Growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. With a wiener dog.

November 30, 2015

Preparing your garden for the cold weather in Phoenix, Arizona

It's the end of November and I'm already thinking about the cold here in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Yes, I know that it sounds like a joke, as the daytime temperatures will still be warm enough all winter to play golf, but it can get mighty chilly in the early morning hours for your plants, so it's good to give it a little thought.

Unlike places like Hawaii, or San Diego, Phoenix gets much hotter, and much colder. The desert at night can be a bitterly cold place! No, it doesn't snow here, and but it does get below freezing, and if you have tropical plants, like I do, it's good to be aware. Here are some suggestions:

• Get an clock that has shows indoor/outdoor temperatures. As you can see, yesterday at 7:30 am, while it was a comfortable 74 degrees in the house, it had already gotten down to 38 outside. So it won't be very long until the overnight temperatures get to freezing.

• Check the forecast. I have here on my computer, and on my iPad, and on my phone. Now, don't panic just because it might get to close to 32. Going out and covering your plants when the low will only be about 40 is just a waste of time. So, really, you can pretty much relax until January.

• In January, pay attention, and keep frost cloths handy. Here in Glendale, it can get into the 20s, and even into the teens, during a particularly hard cold snap. It may only last few a few hours, and then when the sun comes out, everyone is out there golfing, but you may have had some severe damage to your plants if you forgot to...

• Put out frost clothes if the overnight temperature is below freezing. Ordinary old bed sheets are fine, just never use plastic. Drape them loosely over your frost-sensitive plants at sundown, and take them off when the sun hits them again.

The way to find out how frost-sensitive your plants are is to check their "hardiness". It usually says that on the plant tag, and you can Google it, too. Certain plants are more tender when they're young, and will "outgrow" frost tenderness, but it's better to be safe than sorry. It looks like it will be a mild winter, but you never know! I'm gonna keep my eyes on the overnight lows.
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