Help! frozen containers

Jeane09January 23, 2013

Hi, I'm new to container gardening (and this forum) I just moved into an apartment and brought a lot of plants over from my old garden, repotted. I watered everything a few days ago, then it got very cold and the pots all frozen solid. They now look very dry and some are wilting. The soil on top is starting to thaw but if I put my finger in, it's still frozen solid just an inch down.

Should I water them with room-temp water? or bring them inside to thaw out? or just leave them alone until the weather itself warms up?

The plants in question are: rosemary, thyme, lavender, sage, echinacea, parsley, garlic, perpetual green onions, marjoram, mums, hibiscus, mint and mimosa. Thank you for any help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Green Jean

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The most significant danger doesn't come from the fact the soil froze solid, but from how low the soil temperature got - if it reached killing lows for the individual plants.

There's plenty of water in the soil, but it could be locked up in the form of ice. More water won't help, so just try to protect them from freezing temps so the soil can thaw and water becomes available.

Best luck!


    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Thanks. I've brought them all inside until the below-freezing temps go away.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 7:56PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Not inside inside - like in the house, I hope? You want to put them somewhere above freezing but where the temp doesn't go above about 42*. If they get warm, they'll start to grow and lose most of their ability to resist freezing temps - THEN you have an additional serious issue to contend with.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:53PM
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O dear. I don't have any other options- it's either the balcony, or my kitchen (coolest room).I just have a small apartment- no garage or unheated rooms. Perhaps I should insulate them somehow and put back outside? I've heard of people wrapping pots in bubble wrap?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 11:21PM
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Will one night at 65 break dormancy? I think I could find some boxes, put the pots in those and stuff with crumpled newspapers or leaves, put back outside. Will that work, do you think?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 11:53PM
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I don't know what your situation is as of today, but I'll try to respond to your posting. I have some questions first of course ;-)

Are you in a different growing zone than the place you lived before the move to your apartment? It looks like Virginia has different growing zones, which one are you in now?

Winter temps can vary so wildly each year. Tender plants, like your herbs, probably won't survive freezing.

I believe that of the 400 varieties, mimosa is a more tropical plant and don't do well below certain temps.

Of the plants you have listed, echinacea and (some varieties of) hibiscus can tolerate colder weather.

If you have lost your plants this time, please don't give up on container gardening just yet! You may need to simply start over in the spring with fresh plants and proper draining container medium.

Do a little more research on growing in containers, then come back with more questions and a list specific plants that you wish to grow.

Here is a link that might be useful: hardiness zone map

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 4:06PM
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