because they come in all different sizes.  You can use them to cover plants, bushes and even small fruit trees to protect them from a frost.

Going forward, we plan to keep an eye on the daily forecast, so that we can take necessary precautions. Anything is possible here in New England.  So if a larger snowstorm is headed your way, be sure to bring your pansies indoors.

Happy gardening! 🙂