PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — While some shrubs, herbs, and even vegetables do well in colder temperatures, other more tropical and subtropical plants don’t weather as well. 

“If it says it can’t tolerate below 50 degrees then as the temperature drops you want to try to bring it indoors,” Horticulture at UF/IFAS Extension Bay County Julie McConnell said. 

Some of the most common plants that need protecting are impatiens, marigolds, tropicals, basil, tomatoes, and peppers. 

“If they still have if you have fruit on a tree, then you might want to try to harvest it because if it gets cold enough and stays cold enough long enough to freeze the fruit, then it’s going to damage the quality,” McConnell said. 

Mcconnell said the safest thing you can do is bring your plants inside. 

If that’s not possible, covering the plants with a thin, non-plastic sheet or blanket can help save your garden. 

“I would just cover the plant and then use some little bricks or some rocks or something to weigh it down just so that it’s not going to fly away in the wind and helps just to trap that heat,” McConnell said. “And then when the sun comes out the next day, I want to make sure to remove it, so it doesn’t get too hot.”

A common mistake people make is securing the covering around the plant like a lollipop. This prevents the heat that’s coming up from the ground from reaching the plant. 

“If the condensation gets in there and freezes, then you can actually have some ice formation that could cause some damage to the foliage or the flowers,” McConnell said. 

If your plants are hurt by the cold, McConnell said not to over-saturate them with regrowth products.  Instead, the best thing you can do is make sure they have an adequate amount of water. 

If you are having trouble determining whether or not your plants are susceptible to the cold, you can email a picture to the UF/IFAS Extension (email) and they will help you determine the best course of action.