DENVER — As freezing temperatures threaten, take measures to protect or save your plants.
Many plants can be brought inside to spend winter in a sunny window. These include tropical plants such as bananas, flowering maples and mandevilla, as well geraniums, coleus and begonias.
If you can't bring everything you'd like inside, take cuttings. Cut off stems eight to ten inches long, strip off the leaves, and insert them in glass jars of water on the windowsill. They will root quickly--with three weeks or so--and can later be potted up in soil. Cuttings can be taken from coleus, bloodleaf, plectranthus, geraniums and more. It's always worth a try. A bit of aquarium gravel in the jars of water will help to keep the stems from rotting.
Pick vegetables. You can still harvest eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers.
If you want to protect vegetables and annuals, cover them. Use sheets, tablecloths and fleece throws. Support the coverings with an underpinning of bamboo stakes. Use clothespins to attach the coverings to the stakes. Secure the sheets at the bottom with bricks or rocks.
Cotton cloth or fleece works well to protect against about five degrees of frost. Plastic is largely ineffective. Cold goes right through it.
If covered, many plants will survive and continue to bloom after this cold snap passes.
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