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.

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