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The first cold spells often come unexpectedly and depending on how low the temperatures fall, is often a frost damage to the potted plants on the balcony or terrace the result. If you have been surprised by the first drop and one of your potted plants has caught a crisp night frost and leaves the leaves hanging, this is usually no cause for panic. The frost first destroys the young, water-rich tissue of leaves and shoot tips. The woody part of the plant is more robust and until the roots freeze, it takes more than a cold night with at least -6 degrees Celsius.
Emergency measures in case of frost damage
Immediately bring plants with flabby leaves into the house and place them in a bright place for one to two weeks at an air temperature of 5 to 7 degrees Celsius. Pour sparingly and observe the response of the container plant precisely: All shoot tips, which do not rear themselves up, you should cut off before entering into the proper winter quarters - they are too damaged by the frost and would dry in the course of winter anyway anyway and die, On the other hand, you should first let the frozen leaves go and pick them up in winter quarters once they have dried completely.
Incidentally, potted plants from the Mediterranean region such as oleander, olive and various citrus species are usually more robust than expected. As long as the roots are protected from too low temperatures with good insulation, they endure several cold nights with a light frost.
Frost damage and frost damage: that's the difference
Not only during the main growing season in summer do potted plants need plenty of water - even in winter, the roots want to have a damp one. Therefore, thoroughly water your potted plants in frost-free periods. If there is already a lack of water, plants indicate this with drooping leaves. Here, one then quickly suspects a frost damage, although it is actually dryness. This so-called freeze-drying is caused by the fact that the plants lose water by transpiration, but by the frozen soil can not absorb new. Depending on the plant, freeze drying may occur even at low temperatures without frost. Citrus plants are particularly sensitive here.
A reed or coconut mat protects sensitive potted plants such as the Mediterranean viburnum (Viburnum tinus) from frost damage
In order to prevent frost damage and freeze-drying in potted plants, an additional thick sheathing made of jute, reed or coconut mats is helpful, especially with clay pots. In this way, on the one hand, the evaporation is reduced over the pot walls and on the other hand, the roots are preserved from extreme temperature fluctuations.