January and February are the coldest months in Florida, and plants can be damaged by low temperatures. But with your help, cold-damaged plants can often recover.
After a freeze, see if your plants are dry. Even injured plants need water. Don't prune cold-damaged plants right away. The dead foliage looks bad, but will help insulate plants from further injury.
In the spring, assess the extent of the damage by scraping the bark with your fingernail. Cold-injured wood will be black or brown under the bark.
To be certain where to prune, wait until plants begin to sprout new growth. Once the danger of frost has passed, an application of fertilizer can help speed recovery.
- Master Gardener FAQ: After the Freeze
- Planting Pinellas: What to Do After a Freeze
- Protecting Ornamental Plants from the Cold
- Q&A: Does Cold Kill St. Augustine Grass?
- Bundle Up Your Plants for Winter (PDF)
- Cold Damage on Plants (PDF)
- Cold Protection of Ornamental Plants
- Dealing with Frost Damage (PDF)
- Fighting Florida's Fickle Frost (PDF)
- Treating Cold-Damaged Palms
Also on Gardening in a Minute
- Cold Damage to Turf
- Plant Dormancy
- Preparing the Landscape for Cold Weather
- Protecting Citrus from Cold
- Protecting Your Plants from the Cold
- Best to Wait and See After a Freeze--Southwest View (NV)
- Cold Damage--Clemson (SC) Cooperative Extension
- Identification and Prevention of Frost or Freeze Damage--Arizona Cooperative Extension
- Wait and See Before Assessing Cold Damage--Mississippi State University Extension Service