Here’s how to protect your spring flowers from freezing weather in Atlanta

With the National Weather Service predicting a chilly night throughout metro Atlanta, local gardeners will have to go into protection mode for their soon to bloom spring flowers.

Tonight’s forecast calls for a freeze watch with temps expected to dip into the low 30s from tonight until Wednesday morning, according to the Weather Service. Earlier Tuesday, the temperatures called for a freeze warning.

“A freeze warning means subfreezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely,” the National Weather Service said in the warning. “These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.”

Despite the inconvenience of the sudden winter weather, Atlanta horticulturists can take a number of steps to protect spring flowers, said Amanda Bennett, manager of display gardens at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Here are a few things to know about protecting your spring flowers from frost: 

Cover your plants - pronto.

Bennett suggests plants with new growth or fat flower buds be covered with sheets or blankets before sundown. Though some use plastic for protection, she votes against that due to it often being left on the buds too long after temperatures heat up.

Water plants before temperatures dip.

For potted plants and plants in flower beds, watering well before the freeze is a must, Bennett said. Just the right timing will ensure the flower bulbs will not lose water during the freeze.

Some plants can be saved by the mulch. 

Bennett suggests, for perennials or hardy tropicals just emerging, heavily mulch with leaves. Remove the “volcano” of leaves once the freeze danger has subsided.

Daffodils are just fine.

Daffodils are typically very adaptable, so there will be no need to cover those.

For more horticulture tips from Atlanta Botanical Garden, visit their blog.

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