There are several factors that affect your plants during cold weather. Plants have a higher chance of frost survival under the following circumstance.
1. Plants with good nutrition at the start have higher endurance and are more likely to survive the cold.
2. Beds that are mulched will hold in the heat and protect the plant root systems.
3. Fall and early winter frosts do more damage than cold snaps in January or February. Plants survive better after gradually acclimating to the cold first.
Pending Frost Tips
1. Watering landscape plants before a freeze can help protect plants. A well watered soil will absorb more solar radiation than dry soil and will re-radiate heat during the night.
2. Covering plants will only protect from a frost, not a freeze. The best way to cover your plants is by placing stakes in the ground around the plants then covering the stakes. Foliage in contact with the cover is often injured because of heat transfer from the foliage to the colder cover. Be sure to remove the coverings during the day for proper ventilation.
3. Covers should extend to the ground to capture and hold all the heat from the ground and plant.
Pending Freeze Tips
1. Ornamental plants can be protected during a freeze by sprinkling the plants with water. This keeps the surface of the leaves near 32°.
2. Misting must begin as freezing temperatures are reached and continue until thawing is completed.
Keep in mind, most plants in Florida are tropical plants. Flowering plants such as hibiscus, alamanda, ixora and bouganvilla just might not survive a very cold winter.
How to Protect Palm Trees
The best way to try to protect a palm tree is to cover the trunk and heart and keep them warm. There are a few ways to do this listed below.
1. Stringing Christmas lights tightly up the trunk and up through the fronds is a festive way of providing some additional warmth.
2. Angle 1-2 floodlights toward the fronds.
3. Drape the palm with sheets or a light blanket. Carefully tie them down or, if long enough, weigh them down with bricks or rocks. In our opinion, the added expense of a frost cloth is not necessary.
4. Wrap the trunk with a thick blanket in preparation for a hard freeze.
5. NEVER wrap with a plastic wrap. This holds in moisture that can then freeze.