Choosing Frost-Tolerant Plants For Southern California Winters

December 27, 2016.0 Likes
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Gardeners know that every plant has its strengths and its weaknesses. Some plants are better suited to winter chill than others. In fact, if you live in a part of Southern California that frequently sees frosty temperatures in wintertime, you may be better suited to grow certain plants, like blueberries and raspberries, than other places in the region. Here are some more evergreen and cold-hardy plants that do well in Southern California all year round:

    • Vine Hill Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora) – Cold hardy to 10 degrees Fahrenheit; flowers in wintertime
    • Sugarbush (Rhus ovata) – Cold hardy to 15 degrees Fahrenheit; evergreen
    • California Wild Lilac (Ceanothus subsp.) – Cold hardiness varies by species but often extends below 20 degrees Fahrenheit; many subspecies are evergreen
    • Tree Mallow (Lavatera maritima) – Cold hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit; evergreen, flowers year-round

Tips To Keep New Plants Safe In Wintertime

The allure of a beautiful new plant is hard to resist at any time of year, but outdoor plant care protocol is a bit different in wintertime than it is for the rest of the year. If temperatures drop below freezing where you live, it’s best to hold off on planting until temperatures rise.

arctostaphylos_densiflora_image2-copyThat doesn’t mean you can’t bring home new plants, though. Keep in mind that new plants have delicate roots, and an unestablished root system can fail if it’s exposed to too much cold. Try to place your new plants in a sunny area that gets some heat reflecting off of a wall or window. Insulate their roots within those plastic planting pots by heaping mulch around them above ground and using burlap, plastic ground cover or even a nice pile of sticks and leaves as further insulation.

Additionally, don’t forget to keep your winter plants watered according to an appropriate schedule based on their moisture needs. Moist soil can actually have an insulating effect, so if they don’t need to dry out, keep them moist. The combination of insulation and water should keep your little winter plants healthy and happy until it’s warm enough to stick them in the ground.

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