Frost-damaged plants

Asked February 1, 2017, 9:54 AM EST

During the recent frost in the Houston area temperatures dipped into the low 20's. I had several plants damaged by the frost and need advice as to how to treat them now so that they recover as well as possible.

Hibiscus bushes have lost all their leaves.

Ixoras have most of the leaves turned completely brown but some are still green.

Red Sister Hawaiian Ti plants look completely brown and wilted.

White bird of paradise plants, the large leaves are brown and drooped over but the stalks still look green and alive and there are new green shoots coming up.

Please advise how much of any of these plants I should trim back or any other actions I need to take to save them.

Harris County Texas

1 Response

The plants are likely still alive but may have suffered considerable loss of the stalks and leaves, or even twigs and branches. I would wait until new growth begins in spring to assess the damage and then prune it back accordingly. If you want to prune away any obviously dead material now that is fine. To prune further down the plant you can scratch back the bark with a knife to see if it is still living (cream to light green) or dead ("paper sack brown") in color. Keep working back on the branches until you encounter living tissues and prune back to that point.