Definition - What does Frost Tolerant mean?
The term “frost tolerant” means that a plant has a high hardiness rating, and can withstand not only freezing temperatures, but will also likely survive light to moderate frosts, which can kill plants that are cold tolerant, but not frost tolerant.
MaximumYield explains Frost Tolerant
Frost tolerant is a term applied to plants that can withstand exposure not only to freezing temperatures, but to actual frost. Most cultivated plants do not do well when subjected to frost on their stems and leaves, and many will die when exposed to freezing temperatures, regardless of whether frost is present or not.
There are different degrees of frost tolerance applied to plants. For instance, a plant that can tolerate a light frost is one that can withstand water ice at 28 to 32 degrees F. However, one that can withstand a hard freeze means that the plant could withstand water ice freezing to it up to 25 degrees F. Note that most frost tolerant plants will be damaged or killed by exposure to frost and temperatures under 25 degrees F.
Understand that frost tolerance is really a term only applied to vegetable plants and fruiting plants. There are many plants that are largely unaffected by cold, particularly evergreen plants. There are many types of vegetables that are highly frost tolerant, as well, and are grown as early winter or early spring crops. Some examples of these include kale and spinach, as well as beets and carrots. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and green onions are a few more examples.
Growing frost tolerant vegetables can extend your growing season by a significant amount, and help provide you and your family with fresh vegetables almost all year round.