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Sustainable Next Step Blog

Will My Plants Make It Through a Florida Winter?

by Gob Greene

As we know, winters in Florida are much milder than they are in more northern states. But the truth is that plants in Florida, which is a subtropical state, love the heat of Florida summers. So even the short, temperate winters in the Sunshine State can take a toll on these tender and gorgeous plants. 

If you live below a line across the middle of the Florida peninsula, you are in a zone where plants may need a bit of protection during the winter months.  Temperatures, been that far south in the state, get to 30-35 degrees depending on Mother Nature's mood. This Planting Zone Map will help you see how cold the temperature drops typically in each zone in the state.

Basic Plant Choices That Will Survive a Florida Winter Unscathed

1. Most Reliable Trees

In Central Florida, the three best trees to grow are loquats, Japanese persimmons, and loquats. The loquat is not native to Florida (the Orient is its home); the tree grows quickly and well throughout the state. Other Florida-favorites include sand pear trees, fig-trees, peach trees, nectarine, banana trees, jujubes, and apple trees.

2. Root Plants

The plants in this category flourish in our state. They are malanga, cassava, true yams, boniato, arrowroot, yacon, ginger, and sweet potatoes.

3. Citrus Plants

Citrus, which used to be abundant in the state, has many diseases now. Grapefruit tree planting is the only citrus tree that seems to withstand the plagues.

4. Berries

And in the berries and small fruit categories, the options abound, including:

  • Cattley guava
  • Southern Highbush blueberries (if you are careful about the pH)
  • Simpson Stopper
  • Mulberries
  • Mysore raspberries
  • Passionfruit (also a great fence covered)
  • Muscadine grapes

5. Greens and Vegetables

The following vegetables can take the heat, and some are perennials, as well:

  • Malabar spinach
  • Okinawa spinach
  • Snake beans
  • Collards
  • Ethiopian kale
  • Moringa, and more

Plants That Should Come in for the Winter in Florida

There is an incredible number of winter-hardy plants that can be staples of your Florida landscaping. Most container plants will need in-door or shed/greenhouse protection where heat can be present or trapped. Some gardeners put light bed sheets or another light fabric over their plants when and if a frost appears.

If you leave some of your planted bushes, shrubs, or other outdoor plants in the garden or on your landscape, it is useful to water early in the day because this will warm the soil and help plants survive the cold.

Your Next Step

Make sure you take care of your plants, especially if you use them as a source of food like in a garden. As we talked about above, not all plants can live through a sometimes brisk Florida winter so be sure to care for any plants that need to be taken inside.

florida winter plants weather climate

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