Pat's Patio Garden

Growing Plants in Pots

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Central Florida Winters

March 2014:

We haven’t had snow, sleet, ice or any of the major winter activity that is a normal winter occurrence in most parts of the country. What my particular part of Florida does get (northern Zone 9) is erratic forecasts of mild weather which turns into the reality of temperatures in the 30’s. My patio garden has at least 50% tropical plants that need protection when temperatures dip to 40 or below.

I had small flags in the pots of the plants that needed to be covered or otherwise protected so it was easy to identify which ones were at risk. When the weather report indicated colder temperatures I loaded up my Strong Camel Greenhouse with hibiscus and other taller plants such as the Neem and Avocado.

I used Easy Gardener Plant Protector Bags to cover the dwarf banana trees and some Frost Protek Plant Covers to cover other plants.

Some of my smallest plants, including the two citrus trees, I put into the tabletop Educational Insights Greenhouse. I knew from last winter that the greenhouse worked best if it was covered by a second protection and I used one of the Frost Protek Plant Covers to cover it.

It was a continual in-out process as the weather fluctuated for several months and the local “weather guessers” really didn’t get it right too much of the time. More than once, after a forecast of “low 50’s,” actual temperatures, at least on my patio, were in the high 30’s and I rushed to move/cover plants before they were harmed.

I lost the small Jalapeno to the cold. It had bloomed and produced three peppers and apparently dropped some seeds before it died. One small seedling came up late February and seems to be growing well.

All four Japanese Maples lost their leaves late Fall and, since they need cold weather in their growth cycle, I didn’t worry when our temperatures dropped.

The Cranberry Crush Hibiscus died back and I don’t know if it is dormant or dead.

While I was able to put most of the tropical hibiscus into the larger greenhouse, I made sure that the Fiji hibiscus was not included due to the mildew problem earlier in the year. It was the only hibiscus that bloomed in the winter.

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