Saturday, December 24, 2011

Frost protection can be beautiful

The Thursday night weather forecast called for a low of 25°F—the lowest temperature of the season thus far. While all of our outdoor succulents are hardy to 28°F, some start to get damaged at 25°. Three degrees make a big difference for some plants, including our large Agave desmettiana ‘Variegeta’ which got damaged two winters ago at 26°F when I accidentally left it unprotected.

On Thursday afternoon, we draped incandescent holiday lights over our succulent bed, including a net like this one, and then added frost blankets. To make sure the blankets stayed in place, we weighted them down with rocks and other objects (like the saucer in the photo below).

When the lights came on in the evening, I was surprised by how festive the lights looked, creating interesting shadows under the blankets.

111222_fy_succ_bed_night
 
111222_frost_net
 
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I had run out of frost blankets to cover my prized cow-horn agave (Agave bovicornuta) so I moved it up against the house and draped lights over it. Doesn’t it look like the succulent version of a Christmas tree?

111222_agave_bovicornua_with_lights
 

A temperature check on Friday morning revealed that the nighttime low had “only” been 28°F—whew! I’m leaving the frost blankets and lights up until after the holidays in case Santa decides to send another cold front our way. That way I’ll be prepared and won’t have to scramble. After all, Christmas is supposed to be peaceful and relaxed!

2 comments:

  1. Pretty! Do you ever get burns on the succulents from the lights?

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  2. Not in previous years. The net really helps because it keeps most of the lights away from the plants. I'll report back when I remove the lights early next week. Our cold spell should be over by then.

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