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Florida winter 2023-2024


flplantguy

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I'm ok with it being a short winter after all that has happened further north. Are the tropics expanding? I hope so myself just a little.

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15 hours ago, flplantguy said:

I'm ok with it being a short winter after all that has happened further north. Are the tropics expanding? I hope so myself just a little.

You and I both know the tropics continue expanding until they don't 😉.  It takes one catastrophic night to "correct" 40 years of over zealousness 😄 

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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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3 hours ago, SubTropicRay said:

You and I both know the tropics continue expanding until they don't 😉.  It takes one catastrophic night to "correct" 40 years of over zealousness 😄 

"zone pushing" is not a sport for the weak hearted.

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I had someone tell me last night they are growing coconuts in Pasco (as in for food). They are new here and so I just told him "you will see".  I can hope the stair step effect helps us but I also prepare for the worst too.

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I don't get on this Forum very often but  I thought it notable , after   checking  my snowfall amounts over a past number  years , and I've had only  2" of snow in over 6 years . I had one  2" snow 2 years ago and nothing before that till 12/10/2018 . I average 7" in a typical winter of snow , ice , sleet . 

Anybody else have interesting snow ,ice , sleet data ? 

Thanks ,

Will

Paco's first snow 2 years ago . A heavy wet  snow .

 

IMG_2327.thumb.jpeg.552aba89cfe362653cc6a5a58a9d6794.jpeg

Edited by Will Simpson
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  • 2 weeks later...

Then I guess then I will wait a couple more weeks before I trim my many arecas. I always get an itch this time of year to trim and fertilize all my palms.

Edited by TampaPalms
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Sure looks like we are in for at least a couple turbulent weeks (already many low pressure systems look to traverse the state) with several chilly intrusions. By February 20th essentially all of peninsular Florida has a solar noon sun angle of 50 degrees or higher and average temperatures of 70 degrees or more. It will he be an interesting battle between the inevitability of spring and El Nino's last big wintry attempt for the Eastern US. I, for one, beleive in the mighty sun!

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I’m seeing a few mid 40’s projected the next 10days out for my Wekiva Springs area. I’ll also have to temper the itch to start planting now. 

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Looking more like this big return to consistent colder weather in the Eastern US to close out the winter season may not materialize. Or too little, too late (for all the apparent snow weenies of the eastern US).  

Here is an interesting thread with some theories as to why a lot of long range forecasts have been busting over the past couple of years.

 

 

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Florida winter is DEAD.

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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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19 hours ago, ChristianStAug said:

Looking more like this big return to consistent colder weather in the Eastern US to close out the winter season may not materialize. Or too little, too late (for all the apparent snow weenies of the eastern US).  

Here is an interesting thread with some theories as to why a lot of long range forecasts have been busting over the past couple of years.

 

Yep, I was about to post something similar too about these forecasted trends not panning out. It sure seemed inevitable earlier though. This guy's twitter thread explains it very well.

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It's been crazy warm here even where I'm at lately, breaking 70 degrees with summer-like humidity. But it's not just Florida, Wisconsin had its first tornado in February in recent recorded history as well as the snowpack largely melting as far north as the UP of Michigan. 

Yet I can remember some winters in the past where February seemed colder than January. The last cold Februarys we had were 2010 and 2015. 2010 we had snow flurries and 2015 had low 20's at my location with near freezing temperatures making it all the way to the Orlando area late in the month. 

FL winter might be almost dead for you peninsula folk, but here in the Panhandle, we'll be dealing with near freezing temperatures tomorrow night, and then around February 19th, freezing temperatures could impact the area. Also, just as fast as this predicted cold pattern fell apart, things could trend colder again more closer term unexpectedly.

And the last two winters, we've had sub 30 deg temperatures in March in the Panhandle. So I won't be breathing easy just yet.

ecmwf2.thumb.JPG.8f1dc6b285dca0fc7f52f7479ae70182.JPG

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2 hours ago, SubTropicRay said:

Florida winter is DEAD.

I concur, winter of 2023-2024 is over. 😀

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Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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3 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

I concur, winter of 2023-2024 is over. 😀

The Peninsula is a whole different world climate-wise compared to the Panhandle... Winter is definitely not dead up here though.

Near freezing temps forecast for tomorrow night, and my location which should now be well into 9a zone at this point with the new maps already got to 8b temps this winter (19 degrees), and last winter getting to 18 degrees with 3 nights in a row of sub 25 degree temps has not been easy on or tropical/marginals/zone pushing plants.

Right now, my backyard looks like a warzone with dead ginger stalks and dead plant debris all over. My two remaining citrus (out of 5 before 2022 Christmas arctic freeze) partially defoliated with leaves all over the ground (are orange trees which will survive thankfully). 

It amazes me how well you guys in the peninsula have gotten off for the last 5 winters (since Jan 2018). It seems that the ability for arctic air to push down there has been lost in recent times. It kind of conflicts me, as I do love to see tropicals survive and flourish in the warmer winters, but it frustrates me that in such times, invasive species thrive and move north even more and natural ecosystems miss out on winter chill that plays an important part of their cycles.

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49 minutes ago, Matthew92 said:

The Peninsula is a whole different world climate-wise compared to the Panhandle... Winter is definitely not dead up here though.

Near freezing temps forecast for tomorrow night, and my location which should now be well into 9a zone at this point with the new maps already got to 8b temps this winter (19 degrees), and last winter getting to 18 degrees with 3 nights in a row of sub 25 degree temps has not been easy on or tropical/marginals/zone pushing plants.

Right now, my backyard looks like a warzone with dead ginger stalks and dead plant debris all over. My two remaining citrus (out of 5 before 2022 Christmas arctic freeze) partially defoliated with leaves all over the ground (are orange trees which will survive thankfully). 

It amazes me how well you guys in the peninsula have gotten off for the last 5 winters (since Jan 2018). It seems that the ability for arctic air to push down there has been lost in recent times. It kind of conflicts me, as I do love to see tropicals survive and flourish in the warmer winters, but it frustrates me that in such times, invasive species thrive and move north even more and natural ecosystems miss out on winter chill that plays an important part of their cycles.

I have been wondering why this is too. Even the cold spots on the central peninsula didn't freeze, but the panhandle was slammed again. Our coldest night was 33 on the tail end of the polar outbreak, which is above what is expected for a winter low here, yet you were below. Again. The expansion of the invasive species scares me too, Brazilian pepper is here already and some others are not far behind.  It seems we miss half the big freezes lately and the others are less impactful, a trend that hopefully doesn't keep going much longer.

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1 hour ago, flplantguy said:

I have been wondering why this is too. Even the cold spots on the central peninsula didn't freeze, but the panhandle was slammed again. Our coldest night was 33 on the tail end of the polar outbreak, which is above what is expected for a winter low here, yet you were below. Again. The expansion of the invasive species scares me too, Brazilian pepper is here already and some others are not far behind.  It seems we miss half the big freezes lately and the others are less impactful, a trend that hopefully doesn't keep going much longer.

Yes, I think much of it is that there hasn't been an absence of far south reaching polar/arctic air outbreaks, it's just that the weather pattern/dynamics simply hasn't aligned for such cold air to be injected specifically down the peninsula of FL. I always think of Texas Feb 2021 where places at the same latitude as Central/South FL got unbelievably cold temps not seen since the 80's. So the potential for it to happen I think is still there (despite the otherwise warming climate), it's just that the dynamics haven't aligned for it to do so lately. And since there is less cold air reserves up north as winters are getting warmer, it takes that much more of a potent weather system/dynamic to get that air down this far south and east.

And regarding invasive species, a couple years ago, for the first time a Brazilian pepper was found growing up here on the Eglin Air force base range land here in the FL Panhandle. That was during the period where we had some warm winters here post-Jan 2018 pre-Christmas 2022, so I'd imagine if there were any progeny from that one they were probably killed with the hard freezes these last two winters. 

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4 hours ago, SubTropicRay said:

Florida winter is DEAD.

Cheers!

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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7 hours ago, SubTropicRay said:

Florida winter is DEAD.

Don't jinx it...

 

South Florida

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It looks like my low for the season was 41.5F.  Warmer than usual.  

Brevard County, Fl

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4 hours ago, Matthew92 said:

Yes, I think much of it is that there hasn't been an absence of far south reaching polar/arctic air outbreaks, it's just that the weather pattern/dynamics simply hasn't aligned for such cold air to be injected specifically down the peninsula of FL. I always think of Texas Feb 2021 where places at the same latitude as Central/South FL got unbelievably cold temps not seen since the 80's. So the potential for it to happen I think is still there (despite the otherwise warming climate), it's just that the dynamics haven't aligned for it to do so lately. And since there is less cold air reserves up north as winters are getting warmer, it takes that much more of a potent weather system/dynamic to get that air down this far south and east.

And regarding invasive species, a couple years ago, for the first time a Brazilian pepper was found growing up here on the Eglin Air force base range land here in the FL Panhandle. That was during the period where we had some warm winters here post-Jan 2018 pre-Christmas 2022, so I'd imagine if there were any progeny from that one they were probably killed with the hard freezes these last two winters. 

Upstream from Corpus is the Hill Country. Behind that, the Rockies.

Upstream from Winter Haven is the Gulf of Mexico. No comparison.

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4 hours ago, Matthew92 said:

 

And regarding invasive species, a couple years ago, for the first time a Brazilian pepper was found growing up here on the Eglin Air force base range land here in the FL Panhandle. That was during the period where we had some warm winters here post-Jan 2018 pre-Christmas 2022, so I'd imagine if there were any progeny from that one they were probably killed with the hard freezes these last two winters. 

I'd be careful to think a cold winter would knock these out, established specimens at least..   If you look at iNat data, there are observations of it up where you're at from this year.. Same thing around Houston. Observation from coastal Georgia ( 2022) also.  Bet more will be found there.

Screenshot2024-02-12at14-23-08Brazilianpepper(Schinusterebinthifolia).thumb.png.db60bfc7a721b0cbd51887d67ed8cbcf.png

Is quickly becoming a nightmare in CA as well.  Will be our next nightmare if specimens planted here aren't removed asap ( I get seed popping up in my yard from a tree located a quarter mile away )
 

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1 hour ago, SeanK said:

Upstream from Corpus is the Hill Country. Behind that, the Rockies.

Upstream from Winter Haven is the Gulf of Mexico. No comparison.

Yes having the Gulf/Atlantic on all sides of the peninsula makes it a little more tricky to get such hard freezing temps down into the peninsula, but if it comes in more directly from the north, there's less moderation that takes effect. If the arctic air from Feb 2021 that hit Texas moved directly to Florida instead, there probably would have been cold temps not seen in decades. There's a point too where if the cold air outbreak is advective/windy enough, the ocean has less of an effect. 

So yes it's harder for the freezing air to spill into the "narrow" FL peninsula than go into TX, but it still is true that we haven't had the weather dynamics align in such a way to really push it down there in recent times, but it still is possible a record cold wave could happen again. 

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22 minutes ago, Matthew92 said:

30 deg here this morning.

I only had 33F this morning despite the forecast for 31F. I would have definitely gone lower than 31F if I didn’t have a burst of wind early this morning.
 

At about 2 AM, the temperature was 34F, the wind suddenly picked up out of nowhere. This wind caused my temperature to rise to a whopping 40F by 4:30 AM. But, by that time the wind was calming down and so the temperature started gradually dropping again after 4:30 AM. It wasn’t until about 6:30 AM that the wind stopped entirely which allowed the temperature to tank to 33F briefly before the sun started heating things up.

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Palms - 4 S. romanzoffiana, 1 W. bifurcata, 4 W. robusta, 1 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 4 S. palmetto, 1 A. merillii, 2 P. canariensis, 1 BxJ, 1 BxJxBxS, 1 BxS, 3 P. roebelenii, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 H. verschaffeltii, 9 T. fortunei, 1 C. humilis, 2 C. macrocarpa, 1 L. chinensis, 1 R. excelsa

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After effects of 19 degree Jan freeze. (taken Feb 18th)

White Ginger (Hedychium coronarium), Hawaiian Ti (Cordyline fruticosa) and Foxtail fern all nuked (though will come back just fine). The Hawaiian Ti comes back more slowly. The height you see here is how tall they get each year when they are grown as a die-back perennial like this.

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Leafless Hydrangea shrubs, Dogwood (Cornus florida), Chickasaw plum (Prunus angustifolia). The two leafless trees in large pots are Quercus texana (Nuttall Oak) I sprouted from acorns in early 2022. Gorgeous, super fast growing tree (in good soil that is) that should be used more in the northern half of FL (iffy in parts of Central FL). Unlike Live oak/sand live oak, the Nuttall oak has a straight leader and is not as irregularly multibranched. One of them is already around 7 feet tall. One source I found online described their growth habit like that of a White Pine tree.

IMG_81062.thumb.jpg.d0ddfde40cb92683ae639f308db04317.jpg

Our butterfly garden. Basically everything will have to start from the ground up (Firebush, Plumbago, Pink Jatropha, Coneflower, Firecracker plant, Sinningia tubiflora, Pineapple Sage, Cuphea, among others...)

IMG_81094.thumb.jpg.070c8d44b362e4299d84f1c4d1512c97.jpg

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After effects of 19 degree freeze in January (taken Feb 18th). 

Chamaedorea microspadix with leaf burn. Planted in 2021. All was able to do was wrap some towels around the base to protect the suckers if the freeze was cold enough. They should survive with just a little setback maybe. I need to enrich the poor sandy soil more this year as they have not been super vigorous and have had a slightly lime green color (I think I will top dress the soil with Mushroom Compost). 

IMG_8107.thumb.jpg.e336661eeeb62fc96bc1c65bdfd8e907.jpg

Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku' (Coral bark Japanese Maple). The red twigs really stand out during winter. This is a vigorous Japanese maple cultivar that has done very well here (planted in 2021). I've had to do a lot of corrective pruning on it though as it wants to be irregularly branched (it looked a lot different branching-wise when initially planted). 

IMG_81083.thumb.jpg.93583d62771f74c708ccf2bbdcfb5503.jpg

My two remaining citrus trees after Christmas 2022 freeze (lost Ruby Red Grapefruit, Meyer Lemon, and Ponkan tangerine). Parson Brown orange on left and Glen Navel Orange on right. Despite some leaf loss and slight twig damage they should recover just fine.

IMG_81105.thumb.jpg.8ec2c06282b0a368d5c67e0e660d75da.jpg

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FYI, Florida winter is DEAD!

image.thumb.png.9f379270a61c052aa9b9b9b0353e1fa6.png

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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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1 hour ago, SubTropicRay said:

FYI, Florida winter is DEAD!

image.thumb.png.9f379270a61c052aa9b9b9b0353e1fa6.png

Thats great because the dreariness is getting old.

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Grateful for the lack of frosts and freezes, but boy has it felt cool! 40s in the morning are getting old. Just average weather is lovely this time of year, that is all I am asking for. :) Although I would not complain if we received some 80s out of the deal.  We have not had our heat on so consistently in years. If you look at how February has gone and how it looks to go for the next couple of weeks, there are never more than 2 above average days in a row between cooler shots of 5+ days. I love seeing the warm NOAA map, but my 10+ day forecasts don't reflect it.

Accuweather's month outlook, as an example, has us not hitting average temps for the majority of March.  I hope it is wrong. I need some heat!

Screenshot2024-02-22at11_02_16AM.thumb.png.517d26d047c3ad13472c5bb651928b50.png

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1 hour ago, ChristianStAug said:

I love seeing the warm NOAA map, but my 10+ day forecasts don't reflect it.

Accuweather's month outlook, as an example, has us not hitting average temps for the majority of March.  I hope it is wrong. I need some heat!

While i do agree that both here and there, " Winter " is pretty much done,  I myself don't place all my eggs into either the 10 / 14 or 3 week outlook basket, nor into whatever " Accu " ( often more " in "- accurate ) Weather is suggesting more than 6 days out..  Here at least, their forecasts have been all over the place, and change fairly regularly .. .and have been wrong many times.

While it too is more of a suggestion,  rather than something to bet the house on,  i do put a bit more confidence in what the MJO is up to..  Below are some of it's current " thoughts " as we head forward..    Again though, they are just  thoughts  ...and thoughts on what the overall pattern can  look like  -if-  the pattern progresses  -as suggested.  

That said, as you can see, ...Me thinks winter is pretty much in the bag for this year  ...unless something big changes of course..  Doesn't mean the end of -any- cool -ish weather, ..but think anything sub 40F,  here or there ..in most areas anyway  is much less likely.

Current GFS and ECMWF " thoughts "

Screenshot2024-02-22at09-39-10CPC-ClimateWeatherLinkageMadden-JulianOscillation.png.74fcae9fe2577e3b53fb41d8cc1e345e.png

Screenshot2024-02-22at09-39-47CPC-ClimateWeatherLinkageMadden-JulianOscillation.png.c4332ff05e96a9b8168cb68eb515ba45.png

Screenshot2024-02-22at09-39-39CPC-ClimateWeatherLinkageMadden-JulianOscillation.png.3c8a20f312d9d235451b801da2fa933e.png

Screenshot2024-02-22at09-40-02CPC-ClimateWeatherLinkageMadden-JulianOscillation.png.d56894ac9205e903aec9dc4033c40d81.png


Suggested MJO phase- induced WX pattern for the March / April / May timeframe ( Temperatures in this case ) per MJO phase.  Note how both Phase # 2 and 3 are the " coolest " overall / Rest are mild / warm / warmer,  though FL / Southeast / eastern U.S. can lean cooler when the MJO is passing through phase #1 and 4 too. ...We'll see...

Screenshot2024-02-22at09-38-42ClimatePredictionCenter-MJOTemperatureCompositesandSignificance.png.21273bd96644486806a7da9a18e58e92.png

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I myself am fine with planting palms and fertilizing hardier stuff at this point as we start seeing highs in the mid to upper 70’s up this way (long time no see), but fertilizing less hardy stuff and/or planting bananas etc doesn’t seem like a good idea until we get into early March and can see that the threat of freeze is over until next winter. As far as I’m concerned I’m at risk for frost until the end of March unless forecasts suggest otherwise once we reach early to mid March.
 

In other news the maples are in full flower mode right now, the cannas are all coming back and the bananas are growing or throwing up suckers now. Sure as hell feels like the beginnings of spring. Also the fact that there is now a yellow ring around dried up puddles and the vehicles all turning yellow also suggests that it’s spring lol

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Palms - 4 S. romanzoffiana, 1 W. bifurcata, 4 W. robusta, 1 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 4 S. palmetto, 1 A. merillii, 2 P. canariensis, 1 BxJ, 1 BxJxBxS, 1 BxS, 3 P. roebelenii, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 H. verschaffeltii, 9 T. fortunei, 1 C. humilis, 2 C. macrocarpa, 1 L. chinensis, 1 R. excelsa

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Down this way it’s been a weird winter.  Mild warm days in the 70s and cool nights in the 60s and 50s, kind of gloomy and not overly dry.   No real cold spells, but not much heat either.  Normally there are still a lot of days in the 80s in winter here, so it feels a bit cooler than usual.  Bromeliads seem to love this weather, as do the cool season weeds.   

Livistona chinensis is doing its years spring flowering out front, maybe slightly later than usual, so that marks my spring fertilization reminder.   Been planting out a lot of bromeliads so they can get acclimated for summer sun, and have a few small palms on deck too.  
E5C6E3BB-1DB7-472E-9568-F43205DABEF2.thumb.jpeg.47630ceec3fb07fdfbbd6f03ef6af15b.jpeg

CA35E706-1ED5-46CE-B71C-829ED9C5DD8A.thumb.jpeg.1c772772c6bb4cd50041ed46398d0aca.jpeg

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The nurseries are starting to get the tropical plants in stock. This sucks because I’m trying to limit myself from buying too much this year but….ughhh 
 

Bought another banana and hibiscus today 

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Palms - 4 S. romanzoffiana, 1 W. bifurcata, 4 W. robusta, 1 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 4 S. palmetto, 1 A. merillii, 2 P. canariensis, 1 BxJ, 1 BxJxBxS, 1 BxS, 3 P. roebelenii, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 H. verschaffeltii, 9 T. fortunei, 1 C. humilis, 2 C. macrocarpa, 1 L. chinensis, 1 R. excelsa

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On 2/24/2024 at 10:24 AM, JLM said:

The nurseries are starting to get the tropical plants in stock. This sucks because I’m trying to limit myself from buying too much this year but….ughhh 
 

Bought another banana and hibiscus today 

Methinks the banana and hibiscus need more friends. Which reminds me that I need to buy some more myself, plus another coconut tree and a lime to replace the one I killed since I can’t figure a consistent watering pattern for the dry season. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

36 deg here this morning with frost. NWS curiously didn't put out any frost advisory. 

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It's crazy to think that 31 years ago Northwest FL got into the low 20's and had accumulating snowfall. It blows my mind that it got that cold this late. That would be devasting today as many people have become accustomed to planting their tropicals and tender annuals now in February (or even January) with these milder winters. 

https://x.com/burgwx/status/1635052587463630848?s=20

93st.JPG.6a49440afe1d8939ed4f46bb3b7e38ad.JPG

Edited by Matthew92
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