The Q&A Archives: Protecting plants in winter

Question: I have some plumeria plants that are doing well and a a Hawaiian ti plant that is flourishing as well. (They are in pots.) What is the best way to protect them when it gets cold? We get down into 30's and lower in winter. Should I cover them at night? With what type of material? Would old sheets be okay?Several plants have died even though they were under a patio cover close to the house. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Answer: Since you've already had a bad experience with leaving your plumerias outdoors even under cover, I think the best advice is to take them indoors before outside temperatures drop to 40F. If that's not an option, consider building teepee's for your plants. This form of protection is good for single plants. When choosing construction materials, select canes 5 feet or more in length and a loosely woven fabric such as burlap to allow air circulation. Place your canes in the ground forming a square around the plant you intend to protect. Leave a foot of space between the plant and the canes. Draw the tops of the poles together at the top to and secure with twine to form the framework of your teepee. Wrap burlap or other loosely woven material around the canes, securing with twine or twist-ties. Leave the flap open on the protected side of the teepee, closing it only when the weather is severe. If extra protection is needed, wrap straw around the plant before securing the fabric in place.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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