Protecting Your Plants from the Freezing Weather
Protecting Your Plants from the Freezing Weather
On Amelia Island, Florida, where it only freezes a handful of times per year at the most, people need to know the best way to protect their tender tropical plants from the freezing weather. I have seen people only cover the top of their plants and I have seen people wrap their plants tightly in plastic bags that remain on the plants during the rebounding heat of the day. Neither of these methods will do your plants any good.

The best way to protect your potted plants is to bring them into the house or the garage, where temperatures will not freeze. If the plants are in the ground or are too big to move, then you will need to cover them completely with fabric. The covering must go all the way to the ground to trap the earth’s heat in with the plant. If you must use plastic to protect your plants, make sure you remove it as soon as possible. If the plastic heats up it will heat the plant up rapidly, like a green house, causing the plant to burn if it gets too warm or you could fool the plant into thinking it is spring. You want your plants to stay dormant by not encouraging new growth until Mother Nature is ready.

Just because a cold front has left the area does not mean you are safe from future freezes. Never cut back your plants after a freeze. Wait until all threats of freezing weather are over for the entire season before cutting off the dead wood. Pruning will stimulate new growth. New growth is too tender to handle a freeze and you will find yourself pruning your plants back even further in the spring. Even though we have some gorgeous afternoons in the winter in Fernandina Beach, resist the urge and tolerate your weather beaten plants until at least mid-March before fertilizing and pruning.

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