Tag Archives: Freezing temperatures

Freezing in Florida

28 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

According to local news it has been four years since Florida experienced a widespread freeze.

That means there are thousands of new Florida residents and some may have questions about what to expect. A local Facebook group had these questions:

  • Will my car be ok?
  • What should I do to protect my plants?
  • Should I cover landscape bushes and small trees?
  • Do I need to buy special materials to cover my plants?
  • Is there anything I need to do with running water to protect pipes?

Answers ranged from helpful to flippant. I decided to throw in my 2¢ of advise based on living all but my two first years of life in Florida.

Yes, your car will be ok. In Florida we mix water with antifreeze in the car’s coolant system. Not to prevent freezing but to assist with keeping the car’s engine cool during our long, hot summers.(Which I might add seem to go from April through December.) So if your car has antifreeze, no worries.

The need to protect plants and how to protect them is a matter of preference. My rule of thumb is if I have a plant or plants that would be greatly missed, I cover them or if possible bring them inside. I have three hanging baskets of mandevilla flowers that are very sensitive to cold and frost. It’s not very pretty at the moment but in the spring and summer it is lush with flowers

They spend half the year with me in North Carolina and the other half in Florida. I will move them into my daughter’s storage building until the cold passes. We will also be protecting the plumeria, coleus, geranium and poinsettia flowers. Except for the plumeria, they are in pots which we will move close to the house and group snugly together then probably toss a sheet over them.

Big box home improvement stores sell special clothes for covering plants but I think an old sheet or light blanket works just as well. We also use our old beach towels. This might not be aesthetically pleasing but it works. According to the local news station, the trick is to make sure the cover reaches all the way to the ground to retain the days heat. Be sure to put the cover on the plants before sunset so you lose less heat.

I’m not sure about covering landscape bushes. I think it would depend on what one calls a landscape bush. I remember one year we had a nice grouping of crotons.

Image by sandid from Pixabay

We didn’t cover them and they froze. After the cold passed we cut them back and they survived. I often think the occasional freeze in Florida is nature’s way to maintain order. Otherwise, some plants grow to unmanageable size unless one prunes regularly.

It’s not a bad idea to give plants a nice watering before a freeze. It is supposed to help with maintaining heat plus, our cold fronts tend to be accompanied by wind which is particularly drying.

In my whole lifetime in Florida, I have not known anyone whose indoor pipes froze. I am not familiar with north west Florida, so that may be an issue there. The only pipe we had freeze was our outdoor water hose pipe. I remember wanting to turn the water on for some reason and the water wouldn’t flow out. Thinking it had some ice on the inside near the opening, I gave it a few bangs on the sidewalk. To my amazement, the metal fitting on the hose bent. It was Christmas and the year our children received new bicycles. They about froze but were determined to give them a ride.

Freezing temperatures in Florida did bring some fun things. People would leave their yard sprinklers on so that they would wake up to icy fences. The non fun side is the damage to winter crops. At one time Central Florida had vast orange groves and a hard freeze was a disaster. Not far from us is a farm that grows ferns which are very sensitive. They run water sprinklers to incase the ferns in ice which protects them from the lower temperature.

The bottom line for me is don’t put complete trust in the weather forecast. So far in our area, the cold snaps have been colder than the forecasts. But, this one could also be warmer. Who knows? It’s the weather and the weather does what it wants.

And yes, falling Iguanas are real. From a news station a few days ago. Weather is supposed to be even colder starting tonight.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

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