Cold Weather in Florida

Florida does get cold weather and since plants are usually in the midst of growing, they must be covered or brought indoors to survive.

One of the things I dislike about living in Florida is the freezing temperatures in winter. If plants are growing outside in your yard, and in pots, they may need to be covered to survive the cold night.

I had tomatoes, squash and peppers growing. Also one large eggplant plant and some small ones. I was not as worried about the peas and parsley as those things like cool weather.

My vegetables are in raised beds.

My basil is pretty dead, even though I covered it along with everything else.

The good news is that I still have some basil seeds and have planted those for this new growing season.

Christmas was the long stretch of cold weather. Since then we’ve had heat and some coolness, but nothing too bad. As I am posting this, it is March and there should not be any more freezing temps.

Why You Should Plant Zinnias

Here in Florida we can plant and grow Zinnias. I never knew this, but the Urban Harvest sells seeds and they sell things that will grow in Florida. Sure enough, Zinnias are heat tolerant and should grow all summer long. Zinnias attract bees and butterflies and they come in beautiful colors. This is why you…


Lots of Brown Plants After Florida Freeze

A week or go ago here in central Florida we had about three nights in a row where temperatures got into the twenties. Tropical plants do not like a Florida freeze.
They can handle a short stretch of cold, but not the constant, ongoing cold. One day I went out to dump out the ice in the bird bath and filled it with new water – which froze over again. That is unusual. Daytime brings warmer temperatures, but not that day. It was too much for plants which love sun and heat.
The saddest example of death in the yard is my beautiful croton. I have a few “baby plants” started from it and they have survived the cold. If I have to I can replant.

dead croton in a barrel
This was a beautiful croton and hibiscus

These banana trees sprung up at the edge of my yard and I’ve watched them grow for the past year. I think the house behind me threw some old banana trees over into the woods and they simply grew. They were getting tall and looking good and then the hurricane hit. The wind shredded the long leaves on the banana tree. Now we’ve had cold which has turned all the shredded leaves brown. Poor thing doesn’t look too good now.

dying banana trees after freeze
Banana Trees

The New Guinea impatiens that have been growing in the front garden – and survived throughout last winter – are brown and wilted.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 9.59.19 AM

My hibiscus is planted right next to the house, which usually helps when cold temps set in. I also covered it on two of the really cold nights. That didn’t keep the entire front part of it from turning brown.

Hibiscus front part dead
Front part of hibiscus is brown and dead

The bougainvillea which had just recently begun to grow larger is now a spindly brown vine.
dead plant due to freeze
First my eggplant died along the top. I covered it, and that didn’t seem to do much good. After the second night of low temps the rest of the plant turned brown. I’m not too sad because it has given me only one eggplant.  That’s it in the background of the picture below.

dead eggplant leaves after freeze
Eggplant is dead, but pepper lives on for now

I always believed that pepper plants loved heat, but this bell pepper plant is still nice and green when everything else has mostly died. I don’t know if it will continue to grow, but I hope so. I had been getting small green peppers from it fairly regularly.

I took a walk around my neighborhood the other morning and got this photo of an oak tree with a huge vine crawling up through the branches. I’d seen it before, but noticed this time that many of the big tropical leaves were brown.

big leaves in oak tree turned brown
Vine of big leaves growing up an oak tree

It is possible that these plants will come back. If the roots have not been killed, green will show up once again. The eggplant already has some little green leaves sprouting at the base of the plant.

I found a “Cold Hardy Plant List” for central Florida on the Central Florida Gardener site. I’ll have to look into it further when I decide to upgrade my landscape.

Ice In Florida is Not So Common

We have had some cold weather here in Florida recently and I guess it’s so we don’t feel left out this winter.  With temps in the minus 20’s back in New England, I won’t get any pity for the cold I deal with in Florida.  But for us here in the south, ice is not so common.

It felt like 22 degrees overnight for three nights in a row and that has done some damage to plantings.

My eggplant stalks are now dead at the top and it looks like the poinsettia is totally dead.  I could have gone out and covered the plants each night, but I just didn’t care enough to do so.

frozen eggplant plant
Frozen top of eggplant

This plant has grown like mad but given me only one eggplant to eat. I am not so sure I want this plant taking over my tiny garden area without giving me any vegetables to eat.

Winter is only beginning and if I want to save my outdoor plants they will have to be covered every time the temps drop below freezing. I have sheets and towels ready to use for covering, but I don’t have anything that important to save. Only my lime tree is worth the trouble and I can bring it indoors on cold nights, which I did.
The birdbath iced over for three nights and my cat, Skittle, was confused as to why she couldn’t drink from it.  I took a short video with my iPhone which you can see below.

In the Yard End of December 2017

While the rest of the country is dealing with freezing temperatures (sorry), I was taking photos of my yard and garden in the December sunshine.

Yesterday, December 30th I decided to get some photos of happenings in the backyard. Because much of the northern part of the country is suffering with snow, ice and unbelievably cold temperatures (you have my sympathy), I felt lucky to be outside in the warm sunshine and 60 degree temps.

Today I wanted to write this short post to share what it’s like to be able to avoid winter and watch a garden grow literally year round. This is new for me and I am not trying to brag. I miss New England even though you must suffer through the bad winters. It’s beautiful there and quite boring and dull here in Florida – until the monotony is interrupted by a hurricane.

curly poinsettia in the ground
Poinsettia 2017 leftover from 2016

I know that my poinsettia is not looking all that good, but who knew a poinsettia could grow in the ground and live from year to year? I discovered this by walking around my new neighborhood and checking out the plants in yards I passed. People were growing poinsettias. So after last Christmas, when I bought this odd looking one, I put it out back in the pot and continued to water it. Finally, just a few weeks ago, I planted it in the ground next to the hibiscus. I was able to bring it in last year when the coldest weather hit, so we’ll see how it fares in the ground. Because it’s next to the house I think it will do fine.

ladybug macro
Ladybug on Eggplant Flower

I caught this pretty little ladybug crawling over an eggplant flower and decided to try to capture it on my iPhone. The blinding sun made it difficult to see as I took pictures, but finally I got into a good position where the shade wasn’t a problem. Then I took a bunch of photos as the sweet little bug crawled around the backside of this purple flower.
Ladybugs are the best. They are a gardener’s friend. But don’t try to eat them, they don’t taste good at all. I accidentally had one in my mouth once – and yuk.

eggplant tall tree
December 30th – My eggplant tree

The Eggplant plant is still going strong. I’ve eaten one eggplant from it. The leaves are truly gorgeous and I photographed them in hopes of doing a drawing one day soon.

December garden pepper plant
Green pepper plant in December

Never in my life have I been able to grow my own green peppers. But this fall I have eaten many from this plant. I also have a smaller plant which currently has white flowers on it (below). And I’ve used some hot jalapeño peppers occasionally too. I’m used to pulling up my vegetable plants by fall, but now I guess I will just let them keep growing and see what happens.

white buds on pepper plant
December – buds on the green pepper plant

Here in central Florida we are expecting some cold weather next week. I know, I know… I’ll get no sympathy for temps in the 30’s when many people don’t see anything above single digits, with wind chills well below zero. BUT… this is Florida and our plants are still growing and not accustomed to freezing.
We will have to bring inside what we can and cover the rest.

Lime tree in December
Lime tree – buds and new growth in December

One tree I will be moving indoors is my Persian Lime. I’ve eaten limes for weeks now – in October and November – and now I see there is new growth and buds on the tree!

Learning to garden and grow fruit in Florida is new to me, but I am open to learning new things. This blog is a journal of sorts to reference because I forget quickly what was blooming and when.

Happy New Year!

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