• Experts advise Central Florida residents to protect sensitive plants from cold

    By: Ken Tyndall

    Updated:

    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - As temperatures were forecast to drop to new lows in Central Florida over the next few days, workers at Lukas Nursery in Oviedo were busy getting potted plants out of the cold.

    They encouraged residents to do the same.

    “We’re putting them all into our buildings, our greenhouses and places that are going to keep warm and take the chill off the plants,” Caleb Lukas said.

    Cold -- and frost, which is possible in the days ahead -- can damage or kill tropical plants, so Lukas urged residents to bring potted plants inside or put them in the garage.

    Plants that can’t be moved should be covered, he said.

    Winter Springs resident Marge Melvin has lived in Central Florida long enough to know what the cold can do to sensitive plants, and she was ready to cover hers with frost blankets.

    “They turn brown (and) they die,” she said. “So, yeah, and I love these because it’s, like, a blanket. I used to put sheets on (the plants), but these are a lot nicer. They’ve got a stake and they hold them in place.”

    Spreading a frost blanket over tropical flowers is easy, but some blankets are better than others, Lukas said.

    Residents should not use plastic tarps, because they can smother the plant, and the blankets should not be left over the plants for an extended period of time, he said.

    “It’s detrimental to the plant in the daytime, because it’s not able to breathe,” Lukas said. “And then, that sun kind of creates a greenhouse effect of scorching it.”

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