Freezing Temperatures & Frost Damaged Bulb Foliage

Snow on Foliage

Snow on Foliage

A customer wrote in with the following concern about freezing temperatures:

“7 February 2011

Last year I purchased some crinums from you – Ellen Bosanquet – and they are doing quite well.¬† However, although I covered them with¬† thick floating row coverduring this recent ice storm some of the foliage on several bulbs have serious frost damage. What can I do to repair the damage? And, will the frost damage affect the bloom period this year? Thanks!” – Nancy in Austin, TX

My response:
“Hello Nancy,

Thanks for writing in and asking about the health of your crinums.

Your crinums are fine and should bloom very well for you this coming spring, even though the initial foliage was severely damaged. Crinum foliage shows in winter and is supposed to die down initially from freezing temperatures. I say “supposed to” because the dead foliage acts as a blanket protecting the bulb as it lays down over it (like wood chips might do). Come spring time, the protected crinum will burst forth with robust foliage and bloom, with the former dead foliage serving now as mulch.

Thanks again for writing, and let me know if I can help in any other way.

Best regards,

Snow Covered Foliage

Snow Covered Foliage

For regions north of Dallas/Fort-Worth and horticultural zone 7, gardeners should bring bulbs inside during severe freezing temperatures (the bulb can actually freeze along with the ground/potted soil and die.) For example, gardeners in northern Arkansas should bring their bulbs in from the elements.

What may hurt a little can actually be helpful; and, this is certainly true of freezing crinum foliage at this time of the year in zones 7-10. Thanks, Nancy, for your question.

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This post was written by who has written 46 posts on Bulb Hunter Blog.

Michael Hardy is Operations Manager for the Southern Bulb Co. and has just about seen and heard it all while interacting with customers. Enjoy his educational responses and refer to for more info or contact him at

6 Responses to “Freezing Temperatures & Frost Damaged Bulb Foliage”

  1. Linda February 10, 11 at 1:37 PM #

    Michael, I live in the Dallas area and was wondering about all of my daffodils and tulips that were starting to come up before our bad weather. My main concern is that they were covered in ice and snow for 4 days. Will that affect their spring blooming?

    Thanks so much!

  2. Michael February 11, 11 at 2:34 PM #

    Linda – Your daffodils and tulips should be fine and bloom for you this spring (although the foliage was covered in ice and snow for 4 days). The most important thing is that the daffodils and tulips were not budding or in bloom when the freezing weather came and sat down on Dallas/Fort Worth. Damaged foliage can recover from freezing those temperatures, but a bud/blossom cannot. So, expect healthy daffodil and tulip blooms this spring!

    Thanks for asking, and let us know how they perform.

  3. Janet February 24, 11 at 8:06 PM #

    Michael-I live in the Southern California/Ventura County and just planted some bulbs. I was wondering if the frost will affect them if they are under ground. Should I cover the dirt? Also, come of the bulbs have already started to grow. If the green part dies because of the frost, will the bulb still produce a flower? I also planted some Pansies and Daffodils will they die if there totally exposed to frost?


  4. Michael February 25, 11 at 8:11 AM #

    Janet- Frost will not affect bulbs underground. Only a deep freeze of the soil would affect underground bulbs. A moderate frost should not keep the bulbs showing foliage from blooming the same year. A hard freeze on the other hand, would probably keep the bulb from blooming the same year, but you could expect a bloom the following year. Frost should not cause pansies or daffodils to die, only a hard freeze would.

    Thanks for writing,

  5. Susie March 24, 12 at 8:32 PM #

    My daffodils are almost blooming and we are supposed to have 20F in the morning for two days. Should I cover them with something? Also, my Globe Master flowering garlic are about 12 inches up….do I cover them too when the 20’s hit at night? Thank you so much for your answer. Susie

  6. Bulb Hunter March 21, 13 at 9:00 PM #

    Well Susie…this is an embarrassingly late response. Your comment slipped into some “unapproved comments” section, but this was a real question!

    I hope you covered them. Blooms are extremely sensitive to frost. The foliage will generally be OK, but if you have something in bud or in bloom, cover it or it will be lost. All is usually well as long as that bud is blow the ground before the frost comes.

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