It was nice having some cold weather for Christmas, but some of our plants might disagree.
Covering plants (and keeping them covered) was a big challenge with such high winds. Chances are, we’ve all got some plants that suffered damage. But it’s too early to give up and too soon to prune! Here are a few do’s and don’t do’s right now.
The good news is our forecast looks warm and sunny! Our best advice right now is to get everything uncovered, water well, and let everything enjoy the sunshine. The cold, dry wind dried everything out, so most plants will need water. But use a moisture meter and be sure not to water too much. Some plants wilt and look thirsty just because they’re cold and will perk up as temps rise.
Tender tropical plants like Philodendrons, Gingers, Cannas, and Bananas probably look pretty defeated right now unless you were able to cover them really well. Give tender tropicals at least a week before deciding to cut them back. Woodier tropicals like Bougainvillea and Hibiscus may have some damaged foliage, and will likely be fine, but time will tell. Don’t prune them yet.
Many perennials (such as Salvias, Duranta, Turk’s Cap, Mexican Bush Sage) that were left uncovered should survive. They look bad and they lost a lot of foliage, but they are mostly dormant right now anyway. Our first instinct may be to cut them back now, but it’s too early! You don’t want to prune now and make the plant think it’s time to start coming out of dormancy and putting on new growth. That new growth would be more cold-sensitive. Also, the ugly burned foliage will act as insulation if we get another freeze. If you can tolerate the unsightliness, leave them alone. If not, remove the damaged leaves, but don’t prune. Wait to prune until February when it’s time for plants to start putting on new Spring growth.
Keep in mind, it’s still Winter! Keep your frost cloth and plant covering supplies handy in case we get another cold snap. As always, get in touch if you have questions about specific plants. You can send us pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook, or Instagram. Or give us a call or stop by!