In San Antonio, the New Year frost of 2022 damaged many flowering plants

I didn’t expect major frost damage from New Year’s frosts, but I was surprised by the effect on some plants.

I used cyclamen for many years to provide a friendly color in the shady beds along the front walls of the house. The foliage of the cyclamen was not affected by the cold, and even the flowers escaped the injuries when they were covered with a layer of N-melt fabric.

Unfortunately, some San Antonio beds were not covered and the flowers froze. Both the surface and inner flower buds appear to have froze, and if this is the case, the bedding is already in bloom for the year. The extent of the damage will be one of the topics Jerry Parsons and I will be pursuing at the Gardening South Texas Radio Show this weekend to see if we can fine-tune how cold these beautiful, expensive winter flowering plants can withstand.

If you haven’t transferred the barrel grass to a heated structure, or you don’t cover the ones in the ground, you’re probably at least over-destroyed, but they could survive if they were moved to a more sheltered place now.

Kin Man Hui / Staff file photo

The powdery mildew is an unusual tropical plant that has become popular with gardeners around San Antonio who are interested in attracting pollinators to the landscape. The small, brightly colored flowers appear on a long, weeping stem in many colors. Red and purple are the most showy.

In addition to the unusual appearance of the flowers, Porter Weed appears to offer exceptionally strong nectar. It’s the only flowering plant I’ve ever seen where hummingbirds, butterflies and bees compete for nectar at the same time.

If there are white, fluffy growths on the stems and trunks of some of their fruit trees or shrubs, it is likely to be an infection with shield insects. Scaly insects suck moisture out of the plant. Control scale using resting oil. Sleeping oil is an organic control that strangles limescale.

Larkspur is an aggressive, flowering plant that takes root in flower beds. Some buttercup blooms are desirable to provide nectar to pollinators. But if left untreated, the sparrow will outgrow snapdragons and other desirable plants. Allow some sparrows to develop in the garden, but remove some to allow other plants to survive.

It remains effective for Cut Vine and Stump Killer when applied to hackberry, chinaberry and other invasive seedlings grown in shrub and planter beds. Even if the leaves are all fallen, the herbicide is effective.

You can still plant broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, beets, chard, kale, onions, English peas and other cooler plants in the garden for winter cultivation. Visit plantanswers.com for specific plant-specific instructions.


It is known as a cold-sensitive plant and its response to New Year’s frosts is in line with this expectation. If you haven’t moved the plants into a heated structure, or if you haven’t covered the plants in the soil, you’re probably at least over-destroyed, but they could survive if they were moved to a more sheltered place now.

Penta is one of the most showy, shade-tolerant flowering plants that has been reliably available in the last growing season. It is not as sensitive to cold as the Porter weed, but it is close and shows significant upper damage from frost.

If we want to keep the pentas alive for spring healing, we will protect the plants in containers in a greenhouse with a heat source, but the penta will be available again in nurseries next year.

Whopper begonia supplies were limited, but if you were lucky enough to get them, they performed on the all-star team of your flowering plants. Depending on where the devil is growing now, some are probably damaged by New Year’s frosts.

Rearrange the wolves to prevent further frost damage this winter. Place some in a heated greenhouse or porch and the rest in a sheltered place where they can be cut back and covered during future frosts. The protected begonia recovers quickly in the spring to provide color in the shade for another year.

Cinnamon is one of the most popular sources of nectar for butterflies, but the most popular large selection was hard to find last year. Many of us relied on smaller breeds in the absence of our favorites.

The cynics bloom in warm weather and have been severely affected by the recent frost. In case there is a shortage of cinnamon again this year, collect the seeds of the largest, most attractive flowers now in your garden. You can plant them in March.

To replace the zinnias, expect snapdragons, stocks, alyssum, pansies, petunias, and other annual plants to fill the space now available in cool weather. After a break due to recent frosts, they begin their spring flowering.

Calvin Finch is a retired Texas A&M gardener. calvinrfinch@gmail.com

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