Knowledge Base/Finding and selecting plants for your garden/Plant Guides

What's the difference between a light frost, hard frost and freeze?

Kristee Rosendahl
posted this on April 17, 2013 11:35 AM

Freeze and frost are a bit open to interpretation.  A frost is a short term overnight event, whereas a freeze is of longer duration. Hardy plants can handle some frost (perhaps 20 or 25 degrees F), but will often be killed by a serious freeze. A half hardy plant will germinate and grow in cool soil and weather, but can only handle the lightest frost (32 degrees F).

If cold weather and frost is expected we recommend waiting to transplant until better weather is forecast.  If it’s too cold the plants won’t grow anyway - they will just sit there (they would be better off growing indoors).