Cold Hardy and Frost Senstive Plants


“Chance of frost.” Weather forecasts in December often warn of frost danger. Average lowest temperatures of the year typically hit during December, making it the coldest month of the year.

Plants at the garden vary in cold hardiness, and you may see signs of frost damage, such as withered or dead leaves and blackened flowers or foliage, when temperatures dip below freezing. Damage increases as time below freezing lengthens. A stroll along the garden’s main path chronicles damage to frost tender plants such as Lantana and Red Bird of Paradise.

Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden: Frost Damage Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden: No Frost Damage

These colorful heat-loving favorites will be back as temperatures climb in the spring.

The most effective strategy
to avoid frost damage is to choose frost-tolerant plants and consider the plant's cold hardiness when placing it in the landscape. Like water, cold air flows downhill and collects in low spots. These low-lying microclimates are prone to frost. Microclimates can also offer protection. Block walls, patios, and overhanging eaves absorb or trap heat that will radiate back at night when temperatures drop. Placing plants in these sheltered areas reduces the chance of frost damage. You can see many examples of microclimates throughout the garden and find sturdy cold hardy plants that remain attractive even in the coldest of our desert winters.

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Deer Grass, hardy to 0 degrees, puts on a show fall through winter.

When plants are damaged by frost, pruning should be delayed until new foliage begins to emerge in the spring. Frost damaged foliage left on the plant can offer some protection against recurring freezing temperatures. You can learn about pruning desert plants by registering to attend a pruning workshop.

Visit the garden now and enjoy the Glorious Grasses.


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