Rob's plants
home garden plants wildlife seed photos
plant sale journal topics plantlinks fun guestbook

Freeze Fate - February 2021

 

Just how tender is tender?

In my five years of gardening in Houston's gulf coast climate, our garden has endured two significant freezing episodes. In January 2018, the temperature dipped to about 15°F for a few hours, with freezing rain to compound the damage. Then in February 2021, winter storm Uri swept through the state and produced temperatures as low as 12°F, this time lasting for a good five days. The freeze of 2018 was noted at the time as the most severe one in recent times, while Uri produced conditions not seen around here in over a century. In most other winters, freezes are much milder, with temperatures not dipping below the mid-twenties and lows only held for a few hours overnight.

Since most Houston-area gardens are decked out in plants native to subtropical and tropical climates, those severe freezes can inflict some serious damage. Following the 2018 freeze, I kept track of which plants made it through (using the icon on my plant portrait pages), and in the aftermath of the 2021 event, I noted both which plants did and didn't make it. Lists of these plants organized by whether they survived one or both of the freezes are on the page below. Hopefully they can help fellow and future gulf coast gardeners curious about pushing hardiness zones in our climate.

For the most part, I didn't mark up plant species that I would expect to be fully hardy even in these freezes – that typically means those with lower hardiness zone ratings of 7 or below), although you'll find a few exceptions in the lists below. Note that I count a plant as having survived a freeze if at least one of the plants in my garden survived; seedlings popping up after the freeze don't count, but regrowth from the roots after all of the top growth was killed does. For example, all above-ground parts of our lemon eucalyptus, a 30-foot-tall tree, were killed in the 2021 freeze, but new growth came back near the trunk a couple months later. I wouldn't call the tree hardy (most gardeners wouldn't want to lose their tree every few years, even if it eventually grows back), yet for the purposes of this page, it's in the survivor list. For many plants, you can find more information about how it fared in the freezes on the portrait page; if no information is provided, chances are the plant sailed through the freeze without much trouble.

The lists below are sorted in order of botanical name. Click on the plant's name to go to page for that plant. Plant portraits (where I have photos on the page) are indicated with the symbol.


Plants that survived 2018 but not 2021

Botanical name Common name Life cycle/hardiness
Citrus reticulata 'Owari' and 'Okitsu-Wase' satsumatree (Z8-11)
Citrus x aurantiifolia Key lime; mexican limetree (Z10)
Cycas revoluta sago palmevergreen shrub/tree (Z9-10)
Olea europaea 'Arbequina' olivetree (Z8-10)
Salvia 'Wendy's Wish' ornamental sagetender perennial (Z9-11)
Tecoma stans 'Sparklette' esperanza; yellow bellsshrub (Z9-11)

All other plants that did not survive 2021

Botanical name Common name Life cycle/hardiness
Cassia nemophila desert cassiashrub (Z7)
Clappertonia ficifolia bolo bolotender shrub (Z9-11)
Conradina canescens wild rosemary; scrub mintshrub (Z7b-10)
Dalea greggii trailing indigo bush, Gregg's prairie cloverperennial
Euphorbia pulcherrima poinsettiatender perennial/shrub (Z9-11)
Hibiscus boryanus Chinese hibiscusshrub (Z9b-11)
Nashia inaguensis moujean tea; Bahama berryshrub (Z9-11)
Turnera ulmifolia yellow buttercup; yellow alder; sage rosetender perennial/shrub (Z9-11)

Plants that survived 2021

Botanical name Common name Life cycle/hardiness
Acacia farnesiana huisache; sweet acaciatree (Z9-11)
Agapanthus africanus lily of the Nileperennial (Z8-11)
Aloysia virgata almond verbenashrub (Z8-11)
Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' variegated shell gingertender perennial (Z8-11)
Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii flame acanthus,hummingbird bush, Wright’s desert honeysuckleshrub (Z7-10)
Aristolochia fimbriata white-veined pipevineperennial (Z7-9)
Aristolochia watsonii Watson's pipevineperennial (Z8)
Bauhinia lunarioides Anacacho orchidtree (Z8-11)
Bergeranthus jamesii perennial (Z7)
Calliandra emarginata dwarf red powderpuffshrub (Z9-11)
Callistemon salignus willow bottle brushshrub/tree (Z7-11)
Cestrum aurantiacum yellow cestrum; orange cestrumperennial/shrub (Z8b-11)
Chlorophytum saundersiae shooting star lilyperennial (Z8-10)
Citrus limon lemontree (Z9-10)
Combretum indicum Rangoon creeper; Chinese honeysucklewoody vine (Z9-11)
Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' firecracker planttender perennial (Z8-11)
Curcuma elata hidden cone gingerperennial (Z7b-11)
Diospyros texana Texas persimmon; black persimmontree (Z8b-11)
Duranta erecta golden dewdrop, pigeonberryshrub (Z9-11)
Dyckia sp. perennial
Dyschoriste linearis snake herbperennial (Z7-10)
Ebenopsis ebano Texas ebonytree (Z9-10)
Erythrina crista-galli coral beanshrub/tree (Z9-11)
Eucalyptus cinerea silver dollar eucalyptus; argyle appletree (Z8-11)
Freesia laxa 'Joan Evans' perennial (Z8-10)
Galphimia glauca thryallisshrub (Z8-10)
Gloriosa superba gloriosa lily; glory lilyperennial (Z8b-10)
Gomphrena decumbens 'Little Grapes' globe amaranth; airy bachelor's buttonsperennial (Z8b-11)
Gynura bicolor Okinawan spinachperennial (Z8-10)
Haworthia fasciata zebra plantperennial (Z9b-10)
Hedychium 'Vi' ginger lilyperennial (Z8-11)
Hippeastrum hybrids amaryllisperennial
Iochroma cyaneum blue trumpet flowershrub (Z9-11)
Ixora coccinea flame of the woodsshrub (Z9-11)
Jasminum nitidum star jasmine; confederate jasmineshrub (Z10-11)
Jasminum sambac 'Maid of Orleans' Arabian jasminevine/shrub (Z9-11)
Justicia brandegeeana shrimp planttender perennial (Z8-11)
Justicia spicigera firecracker plant, Mexican honeysuckletender shrub (Z8-11)
Kalanchoe tetraphylla paddle plant, flapjacksperennial (Z10-12)
Lantana montevidensis trailing lantanaperennial (Z8-11)
Ledebouria 'Gary Hammer' false squillperennial (Z7-10)
Lespedeza liukiuensis 'Little Volcano' bush clovershrub (Z6-9)
Manettia cordifolia 'John Elsley' firecracker vineperennial (Z7b-10)
Manihot grahamii hardy tapioca treeshrub/small tree (Z7-11)
Odontonema strictum firespikeshrub (Z9-11)
Osmanthus fragrans f. aurantiacus 'Apricot Echo' sweet oliveshrub (Z7b-9)
Passiflora 'Victoria' passionflowerperennial (Z9-11)
Pelargonium 'Citrosum' citronella, mosquito plantperennial (Z9b-11)
Pennisetum species/cultivars fountain grassperennial
Punica granatum pomegranatetree/shrub (Z7b-11)
Rotheca myricoides blue butterflytender shrub (Z9-11)
Russelia equisetiformis scarlet firecracker plant; coral plantperennial (Z8-11)
Salvia 'Love and Wishes' ornamental sagetender perennial (Z9-11)
Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' ornamental sageperennial (Z8-10)
Salvia texana Texas sageperennial
Senecio mandraliscae blue chalk stickstender perennial (Z9-11)
Senna splendida showy senna; golden wondershrub/tree (Z9-11)
Serissa japonica 'Kowloon' tree of a thousand stars; snow-roseshrub (Z8-11)
Sophora secundiflora Texas mountain laureltree (Z7b-10)
Tecomaria capensis 'Sunset' cape honeysuckleshrub (Z8-11)
Thunbergia grandiflora blue sky vineperennial (Z8-11)
Tibouchina urvilleana princess flowertender perennial (Z8-12)
Viguiera stenoloba skeleton-leaf goldeneye; resinbushperennial
Vitex agnus-castus chaste treeshrub (Z6-10)


 

I welcome comments about my web pages; feel free to use the form below to leave feedback about this particular page. For the benefit of other visitors to these pages, I will list any relevant comments you leave, and if appropriate, I will update my page to correct mis-information. Faced with an ever-increasing onslaught of spam, I'm forced to discard any comments including html markups. Please submit your comment as plain text. If you have a comment about the website as a whole, please leave it in my guestbook. If you have a question that needs a personal response, please e-mail me.

Your name

Your comments

home garden plants wildlife seed plant sale topics guestbook journal plantlinks

Last modified: April 24, 2021
Contact me