Quick ways to protect plants from frost

Quick ways to protect plants from frost

Keep tender and young plants protected from chilly winter temperatures with these tips.

Some of the plants we grow can be damaged by frost, or require some winter shelter when young. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so remember to check the weather forecasts for frost alerts and take steps to protect your favourite flowers and crops.

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There are many quick ways to protect your plants from frost, and you can enhance the protection you provide your plants with by insulating greenhouses and cold frames. You can use a cloche to protect seedlings, or provide other tender plants with a fleece or hessian wrapping.

More winter gardening content:

Discover some of the quick ways to protect your plants over winter, below.


Use a cold frame

Young plants protected within a cold frame
Young plants protected within a cold frame

Young hardy plants, including autumn-sown hardy annuals, hardy shrub cuttings and seed-raised perennials, will benefit from the shelter of a cold frame over winter. Open the lid on warm days to prevent overheating and deter fungal diseases.


Cover with cloches

Parsley protected with a cloche
Parsley protected with a cloche

Giving winter crops protection from the worst frost and wind can make all the difference to their survival, and may even allow small harvests. Use cloches to protect broad beans, curley parsley, hardy lettuces, peas, salad leaves, spinach and Swiss chard.


Bring plants inside

Frost-free greenhouse with potted pelargoniums
Frost-free greenhouse with potted pelargoniums

A frost-free greenhouse is invaluable for wide range of plants. Insulate it with bubble wrap to retain heat and bring in abutilons, aeoniums, agapanthus, citrus, echeverias, fuchsias, pelargoniums and salvias. Conservatories and porches can also be used.


Lift and store

Dahlia tubers ready to be stored over winter
Dahlia tubers ready to be stored over winter

Tender perennials that have spent the summer in borders can be lifted as soon as frost has checked their growth. Store the roots in a cool but frost-free place. Do this for cannas, ginger lilies, chocolate cosmos, dahlias, gladioli and tuberous begonias.


Tender palms

Mexican blue palm, Brahea armata
Mexican blue palm, Brahea armata

Protect palms by tying in the leaves to protect the growing point. In cold regions this can be loosely packed with straw for extra insulation.


Create protective tents

Protecting a potted olive over winter
Protecting a potted olive over winter

Push bamboo canes into the ground around the plant to be protected, and cover with horticultural fleece or bubblewrap to create a protective tent. Use string to secure it to the canes. For potted plants, wrap the pot with bubblewrap, then drape horticultural fleece over the top, and secure with string.


Protecting bananas

Banana plants protected over winter
Banana plants protected over winter
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Protect the stems of banana plants with straw or bark, packed loosely into a sleeve of chicken wire placed around the plant. Cover the top with polythene in wet weather to keep the straw dry.