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What are hardy plants? What does it mean?


What is a ‘hardy’ plant and what does it mean? An amusing story sprang to mind when ‘Sid’ enquired about the hardiness of a plant I uploaded see

In an effort to give a very general ‘across the board’ guide to the level of cold a plant can withstand plants may be classified in to several groups.
‘hardy’ = -15C
‘frost hardy’ = -5C
‘half hardy’ = 0C
‘frost tender’ = +5C This last item applies to plants which may be damaged below this temperature.

This is only a guide and there are thousands of exceptions. But gardeners can always grow plants to lower temperatures if their plant is well drained and the compost is kept ‘near-dry’ through the winter. Larger root balls and leaf removal also have a positive effect in enabling a plant to pull through colder climes and if you visit the ‘Gardening Guides’ section of my ‘Gardening World’ sub-site you will find a lot more useful information.

But ‘cold’ is a relative thing. . . . . . . .
A few years back I was talking about my garden to a group of Russian garden designers and landscapers when the question of cold hardiness came up. And to my embarrasment I can still recall talking of -15C etc etc and watching the grins spread before my audience. Talk about teaching grandma to suck eggs! I eventually cottoned on and we all had a good laugh about it.

The next day they showed me how householders remove the glass from their greenhouses each autumn because the cold will crack the glass. Then they took me to a famous garden where even the BRONZE STATUES where protected from the cold! LOL

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VERY interesting reading. Thanks :)

20 Mar, 2008


Hi Muddywellies, i hope to someday have the pleasure of gardening in a Mid-Latitude Marine climate, a number of the plants, shrubs and trees in my garden are Siberian, as in the North Temperate Zone the temperature range from summer to winter can be extreme. I have lived and gardened in a climate colder than that of Moscow but roughly on the same latitude as London...I was frustrated trying to find perennials that would thrive through a long severely cold winter with little snow cover to protect them. that is when I became interested in native plants. Frost penetration is sometimes as great as five feet and in one particular year the ground was frozen to a depth of 16 feet...frost like that can heave rail sleepers!
The survival of any vegetation under those conditions is almost miraculous...I know that there are some plants who produce their own anti-freezelike juices...On mudflats not far from where I lived a specie of lotus thrives in the semi-saline tide marshes, subject to the extemely short growing season of 9 to 12 weeks, but it manages to bloom and produce seed. There are spruce trees along the railway line that look like scrub to most observers but they are as aged as some of the oaks in England...They grow in acidic marshy soil, furred with lichen, and they are all of 10-15 ft tall. I have seen Caltha palustrus growing along a quickly running bog stream.(when what snow and ice there is melts, the runoff moves fairly quickly, otherwise it is a typical bog) when the water moves sufficiently quickly for the waterliving pupae, the black fly emerges. The Blackfly feed on blood and along with the everpresent mosquitoes can literally drive wildlife mad. I thought it was ironic that the one perennial I did find in the north that seemed to thrive was one which I have observed much farther South of where I found it not doing well at all, because the summer is too hot too quickly. It's a Delphinium! I have a post of it on my page.
that's a story too long to relate here...
I also grew the usual annuals from seed but the climate never becomes really warm... Irises managed to do well if I was conscientious in their care and protection...Root crops did well, but the soil was thin and acidic and needed masses of compost and amendments. Getting compost to cook and not go anaerobic was a trick I had to learn...It was the Min. of Agriculture Zone 2! treeline--sub

21 Mar, 2008


Lori, as a cold mortal, I simply would not survive in those conditions and temperatures. However, I am not surprised that some vegetation is able to live, Mother Nature is wonderful!

21 Mar, 2008


Lori, Nice story. I can readily recall walking to Machu-Pichu and discovering a lone Lupin beside the path at about 12,000ft!

A few years back, I watched 'TV expert' Gaye Search wrap up a Perovskia for the winter in a London front garden. I was practically in tears with laughter as she went on for some time laboriously wrapping it in hessian. I mean doesn't even the sound of the name tell them where it might originate from? This common Russian sage will regularly take minus 40C and returns every year. But it needs wrapping up in London! LOL

22 Mar, 2008


No gardeners like English gardeners Wellies! check out the delphinium'll love it. I think I blogged it..

23 Mar, 2008

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