The Voice of Mother Blossom
Cultivating Wisdom, Beauty, and Joy Through Gardening

Cold and Frost Protection

Palms and Plants

Will it or won’t it is the question… if the forecast predicts temperatures in the 30s preparation is the recommendation. 

How we love our tropical plants… until the moment of truth arrives.  The truth is found in fluctuating temperatures… yes zones 9 and 10 temperatures spike from the high 90s to the low 20s and 30s even down to the teens in some areas. I sleep better knowing that preparations have been made…

To help protect palms and plants against frost damage:

  1. Make sure palms and plants are hydrated. Water the ground around the plants early enough that it has time to soak up the water before frost. Do not keep foliage wet.

  2. To help reduce leaf burn, palms can be sprayed with an anti-transpirant such as Vapor Gard.

  3. Cover palms and plants with frost cloth, A light bulb can be added underneath the frost cloth for heat.  Be careful to set it up so it will not set anything on fire or become an electrical hazard.
Florida Planting Zones
Frosted Palm

Frost or Cold Damage

To help palm grow out after frost or cold damage:

  1. To prevent bacteria from forming in the bud, use Copper Sulfate or Kocide 101 to drench the head and bud.


  2. Fertilize in spring to get new fronds growing.  Palm fertilizer can be purchased at a nursery or home improvement store. I like to use 8-2-12

NOTE: Mix all chemicals at labeled rates only.

All plants –

Hydration is key – Before inclement weather arrives water plants at root level – do not get the leaves wet. Cover sensitive plants with Freeze cloth – not a blanket, sheet, or towel.

Freeze cloth has proved to be more effective than other materials. I use 12 wide by 250’ rolls anchored to the ground with 3’ rebar and have been quite pleased with the results. However, if you don’t have freeze cloth – blankets and sheets are preferred over not using anything. DON’T USE PLASTIC.

Do not trim brown foliage until the danger of cold has passed. The end of February or early March should be adequate timing.

In the Spring the trunk or stem of the plants can be scratched… Brown tissue is dead tissue and green indicates live tissue. Trim back to the green. Fertilize and all will be well. IF ALL ELSE FAILS – you can replant in the Spring.

Strawberries benefit from cold weather… a cold snap actually makes the fruit sweeter.

Know your plants. Don’t let them get crippled by the cold. Shield them from the chill and nurture their growth. Taking the necessary precautions will allow you to enjoy their beauty once again.

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