Zone DefianceMost of our common succulent varieties are recommended for zones 10 and above. Since we are at zone 9b (Eureka, CA) we need to plan carefully for the winter months.
Last winter was a particularly bad winter, we had 8 or more subfreezing days (29* or below) at my home in Cutten, just outside of Eureka I had 6 days in a row that were below 29*, my low was 18*. Some areas behind my house didn't defrost for days. Even with all that I lost very few plants.
This winter, looks like it will be mild according to many weather forecasters, but you should still be ready to protect your plants in case of frost.
Here is some of the things you should do to plan for frosty days:
Placement is everything!!! Try to get the sun on your plants as early in the morning as possible. I recommend east or south exposure. Look for things that might shade your plants in the winter. North exposures are the worst in the winter!
I have a low fence that shades some parts of my garden when the sun is at a low angle. I move plants out of these areas that are sensitive for the winter or plan on replacing them in case of extreme frost conditions.
Do you see the frost line? This was a pretty frosty morning! Are you convinced yet? Keep in mind we are just one zone below the recommended zone for planting. In lower zones you would have to supplement heat with soil cables, incandescent Christmas lights or move the plants inside a greenhouse, or even a basement with lights.
My suggestion for frost cloth is that you should cover every night we are forecast to be 36* or below, this will help you get in the habit and then you will not be out there at 11:30 at night covering because the weatherman got it wrong.
I have frost cloth also known as row cover, so just give me a call. I have plenty, it is $0.50 a foot for a 6 width.
Please let me know if you have any thing to add. What have you had succeeded with to prevent frost damage? What did't work for you?