should i water my potted plants before a freeze

Watering Before a Freeze

A cold snap can have a devastating effect on potted plants, particularly if the foliage is damaged by ice or snow. To prepare for potential frost, many gardeners wonder if they should water their potted plants before a freeze. The answer is yes, as there are several benefits to providing your potted plants with additional moisture ahead of an unexpected cold spell.

Increased Tolerance

When you water potted plants before a freeze, you give their root systems more moisture when the temperatures drop. This translates to increased cold tolerance, and can be the difference between life and death for many plants like succulents, herbs, and annuals that cannot withstand temperatures much below 45° Fahrenheit.

Non-toxic Protection

Unlike commercial frost-protection products, which can be toxic to both plants and people, water is safe and non-toxic. It doesn’t just help plants withstand cold weather, it can also be used to protect outdoor planters from excessive heat in warmer climates.

When To Water

Ideally, water your potted plants the day before a freeze is expected to hit, especially if soil conditions are dry. If the ground is already wet, wait until you experience the first freeze warning before watering your planters.

Other Ways to Protect Outdoor Plants

By watering your potted plants ahead of a cold snap, you can ensure they will be healthy and resilient when the temperatures drop. But, to get the best results, incorporate some of the following measures too:

  • Move containers indoors, or into a sheltered area of your garden.
  • Insulate planters with bubble wrap or plastic sheeting.
  • Cover foliage with blankets or old cloth to protect from frost.

With a bit of preparation, you can help your potted plants survive a cold weather blitz without any major damage. Just make sure you water them before temperatures drop to get the most out of your frost-protection measures.