Lachenalis freeze tolerance: I don't recommend this, but...

Jim McKenney
Wed, 15 Feb 2006 15:12:23 PST
I woke up yesterday morning at a bit before 6 A.M., suddenly and from a deep
sleep, remembering that I had left a tray of Lachenalia outside overnight.
For weeks I've been faithfully putting them outside during the day as soon
as the daytime temperature got above freezing, and then bringing them in at
night before the temperature dropped to the freezing point.

The temperature had dropped to the mid twenties F.  

I threw on some clothes and went out to retrieve the corpses. I touched the
leaves and they were frozen hard. The sweet strains of the avian aubade were
momentarily drowned out by some coarse vituperation. 

Back inside, I examined the plants: definitely frozen, with the dark, water
stained look of frozen foliage. 

I put them aside to see what they would look like when they thawed out. 

For the most part, they're still alive. There is some dead foliage, but only
one plant out of about a dozen seems to have lost all foliage. One of the
plants was in full bloom and the inflorescence showed no damage at all.

There were also two pots of seedling Nerine with them: these tiny things
amazingly show no damage at all. 

I need a better system.

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where all day we heard the
sounds associated with melting snow. 

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