Walter Reeves: When severe cold weather hits, how can you help your plants?

In order to have a beautiful landscape, gardeners must learn to deal with cold weather, both before and after it arrives. (Courtesy of Joey Ivansco)

Credit: Joey Ivansco

Credit: Joey Ivansco

In order to have a beautiful landscape, gardeners must learn to deal with cold weather, both before and after it arrives. (Courtesy of Joey Ivansco)

I have written about most aspects of protecting plants from cold in years past, and this week is the perfect time to revisit some of that advice. I have limited space to cover everything, so here are links to some of the most helpful articles I’ve written. If you want to read every article I’ve written about cold weather, all 490, go to walterreeves.com/?s=cold.

Best ways to protect plants from the cold: bit.ly/GAcoldprotect

Cold tolerance of vegetables: bit.ly/GAcoldveg

Will cold weather kill pest insects?: bit.ly/GAcoldpest

Protecting hydrangeas from the cold: bit.ly/GAcoldhydrangea

Predicting first frost: bit.ly/GAcoldfirstfrost

Predicting last frost: bit.ly/GAlastfrost

How to help pansies and ornamentals recover from the cold: bit.ly/GAcoldpansy

Cold damage — wait to determine: bit.ly/GAcoldwait

Cold weather covering — when to remove: bit.ly/GAremovecover

Shrub planting in winter: bit.ly/GAshrubwinter

What to expect after an unexpected freeze #1: bit.ly/GAfreezeone

What to expect after an unexpected freeze #2: bit.ly/GAfreezetwo

Q: My monstera plant doesn’t look so hot. The leaves are light green and two of its five leaves have turned yellow at the end. Cassidy Irwin, Salt Lake City

A: Like most things in life, the answer is complicated. The most common problems for houseplants, not just monstera, follow. When I was in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, I saw huge examples of houseplants that are sold in small pots here climbing tall trees there. The reason they were huge was they got the right amount of light. Therefore, the first thing to suspect is low light levels. Monstera is a tropical plant. It needs as much light as you can give it. Move yours to the sunniest window in the house, but pull it back so it doesn’t get cold.

Second is overwatering. Feel the soil with your finger every few days. If it feels dry, push your finger deeper. If it’s still dry, then it’s time to water. The whole root ball should be soaked. The best way to water it is to put the plant in a bucket and add enough water to cover the top of the pot. Let it sit for a few minutes, then let it drain in the sink. Your plant will get what it got when it grew in the tropics: a good soaking followed by a dry spell. If the soil seems hard and compacted, it might be better to start over and repot the monstera. That’s a conversation we can have later.

Email Walter at georgiagardener@yahoo.com. Listen to his occasional garden comments on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, walterreeves.com, or join his Facebook page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for his latest tips.

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