Cold Temperatures Threaten Plant Life

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COLUMBIA - Uncharacteristically cold temperatures are causing some floral and plant businesses to change their typical routines.

Temperatures in the mid-30s and a potential frost during the next 48 hours threaten to stunt the growth of plants around the mid-Missouri area. Florists and nurseries wait until the warmer months to store their tropical and more delicate plants outside. However, the weather they are confronted with right now is unlike anything they've seen before.

"I've been doing this close to 35 years and I've never experienced anything like this," said Steven Sapp, owner of Strawberry Hills Farm. Sapp's farm is a nursery that's been selling flowers for decades.

The ideal method of protecting plants or flowers is to cover them during the night, shielding them from the cold until the warmer morning. Cardboard and cloth are the most common materials that florists and nursery owners recommended. They warned against using thinner materials such as plastic, because they will stick to plants during the night and transfer the cold or frost.

The unexpected mid-Missouri cold front is only expected to last until the end of the week. However, plant owners are advised to take careful precautions to ensure their plants remain healthy. Even one night of frost damage can be detrimental to a plant's growth for over a year.