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Garden already in bloom? What you need to know to keep your garden green ahead of winter blast

Bluebonnets
Bluebonnets

HOUSTON – The last several Winters have featured multiple freezes, sleet and snow. Just in the last two years, there have been a few winter morning commutes where overpasses were even closed during the commute due to icy roads. This winter has been quite different, and in comparison to the past few years, it has been fairly mild.

Official weather records for Houston are taken at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Freezing temperatures have only been recorded three times this season on Nov. 13, Dec. 18 and Dec. 19 of 2019. There has only been one winter night where a brief blast of sleet was reported in Southeast Texas, and sadly, it was gone before most even noticed it happened. Overall, temperatures have been mild and running above normal this winter. Thanks to the mild season, many plants are already budding or blooming across Houston. The early growth is now at risk for late-season cold.

Many associate the end of February with Rodeo, but weather enthusiasts in Space City associate it with the last chance for winter weather. Right on schedule, the forecast is calling for a winter blast this week for Rodeo Cook-Off. Temperatures are expected to fall between 29 to 32 degrees for several hours early Thursday morning. Although the freeze line stops at I-10, there are several spots that tend to run cold in Fort Bend County and Brazoria County that should watch out for freezing temperatures. Take extra caution close to Sugar Land and Angleton.

Thursday Morning Freeze
Thursday Morning Freeze

With cold weather in the forecast, now is the time to look at your garden. Did you plant tomatoes early? Do you have bluebonnets peeking out? It is time to protect your plants.

Here are some plants to protect Thursday morning:

  • Tomato Plants
    • Tomato plants are usually planted mid-February into March. The fruit is best grown between March and mid-May when average temperatures run between 60 and 85 degrees. Freezing temperatures can kill a tomato plant or stunt their growth.
  • Aloe Vera
    • Aloe Vera plants should be brought inside if possible.
  • Citrus
    • Cover citrus trees.
  • Tropical Plants
    • Bring in potted tropical plants like orchids.
  • Rhubarb
    • Rhubarb becomes toxic it the plant freezes.

It is smart to bring sensitive plants inside a garage or patio when freezing temperatures are expected. Trying to protect plants in the ground? Cover them with a sheet! Mulching your garden and yard will also protect your plants from the cold.

Wanting to plant and not worry about freezing temperatures? Primrose and Peony flowers are great options!


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