Another Damage Report


This is how my garden looked in early winter.  Lush with gingers, elephant ears, monstera, peace lily, tis and palms, it really was starting to look like south Florida, at least to me...


 And this is what over a week of temps down to the low 20's (and several frosts after that) will do to a tropical paradise.


Here's the interesting thing about this scene of carnage: Everything lived!  

My lovely gingers died almost all the way to the ground, with the denser areas faring the best.  Each year from now the clump will grow thicker, providing extra protection from frost and so will look better every winter.
 You can see that I added a new ti plant, but my "red sister" variety died back a bit.  However, every spring around here they bounce back with new trunks sprouting from the main one.  Its just as if I pruned it back with frost. One of my "kiwi" varieties actually still has leaves, having a little protection from dead leaves overhead.
My monstera deliciosa, one of the most tender plants in the garden, was well protected in the very corner of the yard and has some firm, green trunks on it!
My peace lilies are pushing out new leaves as we speak!  Literally right now!  Really!
A couple of my pygmy date palms didn't make it, but the ones underneath other plants did fine.  My fishtail palm burnt all of its leaves, but the spears don't pull out so I'm hoping...
My paurotis palms and bottlebrushes got a little burnt, but they're doing alright.  The bottlebrushes are finally about to bloom too!  You hear that Floridagirl?  Soon I'll have some great photos too!
Fuzzy golden flowerbuds are telling me that my Tabebuia should bloom soon!  As long as that tree makes it, everythings gonna be okay.

Now the real winners of my garden are these troopers that didn't flinch this winter (maybe a little) and should be used more in a 9a garden for winter beauty.

Dahoon Holly
Weeping Yaupon Holly
Lily of the Nile
Aechmea Distichantha
Aechmea Gamosepala
Pineapple Guava
Chamaedorea Microspadix
Chamadorea Radicalis
Cordyline Australis

This list isn't extensive, these are just the plants that cheered me up this dreadful winter and still look tropical enough the rest of the year.  Oh yeah, there's supposed to be another frost tonight.  Yay!


  1. So glad to hear how positive you are, and of course this will just make your plants hardier. It is amazing what setbacks plants will survive, and I am sure that your garden will be looking as lovely as ever in a few short months. The good thing about a freeze such as the one you have just is that it also kills off some of the bad bugs. I am sure you are going to have a lovely summer, looking forward to some wonderful photos!

  2. RFG...I have some thoughts on the ti plants. I grow many cultivars. Experience has taught me that they all get burned, but 'Black Magic' is slowest to recover each year, so those get protection in my garden. (They're lookin' good right now.) The others will look good again by summer. And this is what is so interesting: my one and only 'Kiwi' is always the least damaged. Thought that was interesting when I read your 'Kiwi' assessment. My ti's are all planted close to other cultivars, so I'm beginning to think some are hardier than others. Just thinkin'.

    Word of Caution: Last year, I left a very dead-looking pygmy date palm in its bed for many months. Just as I was going to remove it, I saw new leaves coming out of the crown. It looked beautiful again by fall. These are hardier than we think, if you can stand the brown in winter. Same with Plumeria rubra and P. pudica. But...In good winters, they look amazing!

    Happy Spring!

  3. Thanks guys,
    africanaussie, not only will the cold help, we also get tons of baby treefrogs and green lizards every year! I love watching them snap up all those yummy bugs...

    Floridagirl, you know what? My black magic ti was the hardest hit of them all!It died all the way to the ground and I don't know if it will recover. Its interesting that the kiwi does the best, since it looks the most fragile of them all with its tiny stems and leaves.
    The pygmy date palms I spoke of are pretty dead i think... The spears pulled out! The trunk is still green though for some reason. My plumeria's trunk is still firm, so I'm pretty confident. There's also a big one at the Jacksonville zoo, and a bunch in old neighborhoods of the well to do around here.

  4. Hope everything will come back to its glory for you in spring and summer! It looked very south florida to me before the damage!

  5. RFG, I'm so sorry to see the sad photo. Your garden looked so nice last summer...I'm sure it'll recover! We've had so many cold nights! I live by Floridagirl's words of wisdom..she's not led me astray yet!

  6. Im still at shock to note the difference between the before & after the frost.

    I wonder - What if you put a long sheet of plastic and drape above the plants - can it spare the frost from damaging to plants?
    Just my thoughts.

  7. I have a hard time with Ti plants. They grow back very slowly and only start to look good in late fall, right before the next frost. Last year I was smart took cuttings that I brought into the house. They root like crazy! These did well. Any advice on jump starting Ti plants in the spring?

    I had great success with daylilies this year. I was so ardently tropical that I snubbed daylilies for a long time, until my hubby said it was his favorite flower. They did great with the frosts.


Please feel free to share your questions, ideas and suggestions!