Garden & Outdoor

How to Protect Plants from Frost

how to protect plants from frost

Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your plants during the Wintertime. Inconvenient and damaging, frost can manifest in different ways – including causing once-healthy plants to develop brown patches, scorched leaves and limp foliage. So, what proactive measures can you take to protect your garden in the Winter?  

To help you out, we’ve put together this simple guide to show you how to protect plants from frost, once and for all.  


What is frost and why does it occur?  

Frost is a thin layer of ice on a solid surface. It occurs when water vapour in the air forms a dew, which then reaches freezing point. The ice crystals that form on the plants can injure and sometimes even kill tender plants. 

Once you spot cold damage, all you can do is remove the affected leaves or flowers before the damage spreads. If the damage does spread, the plant will not survive.  

Our guide will help you understand how to protect plants from frost, so that yours stay healthy all year round. 


How to protect plants from frost

Bring potted plants inside 

A quick and easy way to protect plants from frost is by moving potted plants indoors. You can do this just for the night, or for a few days, during frosty conditions.  

Ensure your plants are still getting their required amount of sun if you plan on keeping them indoors during the daytime. If containers are too large to move indoors, try raising the pots by resting them on pot feet or bricks. This will allow any water to drain away more easily, therefore preventing your plants from sitting in icy water. 

Plant covers for frost 

Another option is to cover your outdoor beds and individual plants. With a variety of plant covers available, this can be achieved in several ways.  

You can use horticultural fleece to provide a protective layer. Just remember to weigh down the corners to prevent the covering from blowing away. Another option is to use cloches. A cloche, also known as a bell jar, is a rounded glass with no bottom that you can place over small plants and seedlings for frost protection.    

Use mulch to protect roots  

There are two types of mulch that you can use for plant frost protection – organic mulch and mulch sheets. 

Organic mulch can consist of a mix of wood chippings, garden compost, manure and much more. It helps to protect plants from Spring frosts by acting as a layer of insulation – but is only suitable for more robust plants. 

Additionally, a mulch sheet will also help to prevent frost. Its dark colour will help to stop the growth of weeds amongst your mulch by blocking out the sunlight. As mulch absorbs a significant amount of water, the air humidity above it will rise, creating another layer of insulation for your plants and providing an excellent anti-freeze effect. 

Check out our guide to mulching here

Move plants into a cold frame 

Almost like a miniature greenhouse, cold frames are another great solution. Ideal if you don’t have the space for a full-sized greenhouse structure, they protect delicate plants from extreme weather, frost and insects. 

On warmer days, ensure any tender plants placed in the cold frame have access to good ventilation by propping the hood open. 

Water plants in the morning 

While it may seem counterintuitive to water your plants when trying to prevent frost, it can actually help to support any protective measures you’ve taken. 

On cold winter days when frost is expected, water your plants in the morning. Unlike dry soil, wet soil is able to absorb heat during the day and provides an insulating effect to reduce damage. 

Read our top tips for watering your plants here. 

And that’s it! That’s how to protect plants from frost. Don’t forget to share your favourite garden ideas with us on Instagram @Homebase_UK and check out our other Garden & Outdoor ideas here. 



Writer and expert