Hard Freeze in Florida — Some Do’s and Don’ts

Variegated Ginger - mlm

We’re expecting a hard freeze tonight. In this area, a hard freeze is considered to be 4 or more hours with temperatures at or below 32 degrees. Some areas are predicted to have these temps for up to 11 hours tonight. Yikes!

Throughout our neighborhood and those nearby, I have seen covered plants in the middle of the day. Be sure to remove the coverings early in the day, even if you will need to re-cover them again that night.

The Don’ts are often more important than the Do’s, so I’m sharing the Don’ts first:


Don’t use plastic bags. Everywhere the plastic touches the plant, you will have freeze damage.

Don’t leave the plants covered the next day. Remove the coverings as soon as the sun shines on the plants. If left covered on a bright, sunny day, the plants will bake.


Do cover your tender plants as early in the evening as you can, in order to trap warm (okay, less cold) air underneath the covering. If plants are in the shade, go ahead and cover them before temperatures drop. It will be easier on you, too.

Do use cloth coverings or cardboard boxes. If you are expecting rain, forget the cloth coverings. The wet cloth will cling to the plant and freeze, sticking to the leaves.

There are such beautiful tropical plants here, and not all landscapers will tell customers which plants are not cold hardy, and should not be planted here. For example the Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) and the Robellini Palm, a.k.a., Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii).

Yes, those of you who know me, know I have Queen Palms in my front yard. We bought them before we knew any better. This area is full of them, so who knew? The guy who sold them to us, that’s who.

Good luck with your tender plants tonight. Now get out there and cover them as soon as the sun is off of them.

5 responses to “Hard Freeze in Florida — Some Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Maria… Thanks for all of the great advice that you give!
    Do I need to cover my Foxtail Fern during a freeze? It’s planted in the ground instead of a pot.


    • You’re very welcome. I really do enjoy doing it. You live in central Florida (Zone 9), right? Your Foxtail should be safe tonight, as it is hardy to 20-25 F., Zones 9-11. I have some in the ground, and 2 in pots. I will take my potted ones indoors for the night. Thanks for your question and your nice comment.


  2. I see it’s been a week since you posted this. I’m a little late catching up! Hope your garden came through okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It did, thank goodness. The impatiens look pretty sad, but should come back soon. Some of my coleus got “bitten”, but I really expected to lose all of it, so not so bad after all. Everything else, I covered, or took inside. I had a lot of new plants I had not (and still have not) gotten into the ground, so my tardiness in doing that was a blessing in disguise. It’s a lot easier to take them indoors than to cover them and then try to find enough rocks to keep the covers from blowing off in the high winds we had. We still have to get through February, then everything should be safe.

      Liked by 1 person

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