Perennials And Very Cold Winter Temperatures

We are really seeing our perennial game put to the test this winter here in the Interior!

This is honestly what makes the perennial game in the Interior of Alaska so darn difficult. Believe it or not, we’ve got it “lucky” with a mere 40 below zero lows overnight! Some of our neighbors are reporting temps into the mid-50’s below zero.

I am expecting that we might see a different survival profile with our perennials than we usually do this spring. We flirt with the 3a/2b line a lot in our perennial plantings, so it’s really a roll of the dice when temperatures hit the line between the two. Even some of those super hardy plants can have difficulties when temps dive this low.

If you’re new-ish to northern growing, these super cold temperature dives are a good time to learn what zone you are actually in. While the USDA maps are great and all, there’s a ton of micro-climate influence and other factors that can make the difference, especially if you’re “right on the line” between zones like we are. Nothing beats personal experience!

If you’re fretting about your plants out there, do know that the snow load can make a significant difference in survival. The several feet of snow we have received thus far is providing a good insulative layer for those plants. This story is immeasurably worse when we get early season cold and don’t yet have the snow covering the ground!

Also, perennials that have several years of growth behind them will generally fare better than newly-planted ones. This is one of the main reasons we stagger our perennial plantings over years, so all of our eggs aren’t in one basket. (Or, season as it were!)

Stay warm, everyone!

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