Tips for Keeping Annuals Alive During Cold Spell

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COLUMBIA - The return of winter-like weather in the middle of April could cause problems for some mid-Missouri gardeners.

Giving Gardens, a nursery operated by Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprises, plants, grows, and sells thousands of annuals each year. Greenhouse supervisor Carol Gasperson offered some tips Monday for at-home gardeners on making sure their plants survive this brief cold spell.

  • Bring any outside potted plants, inside to a garage or screen room or cover with empty pot turned upside down.
  • For annuals already in the ground, cover with plastic sheeting to avoid frost damage. Do not try to transplant back into pot.
  • Perennials should be able to handle lower temps and frost just fine.
  • Avoid planting annuals until May.

"I would say tonight, especially with the perception, it could be damaging this evening," Gasperson said.

She said the warmer weather last week brought a healthy number of gardeners looking to buy plants for the coming growing season. However, she cautioned them it may be too early in the year.

"Our last possible frost date they say is May 10 which is about Mother's Day," Gasperson said. "So most people think Mother's Day is the day to start planting and really get busy on your gardening."

Growing Gardens began its annual sales April 1 and will remain open through the fall.