Tropicals forum: sub-freezing temperatures

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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 5, 2014 8:07 AM CST
For those of you in the path of this brutal arctic blast of cold air, keep in mind that IF you are storing your tropical plants in an unheated garage or attic, you may lose most if not all of your plants. Three years ago, I lost dozens of plumeria stored in the garage and attic (placed on top of heating ducts!) when we had similar temperatures over a two-day period. Your garage and attic will get down to about the same temperature as that outside.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
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Xeramtheum
Jan 5, 2014 10:48 AM CST
I'm quaking in my boots here .. I don't know if my heating systems in the greenhouses can keep up with the projected temps in the teens. Had a really bad fright on Friday night .. the 2nd greenhouse was down to 38 by 8 pm so I went out and discovered the thermostat wasn't working and they were calling for temps in the mid 20's that night! Thankfully I had a backup. Now I was REALLY freaking out because I had no backups in case another one went kablooey with the next Arctic front on its way. My neighbor who is an electrician checked out the broken one and she found it was the piggyback plug that had gone bad .. thankfully I was able to get another piggyback plug off of a sump pump switch and she replaced the old one and it works perfectly now so I have my backup .. WHEW!

I'm going to be ordering two more of these k-kontol thermostats so I have backups for my backups.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

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[Last edited by Xeramtheum - Jan 5, 2014 10:49 AM (+)]
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Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
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sfrangu
Jan 5, 2014 2:00 PM CST
That's exactly why I bought a small greenhouse this year for my plumies and other tropicals. Even though we don't get freezing temps during day, we still have very close to freezing temps at night. So I guess it is a good investment. I recently placed a Vick vaporizer inside the GH because it was very dry there, and some of the plumies started pushing more leaves. I mainly got the GH for my first-year seedlings, to keep them from going dormant, and because I don't really have enough room for them in the house.

Here's a part of the GH in november, before all the plants went in due to freezing temperatures at night. I also got a double tarp in top of it to keep the warmth inside. And of course, a small heater.

Thumb of 2014-01-05/sfrangu/edaf2a

If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
My "bunnies" are in fact Guinea pigs. 5 of them so far.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 5, 2014 2:16 PM CST
Anne, I have two electric heaters (one at each end) in my two GH's and a back-up heater in both as well. The back-ups will (hopefully) only come on if the inside temperature gets down to 50 F. My orchids won't like it that cold but they will survive. My only concern is having the breaker(s) trip during the night. I am just about maxed out on amperage if all the heaters are going. I do have one of those "emergency" double-LED lights installed though. If I lose power the battery pack on the lights will activate them. If I am asleep, I would have to wake up to know that the lights are on though. For every solution there is always a problem. Grumbling
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: mj
Central Florida
Butterflies Hummingbirder Keeps Horses Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Florida
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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mjsponies
Jan 5, 2014 6:21 PM CST
drdawg said:I do have one of those "emergency" double-LED lights installed though. If I lose power the battery pack on the lights will activate them. If I am asleep, I would have to wake up to know that the lights are on though. For every solution there is always a problem. Grumbling


I set the alarm clock and get up and go out and check when we get these wacky cold fronts. I'd probably wake up anyway due to worry. One thing I also do is save a ton of 1 gallon water jugs. I fill them with very hot water and set in the corners of the greenhouses as well as any other spot I can fit them between the plants without them actually touching the plants. A PIA, but it helps.

God gave us wings. He just called them horses
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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Xeramtheum
Jan 5, 2014 8:14 PM CST
Ahhh MJ .. so glad to see you! Thankfully, my wireless thermometers have alarms on them I can set for low and high temps .. mine go off at 35 degrees. The bad thing is though, there is really nothing I can do so I'll be bringing in all of the 'can't be replaced for love or money' plants into the house.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 5, 2014 8:38 PM CST
I'm with you, Mj. Water jugs are my heat sink of choice. We buy the 2 1/2 gallon ones from Costco at the beginning of hurricane season for emergency water, then in the fall we drink the water and I save the jugs to snuggle up to my favorite plants on the cold nights.

My little 'greenhouse shelf units' for the orchids have enough room for 3 of those big jugs in the bottom, and they stay warm all night if I put the hot water in just before I go to bed then zip up the plastic covers.

If it really does go below freezing, I might add a blanket over the plastic cover, too.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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Xeramtheum
Jan 5, 2014 9:51 PM CST
I have 2ltr bottles filled with water .. they really do help a lot!
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jan 5, 2014 10:07 PM CST
I'm going to try the hot water bottle trick tonight. I have had the heat on at various temperatures for 2-3 weeks now. But this lows tonight and tomorrow might test it! I figure a little effort to keep things warm will prevent some heartache later.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
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sfrangu
Jan 5, 2014 11:46 PM CST
How are the water bottles/jugs working? How big the bottles for what size of a GH? How close to the plants can you place them?
If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
My "bunnies" are in fact Guinea pigs. 5 of them so far.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jan 5, 2014 11:54 PM CST
Lemme go check on the water bottle temps and I will get back to you....
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jan 6, 2014 12:02 AM CST
Wow! It's been almost 2 hours and the 2-1/2 gallon jug of water I put out there is still hot. Or extremely warm, at least. I am impressed. However, I only have one out there in a larger lean to greenhouse. I bet if there were several bottles, it would work in a smaller area. I have been having trouble with the sticky Velcro I put on the openings of my greenhouse. I think it is pretty air-leaky in there. I put the jug of water on the opposite side of the heater just to cover my bases. It can't hurt. I think you should try it, Mima.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: mj
Central Florida
Butterflies Hummingbirder Keeps Horses Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Florida
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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mjsponies
Jan 6, 2014 7:38 AM CST
Anne, I bring in the "Can't be replaced plants " also and put them in the bathtub of the extra bathroom. We get these crazy freezes so rarely that I haven't bothered with an alarm. I'd probably still be up and down all night anyway. Blinking

The water jugs keep the outer reaches of the greenhouse warm.

Shady - Sounds like you need to beef up the openings on your greenhouse. I found some outdoor repair tape, and I used it to tape bubble wrap on a few spots that were hard to weather seal. You might try taping the bubble wrap over the opening to slow the cold air seeping in.

Elaine, I'd be putting a blanket over your little greenhouse for good measure !
God gave us wings. He just called them horses
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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Xeramtheum
Jan 6, 2014 8:33 AM CST
I put my extra tropicals on top of the 2ltr bottles and the soil temperature usually stays about 5 degrees warmer than everyone else with normal winter weather.

My 2nd greenhouse just has plastic around the frame and a cover over that .. I've been busy battening down the perimeter around it to keep the wind from blowing through the bottom on the ends. Luckily it's snugged up to a privacy fence so I don't have to worry about it blowing away .. at least I hope it doesn't blow away! EEEK, gives me the shivers just thinking about it.

MJ - got some Ceropegia stapeliformis seeds coming from South Africa! Let me know if you've had any experience starting Ceropegia from seed.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: mj
Central Florida
Butterflies Hummingbirder Keeps Horses Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Florida
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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mjsponies
Jan 6, 2014 9:15 AM CST
Anne, Yes I have started Ceropegia from seed before. I'll send a T-Mail
God gave us wings. He just called them horses
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 6, 2014 7:36 PM CST
Cheryl, the bigger the jugs of water the better. They'll retain heat for many hours, and that helps a lot with keeping the air warm around the plants.

I've got all my supply of polar fleece fabric sitting there waiting to go out and snuggle up the last of the big plants, and the little greenhouse shelf units. But it's still honking windy out there, so the blankies don't want to stay put. Hoping it will calm down before I go to bed so I can finish up properly. The brugs out in the yard are still not covered properly . .. Ah well, at some point you gotta let the leaves fall.

I am already mourning the loss of blooms on my Clero. Shooting Star. Took some pictures this morning but they will be toast tomorrow. They're in the ground and much too big to cover.
Thumb of 2014-01-07/dyzzypyxxy/20c50d Thumb of 2014-01-07/dyzzypyxxy/d742e9

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Jan 6, 2014 7:48 PM CST
I put a small jug under a palm plant. The 2-1/2 gallon laid flat and a flat of small starts are on top of that. Then I lugged a 5 gallon covered bucket of hot water in there and the lucky pink Pudica gets to sit on that. I will check later and refill before I go to bed. It's not even 8 pm and we are already below freezing.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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Xeramtheum
Jan 6, 2014 8:48 PM CST
29 degrees here and GH #1 holding steady at 45 degrees - no temperature drop for 45 minutes and GH #2, 50 degrees - no temperature drop for 1.5 hours - I set both thermostats at 55 degrees .. how's everyone else doing?
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Jan 6, 2014 10:12 PM CST
I will need to learn about thermostats when I get my GH built. But it looks like everything is holding. Just one more night of this awful frigid stuff then up to near 70º by week's end.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jan 6, 2014 10:30 PM CST
Still honking wind here, the blankies won't stay put on the plants. But as long as there's wind it won't freeze so I shouldn't complain . . .

I'm still filling jugs with hot water.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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