This winter’s extremely cold weather in Louisiana has stunted or even killed many of the tropical plants that normally flourish in Louisiana. Horticulture expert Dan Gill with the LSU Ag Center says it’s a good idea to not be in a hurry to give up on a plant this soon after the extreme cold snap. He says they aren’t used to the chilly weather, but could rebound.
"I generally recommend people wait until at least March and even into April for tropical plants to sprout back out again."
Within days many plants looked dead or dying, giving plants an ugly look that they normally don’t take on. Gill says the urge might be to clean up the plants right away, but you may be getting rid of vegetation that might come back to life later in the spring.
"If you can tell for sure what's dead on a plant, feel free to prune it off. But don't be in a real quick hurry to do it. Let the plant sprout back out and you can see more clearly what's alive and what's dead."
Gill says you can check wood based plants and trees easily to see if they’re still alive. It’s called the scratch test.
"Take your thumbnail and starting in the upper part of the plant, just scratch the bark lightly with your thumb. If the tissue is green, it means that part of the plant is still alive."
He says some plants won’t begin rebounding until March or April and in some cases like trees, it could be summer before you can properly assess if they are still alive.