How to Prepare Your Houston Landscape for a Freeze

72 one day, 27 the next - that's winter in Houston. Confused? So are your plants.

It is normal for Houston to have a few days with freezing temperatures each winter. A mild freeze is when the temperature is between 25 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit for less than twenty-four hours. A hard freeze is when the temperature dips below 25 degrees or the freeze lasts for multiple days.

The plants in Rusty Dog Gardens' collection are native to the region and cold-hardy. Popular landscaping plants like birds of paradise, elephant ear, and date palms are native to tropical regions and will die in a hard freeze and suffer damage if unprotected in a mild freeze.

Take these steps to prepare your yard before the temperature drops: 

✂ If your plants are flowering, cut off flowers at the base of their stem and enjoy them in a vase. Bring container gardens and potted plants inside if possible. 


💦 Water your plants deeply to keep the roots moist, warm, and happy during the freeze. The underground temperature will stay warmer than the air temperature. Deep watering gives your roots extra support. Use Microlife's Super Seaweed fertilizer for an extra boost of root protection.


🍂 MULCH. Ensure you have two to three inches of quality organic mulch around your plants. Use up that cardboard from online shopping as a base mulch layer! Mulch keeps the ground temperature warm and your plant roots happy. Watch my series on mulching.


Cover plants selectively. The native plants we sell are all freeze tolerant and will be fine if left uncovered during a mild freeze. Cover citrus plants, hibiscus, tropical plants, container gardens, and any seedling you planted in the past few months. The cover needs to go all the way to the ground to be effective.


Use the right material. Plastic covers are great if you expect rain or snow because they won't get soggy and freeze over your plants. Keep the plastic from touching any part of your plants by using stakes. Fabric covers are better at keeping the plant warm but are less useful in precipitation. Specialty frost cloths are available that insulate like cloth and stay dry like plastic. These cloths can be layered in a deep freeze.