How to Protect Your Early Blooming Plants from a Late Freeze
Rich Brooks wrote and asked:
"What can do to protect daffodils from freezing? Our winter has been mild here in Pittsburgh, Pa. The forcast for the next few days is for freezing weather. Many of the daffodils have formed heads. Do you have any advice?"
Most daffodils are pretty hardy and will tolerate a certain amount of frost and freezing. There are a few exceptions to the rule, however, such as the Paper White Narcissus, which is only hardy in zones 8-11
If your buds are already showing any color, you might want to pick them and bring them into the house where they will open up. Daffodils should always be snapped off, never cut or snipped!
If you expect snow with the freeze, you have much less to worry about because the snow will act as an insulator. Adding a mulch of dry leaves can be helpful if the temperature is going to drop much below 20 degrees or the freeze is expected to continue for an extended period of time.
My daffodils have been up and in bloom for 10 days now, and we've had freezing night temperatures for 5 of the 10 days with no ill affects. If you have a variety of Daffodil that you know is frost tender, you can create a little tent for them using stakes and sheet plastic during the freeze. Keep in mind that if the sun shines and it warms up, you will have created a sealed oven.
Be sure to remove or open the plastic tent when the temperature rises!