We're expecting a frost tonight here in Coastal NC. Do I need to cover my azaleas? They are in full bloom. I assume I do so will a sheet of plastic work or is there something better?
The early blooming rhododendrons and azaleas here took temps of 32 with visible frost, no covering, without missing a beat last week....but our weather has been cool enough that only a few are blooming.
How cold are they predicting? Plastic, old tablecloths, beach towels (you don't want these heavy with wet snow) and maybe best - lightweight poly-spun landscape fabric, are thought to give emergency protection to 27F. Anything colder and you could still lose early flowers
Most flowers on shrubs will tolerate a light frost since usually only things near the ground get down to freezing. However, a heavy frost will kill all the flowers. Covering the flowers is your only insurance to protect them. If you use anything that is not white, take it off before the sun hits it. Otherwise you will cook your plants. People who do this regularly like to use old white cloth bed sheets.
Here in the north Atlanta area, several of my azaleas in full bloom lost it all last night after surviving under covered Friday night. Several had buds that were within a day of opening into flowers and those are gone too. Of course the tightly budded ones are ok, but it was a shame to lose those flowers!
Here is the one that was in full bloom before the frost:
I meant to say "after surviving without being covered Friday night".
We are having the coldest weather in 15 yrs and it is 1F. Do azaleas pansies need covers?