All Things Gardening forum→What plants do you think are more cold hardy than they're thought to be?

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Austin, TX
Central Texas, zone 8b.
Region: Texas Tender Perennials Fruit Growers Frugal Gardener Container Gardener
Dewberry
Mar 20, 2021 1:04 PM CST
What plants do you think can handle a colder hardiness zone than they're listed for? Respond with any plant you have reason to think is hardier than we were aware, and zone you think it can handle.
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Mar 25, 2021 6:20 AM CST
Monstera deliciosa. Lasia spinosa. Thumbergia coccinea. Philodendron Jose Buono. Thaumatophyllum Xanadu. Many Costus gingers. Plumeria. I have these planted out in zone 9A where for the 3 winters preceding this last one we never had a hard freeze (which is actually unusual). This winter we had ONE (2 night dropped to 25). All these plants got damaged but survived. Costus will usually come back from the roots anyway.
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Mar 27, 2021 1:58 PM CST
Cannas so often show up north of their regular zones.

Spider plants and asparagus ferns are a huge nuisance if they jump out of the pot here.

The little succulents in my mini garden were not purchased with even a hope any would be hardy but that was in 2012 if I'm remembering right. It went so well I made another. There's about 8-10 kinds of plants still going in the first one, and mostly repeats of those same plants in the 2nd one.

Sooo many plants are only root-hardy where I am. I use some of them as herbaceous perennials. The usual style where I am is to have mostly evergreen shrubs but I am having fun even though my planted areas look really bare over winter.

It's hard to let the stems go in the fall though. I'm bringing too many sympathy copies of some of these inside. Ti plant (Cordyline fruticosa,) Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, various Tradescantias, Syngonium, snake plants (does not grow back quickly enough to be very satisfying,) various creeping Sedums, Brugmansia, elephant ears, devil's backbone (Euphorbia tithymaloides,) polka dot (Hypoestes), Swedish ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus) and P. argentatus. It seems normal to me, being from OH, where gardens spend time under snow.

Depending on the plant, it's not difficult to cheat 1 or more zones. The usual trick is to prevent the ground from freezing and getting too soggy while cold. Generally, the anecdotes about unusual survival include an element like being under a leaf pile, next to a structure or walkway/driveway, under an overhang, covered with a sheet or overturned pot...
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Mar 29, 2021 7:34 PM CST
Im in SE. NY, 6B. I have a hard enough time without breaking the rules, lol. I get lucky (or not) with some stuff here or there because my zone has an off weather season- rarely becasue the plant is tougher than advertised; - I need to shout out to snapdragons as a reliable overperformer.

They're a beautiful "annual." If you start them inside early enough they'll bloom in the spring, then come raging back and bloom again in the fall when the summer anuuals are starting to look ragged. About 30% of my snaps reliably survive the winter. Not great odds- but the fact I don't do anything to help them and they are universally sold as annuals - they shouldn't be there right now and that makes me 3x as happy to see them. Tickles me pink! and a 2 year old plant gets BIG early and bloom like crazy! They're way better the second year. I have a handful now that are as tall as my hyacinths in a nice 6-8" mound. I don't understand why they aren't everywhere in garden centers this time of year along side the pansies- that die in July and Never give me a second fall bloom or survive my winter.
As Tiffany mentioned, a little leaf coverage helps. I tend to clean up pretty well in the fall. By December I'm not messing around with mulching or digging up anything- the weather stinks its dark at 4pm, I just clear cut, blow every leaf and get back inside where its warm. Im sure If I made ANY effort to leaf mulch (They're too delicate for wood mulch) I'd do better than 30% survival.

One other thing, most people say hyacinths need to be deep enough that the bulb doesn't freeze- that is not so- you do not have do dig a 6" hole. I bought a bunch of 4" deep nursery pots last spring at a $1 sale and never transplanted them. One pot must have overturned because I found 2 bulbs completely out of the ground, sideways, blooming beautifully, as well as all the bulbs that stayed in pots on a concrete patio frozen to bricks, also doing great. We had at least one 10 day spell this winter where daytime highs never broke 25- and they couldn't be happier.

Freezing is really the problem with most plants (obvious tropicals like orchids or hot weather annuals like basil or tomatoes the exception) water expands and crystals are sharp- you get enough ice on the inside and it rips the cells membrane - you also get cold burn on the surface layers from condensing ice with a light frost, but that may only be a cosmetic burn, not effect the internal structure. Air temps below freezing for short periods are not an automatic death sentence. You've put an icecube tray in the freezer at 0 degrees and it still takes hours for it to become ice-
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Oct 1, 2021 9:04 AM CST
I thought there would be more replies to this by now.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.

wkevinc
Oct 2, 2021 10:38 AM CST
The whole brassica family is ridiculously cold hardy. Like I've seen them survive the entire winter and start vegging again in the spring in Zone 7a. The key was that winter it never got colder than about 20 degrees F (-7 C) for a prolonged period.
Name: Mikelzz
sarasota FL (Zone 10a)
Tropicals
zylvert
Oct 2, 2021 4:57 PM CST
I am in Sarasota FL.

here is a partial listing of what grows well here ... and of course there are others that push the limits

https://davesgarden.com/guides...
Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Peggy8b
Oct 2, 2021 7:11 PM CST
I found my spider plant to be cold hardy outside year round in Central TX. We average 2-3 nights a winter in the 20's (last year being a 100 year exception). All I did to my 21" potted spider plant outside each winter was throw a blanket over it and close the blanket over the pot with a sturdy clip anytime the forecast was for 40ยบ or lower. Last year's arctic blast did it in however. Pot was just too big to bring inside. I was saddened to lose my pampered spider with all its babies, but even that tough plant couldn't take single digits for a solid week outdoors last February.
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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Oct 3, 2021 6:04 AM CST
Hardy here too
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Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 3, 2021 9:56 AM CST
Spider plants, Lemon trees, Apricot Trees Peach Trees and some palms. There some of the more unusual ones for my climate. They have no problem with winter where I am.
[Last edited by AmberLeaf - Oct 3, 2021 9:58 AM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Tropicals
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purpleinopp
Oct 3, 2021 3:39 PM CST
If spider plant get going in the ground, it's nearly impossible to get rid of it. It forms an ever-increasing patch and the stolons connecting mama plants to daughters exists for a few yrs, and is a major tripping hazard. The roots are as big as carrots, much bigger than spiderwort. Also drops seeds.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Peggy8b
Oct 4, 2021 10:44 AM CST
My, @purpleinopp, I have never seen spider plants planted in the ground and have never tried it. Looks like I never WANT to try that (not that I have any ground space left in this yard to plant anything else). The master gradener that lived here before me planted every square foot of space that isn't front lawn, side yard beds (already bulging with plants) or full-on cement.
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When it gets cooler, I'm going to plant some Glory of the Snow bulbs I got recently between the liriopes along the frond edge of one of my front flower beds and that's it for this yard unless something dies. Just not many more planting spots. Any that arise via plant death will probably get more Turk's Cap planted. It's effortless to grow here and does draw hummers and flutterbys. Thinking about lining myt white-painted side yard fence. I won't see them there much, but passersby will. :)
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Tropicals
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purpleinopp
Oct 4, 2021 11:27 AM CST
Beautiful! I LOVE the paths!! What a peaceful setting, with plenty of shade relief. : ) To my eye, the path area looks mostly open with a lot of spaces where one could add cute little plants that don't need to bake in sun all day.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bluebonnets Irises Lilies
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Peggy8b
Oct 4, 2021 1:05 PM CST
Actually, that's an old photo. Since that photo was taken, I've put nearly 100 vinca starts in the center "island" bed surrounded by those paths we poured. I've since planted variegated pachysandra in the entry bed on the right (where the pot of blue flowers is). Also planted a Mock Orange, Cecile Brunner climbing rose I plan to train onto that fence and a potted Blue Moon rose in the corner of the side fenced bed (3rd photo). The Turk's Cap in front of the fence are 2 years older now & sprawling to the path edge, so no room there:

In the front yard, the huge liriope/nandina 'Firepower' bed, well that photo was taken AFTER the horrible freeze and 100% cutting down of those Giant Liriopes, that will fill that space when they reach their former, sprawling size. They have only regenerated half their typical size to date. Also since the freeze, I have planted irises in all the bare spots in that same bed. So I've pretty much filled all my planting spaces. Besides, there are 3 Crape Myrtle trees in that bed and their roots, although not visible, prevent me planting much more into that bed.

Only place in the yard I might be able to stick some small blooming plants would be around an abelia and 3 young Forsythia trees planted elevated up in a 20' cement planter the former owner built along the front driveway seen below. That is the only bare dirt I have left for planting. And quite honestly, nothing I've planted there, despite replenishing the soil some years back, has performed very well (other than the already present abelia). Lime may leeching out of the cement and cinder blocks she built it with discouraging some plants from doing well there.



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[Last edited by Peggy8b - Oct 4, 2021 2:12 PM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Tropicals
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purpleinopp
Oct 4, 2021 1:32 PM CST
Beautiful! I love the red blooms around the cobalt blue birdbath. ; )
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Oct 4, 2021 3:08 PM CST
A friend told me yesterday that Hooker's Sugar Palm is totally hardy here in Gainesville. I did not have a clue
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Mishapr
Oct 30, 2021 8:37 PM CST
Most of them are opposite, they are known that they can survive in cold, but when the cold comes, they die(
Name: DJ Thibado
Eagle Bay, New York (Zone 3b)
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adknative
Nov 13, 2021 12:44 PM CST
Crocosmia 'Lucifer' is listed for zone 5 and warmer. I have been growing it here in my zone 3 gardens for years, it survives the cold winters very well and flowers beautifully every summer. It not only 'survives' but actually THRIVES --- it has expanded its little patch every year.

I started with just a single plant (expecting I would lose it). I now have over two dozen. Not invasive, just happy.

Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Nov 13, 2021 2:07 PM CST
DJ, is it possible that its in a micro climate? Maybe up close to a brick wall on a south or western side, I have tried them in 4B with no luck.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Gary
Wyoming MN (Zone 4a)
hostasmore
Nov 13, 2021 2:42 PM CST
No luck here either.

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