Colder Temperatures Mean Plant Precautions - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Colder Temperatures Mean Plant Precautions

Most poinsettias are still green, but in just a few weeks, a sea of red will fill the greenhouse at Coach's Cedar Creek Farm.

"The poinsettia crop is very, very vital to us," farm manager Danny Byrd says.

But with near freezing temperatures, farmers worry that the quality of their product could diminish as well.

"We don't get the right height, we don't get the right circumference around the plant, you have to get the right temperature in the houses in order for it to be a quality plant that our growers or our customers want to buy," Byrd says.

With over 13,000 poinsettias in this facility, taking care of these plants in the cold can be a full time job. But thanks to Hurricane Katrina, new technology and new facilities make that job a little easier. 

"After Katrina we thought it was the worst thing, but it was really the biggest blessing of our life. Now we have the greenhouses, we have been dreaming about having, and growing the type of plants we always wanted to grow," Byrd says.

Digital thermostats and special insulations are just two measures that some farms have adopted.

"The siding that we use works to a thermostat. We have it set to 78 degrees. When it rises above 78, on the thermostat, then the siding goes down to release the hot air. When it goes below, then it rises to trap the hot air," Byrd says.

But Byrd says you don't need technology to safeguard your plants from the cold.

"It's according to what you're growing. If you're growing bedding plants, you probably want to put something like plastic or something over them to keep them from the harsh, harsh cold," Byrd says.   

With just a few precautions, both professionals and back yard gardeners can ensure they'll be seeing red this holiday season.

Poinsettias are just one of the plant types that need extra care in the winter. Snap dragons and pansies are very sensitive to the cold as well. Byrd says, in addition to keeping your plants warm, make sure they have plenty of water to help them survive the colder months.

By Keli Rabon

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