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
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.
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.