Freeze versus Frost: Can I still plant in October?

By Christina Timm

Freeze versus Frost

People sometimes use the words freeze and frost interchangeably. However, even though they can occur at the same time, they represent two different changes. A freeze happens when any air temperature reaches 32 degrees or below, the freezing point of water. Plant cells are made up of water and when we reach a temperature at or below freezing this causes the plant cells to turn into ice, breaking open the cell walls and destroying the plant tissue. Most of the time this happens when the plant has already gone dormant. A frost happens when the air temperature reaches 32 degrees or below and there is a lot of water vapor in the air. All the water vapor turns to ice crystals creating a frost on the surface of the plant.

Can I still plant in October?

As we head into October and the temperatures continue to decrease you might be wondering if it is safe to plant perennials, shrubs, and trees. The answer: Sooner is better than later! Minnesota is at risk of frost/freeze on average early October. But we all know that mother nature can be very unpredictable, so sooner is always better than later. So far, we have only had one night in the freezing temperatures and for the most part our low temperatures look to be in the 40s for the coming week. With that said it is best to plant early in the fall so plants have enough time to establish and become winter hardy. However, there is still time to plant and take advantage of amazing end of the season sales.

How do I know if the freeze will affect my plants?

Every plant is different therefore whether the freeze actually damages your plants depends on many factors: plant species, shelter, how long the temperature stays below freezing, and how frequent it lasts. Houseplants and tropical plants are very susceptible to temperature change and we would recommend bringing those in the house if you haven’t already. There are some annuals that are hardier then others that will be able to withstand some very cold temperatures like Kale, Garden Mums, Pansies, and some foliage plants. Other annuals like Sweet Potato Vine, Coleus, and those with thin, delicate foliage show more visible signs of stress from the cold temperatures. To prolong your annuals’ life span you may bring them inside your home or garage, pull them close to the house, or cover them with a sheet for some shelter. Perennials, shrubs, and trees can handle the first couple of freezes and will go dormant before we start to see consistent low temperatures at or below freezing. They do not need to be covered if they are hardy for our Zone (4.)

There is Still Planting to be Had!!

Discover a new perennial grass that could add some texture to your garden! Keep reading.

Find out what we have left growing for you! Keep reading.


Growing Fall Color

By Christina Timm

Fall is a wonderful time of warm, rich colors. From perennials to shrubs to trees it isn’t hard to find a plant that provides the fall color everyone enjoys. Listed below are a few perennials, shrubs, and trees that can be planted and enjoyed for this fall season. All these plants are hardy to withstand Minnesota winters with the proper care and acclimation to your yard. With any new perennial, be sure to water thoroughly during its first year in your yard to ensure optimal root growth. Be sure to keep up on pruning and deadheading to inspire healthy foliage and new growth. Each plant is different, so be sure to talk to a garden center team member to ensure the best health of your plant. For help call 763-420-4400.


Minnesota Hardy Mum

We are offering 9 different varieties of Minnesota hardy mums. Thinking about adding a mum to your garden? Right now is the best time to plant mums. For the best quality mum be sure to plant 18-24 inches apart and provide a decent amount of sun. The mum is known for their mass of showy color for the fall season.


Perennial Rudbeckia

The perennial Rudbeckia can add a pop of gold in your garden. Also known as Black-Eyed Susan for its black centers and yellow petals, this plant blooms from mid-summer well into fall. The Rudbeckia is best planted in full sun to part sun and can be used as a back drop, providing height in your perennial garden.


Hardy Asters

Hardy Asters are wonderful additions by adding fall color with their sturdy structure. The bright pink bloom is a welcome contrast against yellows and oranges. The Aster thrives on the sun and achieves a max height of 15”. It is a very dependable fall plant and easy to grow.



Ninebark - ‘Lemon Candy’

This particular Ninebark is known for its bright chartreuse foliage that complements the warm colors of fall. This shrub matures into a compact, rounded shape providing symmetry. This sun-loving shrub is covered with white blooms in the summer and holds its bright green foliage from spring to fall.


Weigela - Tuxedo

The Weigela Tuxedo is known for its dark purple foliage contrasting well with fall golds and yellows. This compact shrub only reaches about 3’ in height and is great in a smaller area. This Weigela likes sun and is covered with white, bell-shaped flowers that stand out from its foliage.


Champlain Rose

The Champlain Rose is known for its hardy and disease-resistant nature. The bold, double red bloom is a great way to add a pop of rich color for fall. This rose blooms throughout the summer and reaches about 3’ in full sun.



Quick Fire Hydrangea Tree

The Quick Fire Hydrangea tree is known for its compact, ornamental tree form. With rusty pink blooms and bright green foliage, it provides warm tones during the fall season. This tree achieves about 8’ and does best in full sun.


Technito Arborvitae

The Technito Arborvitae is great because of its dark green, dense foliage. The soft texture of its foliage creates a delicate yet full backdrop for fall-blooming perennials. Provided with the right amount of sunlight this Arborvitae can reach 10’ tall.


Check out what’s new in our garden center. Our fall collection of plant material is here! Pumpkins and gourds are now available. Straw bales and cornstalks soon to come!