It’s looking more likely we will get some cold weather from this “Christmas” front. This one is coming down with enough energy to reach us. It has been a few years since we broke out the sweaters and thought about bringing our orchids and tropical plants inside or wrapping them up if they must remain outside!
This blog will discuss several strategies and tips for protecting your plants that you can do right now to minimize damage to your plants. In case you notice any damage to your landscape, please call us at 305-248-3311 with any questions or concerns you may have. Our offices will be open every weekday except for December 26th and New Year’s Day.
How Cold will the Temperatures Be? Stay Tuned.
You can dial right into your zip code for a forecast, and I watch the local news as well. This is the site already dialed into Homestead, Florida where I live and our office is located, and we know our western areas of the county are usually a few degrees cooler. NWS Miami South-Florida forecast (weather.gov)
Our UF/IFAS/Miami-Dade County Extension website has a weather page, visit this now and learn how to navigate thru these resources.
Freezing temperatures, 32 F or below are not forecast for the Christmas 2022 cold front. This should not be a hard frost event for Miami Dade County.
Potted Plants, Should you Bring Them Inside?
For orchids and other true topical plants, yes, bring them in to a protected car port or inside your home. Temperatures are predicted to go be in the 50’s with wind chill making it feel colder. For those items you cannot move, wrap them! Hot tip, wrap or cover plants in the warmest part of the day to retain heat overnight. Remove as soon as temperatures begin to warm in the sun. Recover again if needed. Often the 2nd night of a cold front is the coldest if there is no cloud cover. Note grass will recover in the spring with longer days and rainfall if we do get a bit of frost.
Our Miami Dade County partners at the Fruit & Spice Park will wrap some trees and shrubs in burlap. At home you can use old sheets. For the Asian greenhouse at the park, they will be using heaters to keep the Breadfruit and exotic Gingers warm. Many other tropical fruit trees and plants dislike temperatures below 50 degrees F. We lots of tropical plants in our Miami landscapes!
What is Tropical?
We have publications on tropical fruit trees on our website and on the UF Gardening Solutions Website. These publications will note the temperature range the trees can withstand. Please call us if you are unsure if your plants are tropical and might need protection.
Wrapping it Up
Do not despair if you do see cold damage, not all is lost. Send us photos! We usually advise not to prune damage until a few weeks have pasted. Some stems and branches will drop damaged leaves and new leaves will sprout back while some will die back. Time is the tell and unless you are very familiar with the plant, no matter how bad it looks, do nothing for a while.
Keep the plants and trees watered, but not too much. Watering in cool temperatures can promote fungal diseases but avoid water stress to an already struggling plant. Just slightly moist to slightly dry is ideal.
Some quick reads for more information:
Cold Protection of Landscape Plants
Ask IFAS: Cold Protection and Chilling Damage of Landscape Plants (ufl.edu)
This publication is for greenhouse growers but has great information.ENH1168/EP429: Cold Protection of Foliage Plants in Shadehouses and Greenhouses (ufl.edu)