The Q&A Archives: the freeze

Question: This last cold spell hit hard and a number of my native and tropical plants like Mandeville vine, Papyrus, Guava, Rush,Princess Flower, etc.,all turned brown and lost their leaves. Will they recover? There are some that I have not had a chance to plant yet and they are sill in the one or five gallon container. The red Mandeville are some of my favorite. Will they start again from the bottom?

Thank you for your advice.

Answer: I wish I could say with certainty that your plants will recover, but I'm afraid only time will tell. A short freeze will damage the tops of the plants but not the roots. In this case, you'll see new growth from the crown when the weather warms; a hard freeze (more than 4-6 hours of temperatures below 32) can damage the roots as well as the tops of your tropical plants. In this case, they may not recover. At this point, it's best to wait and see how your plants respond to warmer weather. When things begin growing you can prune off the frost damaged plant parts to make way for healthy new growth. Let's hope for the best!

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