The cold snap.

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by Pix, Jan 7, 2018.

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  1. Pix

    Pix Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Hi guys! Where is everybody? Are you like me? I am still feeling like those iguanas that are falling from the trees: I can barely move.
    We did a lot of traveling in December but we were back just before the cold snap and I managed to cover my plants. How are yours?
    I also need advice as to how to water my tropicals during the very cold (but above freezing) weather?
    I found I that have no clue :(
     
  2. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,556
    Location:
    DAVIE FL
    I show no ill effects yet although it will take some time for leaf drop to show up.We got down around 42 two nights in a row so it really was not too bad here.I generally do not water when it is very cold but I do not know what is better??
     
    Pix likes this.
  3. Pix

    Pix Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Thank you, Mike.
    42 is not that bad. We got down to 32 one night. No freeze though.
    Here is a picture of what they did to ornamentals in Plant City on January 4.
    They are saving their strawberries this way almost every year.

    Plant_City_Jan_4_2918.jpg

    …I also heard that if there is cold but no freeze, better not to water at all, but for how long??
     
  4. VeroKarl

    VeroKarl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    506
    Location:
    Vero Beach
    I have always let the irrigation run normally all winter. It seems like we have not had the usual dry season, so I am worried that I may be over-watering as the soil does seem very wet. Most of the plants don't seem to be affected negatively. Probably not good to be providing so much water unless they are all actively growing. I was just thrilled we did not get to freezing. The photo from Plant City is pretty dramatic.
     
  5. Dan Stanhope

    Dan Stanhope New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Palm Harbor, FL Zone 9b
    I had recently read this thread called Cold Snap when I looked at our forecast for this week (for Eastlake in N. Pinellas County.) Like Karl, we had had one time where it reached 32 briefly but had no freeze. It took out my graptophyllums but everything else looked OK. But now the forecast (which changes daily) for Wed. night is a low of 26F with 5 or six hours at or below 32F. Now there are about a dozen young Crotons that were air layered or recent purchases that were potted up this fall on the pool deck. They can come into the house in the pool bath shower. My concern is the ones outside, about a dozen established Magnificents, 3 recently planted small air layered Mrs. Icetons, and about 6 others mostly in ground less than a year. What would you experienced Croton experts do to try and protect them? We haven't had temps like this in over a decade. I appreciate any advice.
     
  6. Pix

    Pix Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Dan, people may not be here to answer in time. Me too, I am wondering if I should to dig out my smaller collectibles, put them in the pots and bring inside?

    Here is a a thread from the winter 2010:
    http://www.palmpedia.net/forum/threads/cold-protection.1158/#post-13922

    Do you have frost blankets? Here is the thread:
    http://www.palmpedia.net/forum/threads/when-you-need-a-little-protection.3720/#post-40887

    Last spring for the first time I saw the frost blankets on sale in rolls (like landscape fabric). I wish I bought a roll :(
    Then I could cut it in to pieces that I need. Large precut blankets are hard to use because of the wind. I pin them to the ground and clip them to the stakes.
     
  7. VeroKarl

    VeroKarl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    506
    Location:
    Vero Beach
    I have had luck with old sheets and towels. Ideally you want them to be above the leaves if you can drape them over some posts or stakes. After several days of warmer temperatures I am starting to see the damage from the temps dropping into the 30s. All of my coleus, which I use as filler plants, were really zapped. Several plants have lost leaves for the first time. There are a few of the more tender plants that were killed back to the ground, so I will need to wait until spring to see if they come back. Surprisingly my variegated banana, which is supposed to be very sensitive, appears to have only some minor leaf damage (I wrapped the stem but did not have a big enough tarp for the leaves). Nothing below the 40s forecast here, so I think we should be in good shape. In the 7 years I have been here we have never got into temperatures that low, so I can't tell you anything from personal experience with my crotons. Some of the other people on the forum who have been working with crotons for 20 or 30 years could give you better information. Phil, who is in Tampa, comes to mind as someone who I am sure has dealt with it. Good luck!
     
  8. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,732
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Thrift stores are a great place to get old sheets, bed covers, quilts and so on to cover plants. Trouble is you have to get there early in the season since they go fast in cold weather. I'm in St. Pete and fairly close to Boca Ciega Bay and the Gulf which gives me a few degrees more than Tampa especially north Tampa. The palms at the Kopsick Arboretum on the waterfront in St. Pete do better than those ten miles inland. The old time 4 watt Christmas lights are a good source of temporary heat.
     
  9. Pix

    Pix Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    I am no expert but I like the frost blankets. I am only gardening since 2014, and I learned about them here from Scott.
    You cannot leave them on your plants in the sun next day though. You will bake your plants.

    I used the bed sheets all the time before, and I am still using them all year around: for shade in summer for example :) Now am using a variegated tapioca tree for this purpose :)

    When I am covering my plants this winter, I use everything: 3 sleeping bags, 2 pure wool throws, comforters, baby bed fitted fleece sheets, and plenty of frost blankets. I have a significant leaf drop on everything that was not covered :(
     
  10. Dan Stanhope

    Dan Stanhope New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Palm Harbor, FL Zone 9b
    Pix, thanks for the link to the older discussion. It clearly shows there is no one answer and has helped me think about more factors on a plant by plant basis.
    Karl & Phil, I am always envious of those just a few degrees warmer! I do have several old sheets and some good metal stakes that I will try out as little tents for some of my youngest and most exposed crotons. I also have had coleus that has stayed with me for years just melt away here. We usually don't get much real cold weather here after March 1, but that still leaves a lot of time to watch out for these sudden drops. I may be looking for another good sale in the spring to restock if things get worse. On the good side, that could be fun!
     
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  11. VeroKarl

    VeroKarl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    506
    Location:
    Vero Beach
    Now they are saying we could have some of the coldest temperatures of the winter going down into the 30s so I may be covering things tomorrow as well. Keep your eyes open for the next croton auction, always a great place to stock up on crotons. I believe someone was going to do one this spring, need to go back and see if I can find who it was. Good luck with the cold. I know what you mean about being envious about being a few degrees warmer, when I travel south to some of the botanical gardens I see plants that I want but probably would not make it here.
     
  12. Pix

    Pix Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Oh, well. It looks pretty bad here already between 1 and 2 PM: very grey and foggy. Unusual.
    Good. I have time to put everything on: you cannot use frost blankets when the sun is out.
    I bought a mulch for my recently planted fruit trees, and I am digging some plants out.
     
  13. Dan Stanhope

    Dan Stanhope New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Palm Harbor, FL Zone 9b
    Well our forecast is for a low of 29 and 6 hours at or below 32. I've got some younger plants wrapped and everything from the patio indoors. We'll just have to see what happens. I hope your beautiful gardens fare well.

    Where is that darned Global Warming when you need it!
     
  14. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,732
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Blichhh !!! 32F on one thermometer and 31F on another at 8am today!
     
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  15. Pix

    Pix Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Yeah, what's up with that Global Warming? We were expecting to become a luxury waterfront property :D not this :mad:
    I cannot believe this is happening.
    I woke up twice last night to look at the thermostat. It is like having a baby in the house WideEyed

    Just venting. It was 29F at 7AM.
     
  16. Dan Stanhope

    Dan Stanhope New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Palm Harbor, FL Zone 9b
    Yes, I was up at my usual 3 am and watched the temps constantly. We hit 29 around 4 am and stayed there until just after 8. It is finally all the way up to 31 at 8:45! The worst part is they are now forecasting another dip to 32 tomorrow morning. Later I'll head out to look at stuff in the yard but I suspect it may be a while to really know the damage. Hope your favorites all survived!

    It looks like even "Sunny St. Pete" hit 31. Sorry to hear that Phil.
     
  17. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b
    Ugh, 39f in Boca Raton this morning. Keep crotons well hydrated & they seem to loose less leaves. potted plants are more susceptible due to the root temperature. Hang in, springs just a few months away!
     
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  18. VeroKarl

    VeroKarl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    506
    Location:
    Vero Beach
    We stayed at 34 here in Vero, but the wind chill was brutal. That was about the same as the temperature that beat up most of my other plants. Apparently when Global Warming melted the glaciers they washed up off the coast of Florida. I moved away from New England so I did not have to deal with this anymore. This is too darn cold. If we had iguanas this far north I am sure a couple of frozen ones would have landed on my head by now. Thank goodness the worst is over!
     
  19. Pix

    Pix Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Thank you for your input, Randy. The first thing I will do after unwrapping my plants is watering. I did not water since last rain on January 9.
    There will be some loses. I did not manage to cover everything. I wonder how much cold it takes to kill a croton? ...And also what is worse: several cold nights in the row or number of freezing hours in one night?
    Some pictures of winter around my house.

    IMG_5273.JPG IMG_5274.JPG IMG_5276.JPG IMG_5291.JPG IMG_5293.JPG IMG_5299.JPG
     
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  20. VeroKarl

    VeroKarl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    506
    Location:
    Vero Beach
    The cordyline with the icicle is pretty dramatic, you really did get cold. I don't think I have ever seen that before. I hope most of your plants pull through. I definitely had some plants that looked like your Brugmansia, but thank goodness no icicles. I think well established crotons can handle some pretty cold temperatures, but that depends on the varieties (my understanding is Hawaiian and Thai types can't usually handle the same cold as the tried and true that have been around Florida for half a century or more). I have only lost one croton from cold, the thing that has got to mine is too much water/flooding. Granted I have never gotten below freezing, close but not quite. Good luck and hopefully the worst is over.
     
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  21. Pix

    Pix Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Karl, you are very compassionate. Thank you. There were a lot of icicles. I only covered crotons and not even all of them. I have other tropical plants also and they look bad:


    IMG_5386.JPG IMG_5397.JPG IMG_5405.JPG IMG_5319.JPG IMG_5331.JPG IMG_5337.JPG IMG_5341.JPG IMG_5342.JPG
     
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  22. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Oh, Pix, that's impressive! No icicles here either. Got down to 31 for a few hours, and lots of things look unhappy here. Nothing gets covered here, just a few small pots come inside the house or garage. Many of my crotons have leggy, almost bare stems. Hopefully, in another month there will be signs of flushing out with new growth in all our gardens! Hang in there, people!
     
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  23. Pix

    Pix Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Thank you for the encouragement, Anna. Today I ran my sprinklers first time this year. I do not know what else to do. I do not plant intentionally anything that is not cold hardy down to 26F …but things happen, as you all know.

    And everything is so young! I've just finished my 4 years re-landscaping project. Some things were just planted or moved to their final destination last fall. I was supposed to sit back, relax and watch them grow :(

    I wonder how is ScotTi doing? How his gorgeous Tampa garden is holding up? To my astonishment Ti's are putting a gorgeous show! Is it a Death dance or what? Even the red ones got purple hues.
    Here are some beautiful pictures for you all. And more of your beloved icicles.

    IMG_5278.JPG IMG_5287.JPG IMG_5346.JPG IMG_5367.JPG IMG_5429.JPG IMG_5434.JPG
     
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  24. VeroKarl

    VeroKarl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    506
    Location:
    Vero Beach
    You have some very pretty cordylines. Not just the typical varieties. I ordered about 150 stem cuttings of all different varieties from Hawaii a few years ago. Some are now big beautiful plants, some died, and some are still only a few inches tall but alive. It is fun when one of the more unusual types really come into their own. Hopefully your plants will continue to do well and enjoy the warmer weather.
     
    Pix likes this.
  25. Pix

    Pix Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Thanks again, Karl. I have more of some special Cordylines. I buy them now and then from Peters Crotons, and Scott has given me some. I would post more pictures of my Ti's but they probably do not belong to the croton forum.
    I can post more disaster photos though :D

    I am not a big fan of Ti's yet because I have almost no shade in my yard. …Also deer love to eat them and rabbits are eating the small ones …But Scott told me that they bounce back better from cold than crotons :(
     
  26. Native son

    Native son Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,016
    Location:
    10a
    Looks rough Pix, but hang there Spring will come soon and we all will be out working like crazy. We have only gotten temps down to 42 here but some very strong winds that hurt us more than the Temps. I have some new visitories on this very fragrant baby IMG_0988.JPG c
     
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  27. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Beautiful tis, Pix! I'm hoping the worst is over, and our plants have hardened off now, so hopefully not much more damage. Early spring is a month away for us. I don't ever remember a freeze here past mid February.
     
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  28. Pix

    Pix Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Lamar, are you puzzling us? The bug is Polka Dot Wasp Moth. What is this fragrant baby? ShamefullyEmbarrased

    I was wondering how you are doing. 42F! I am envies.

    The croton Pixie is alive and well. She is a tall baby and she lives by the little Blonde Flame Thrower. She had to carry a heavy blanket on her shoulders.:(

    …I was working outside all day. What a nice weather! I am so happy to be hot again. :)
     
  29. Native son

    Native son Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,016
    Location:
    10a
    No puzzle Pix, the plant is a Sweet Almond very fragrant similar to citrus bloom just all year round. The polka dot is battling with my sweet little bees for every ounce of nectar. Wonderful day in my fun house today Temps in the upper 70's bright sun cleaning up and slamming the municipal mulch. I put it down about 4 inches deep every where. It's free I just load about 25 7gallon pots and pour it on. It takes me about ten trips to get it done. image.jpg
     
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  30. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    546
    What was the final tally? Who came through fine,who wimped out? What about the box store staples like Petra and Mammy? Stopight lived up to reputation? I've seen some of those very exotic Thai variety's with the big crinkled leaves. I can see those as first to cave in. As always,the more exotic,the more tropical.
     

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