There are few things more discouraging than spending all summer tending to your plants just to have the winter months ravage and destroy your hard work. What if there were steps you could take to prevent this destruction from happening?
Save money, time, and resources by protecting your plants against the cold. Get the most life out of your perennials, and don’t start from scratch when spring comes. We’re going to walk you through seven key ways to keep your potted plants safe during the winter months.
7 Ways to Protect Your Potted Plants during Winter
1. Clean Up Your Plants
During your preparation for the coming winter months, be sure to remove any dead leaves and buds from the plant. When left unattended, the plant will continue to devote energy to these areas rather than using that energy elsewhere. This conservation of resources also means you should avoid fertilising your plants in winter. Allow your plants to focus all their energy on maintaining life and weathering the stress of the cold.
2. Opt for the Larger Container
Larger pots allow you to surround your plant with more soil. The excess dirt will insulate the plant’s roots and prevent the container from freezing faster. The size also applies to the thickness of the container. Typically, you want to choose a pot that is at least one inch thick. Larger containers, in both volume and thickness, do not freeze as quickly as smaller containers. As an alternative, you can put your pot into a larger pot for additional protection. Then, you can fill the open space between the pots with insulation material, such as straw, wool, or foam peanuts.
3. The Type of Pot Matters
In addition to size, the material of your pot can make a difference in keeping your plant alive. Pots made of metal, plastic, or synthetics are more likely to withstand freezing conditions. On the other hand, porous pots are more likely to crack during freezing temperatures due to their ability to absorb moisture. This type includes the popular terra-cotta and ceramic pots. To keep these porous pots from breaking, treat the inside of the pot with a coat of pool paint to prevent moisture from entering the surface.
4. Avoid Fluctuating Temperatures
Plants that experience a freeze/thaw cycle are more likely to be subject to injury, particularly to their roots. At times, it may even cause the plant to become removed from its container. To prevent this from happening, avoid placing your potted plants on the pavement. Due to the sun’s effect on heating pavement, this surface is more likely to succumb to temperature changes. To keep the freeze/thaw from happening, place your potted plant on soil, clay, or wooden surfaces instead. These surfaces will keep it at a steadier temperature and prevent it from experiencing fluctuating temperatures.
5. The Earlier You Plant, the Better
By planting early, you allow the roots of your plants to become mature, allowing them to harden off. These conditions give your potted plants a better chance to survive the winter months and the stress they bring. Plants that lack maturity may not be able to sustain themselves and withstand the pressure of the cold temperatures.
6. Keep the Roots Covered
Covering your plants’ roots is a critical step to keeping your potted plants protected during the cold. The roots of the plant are particularly susceptible to weather conditions, and therefore must be covered. There are two ways to go about doing this, and both are necessary for maximum protection. First, use straw, bark mulch, autumn leaves, or even burlap to cover the exposed roots of the plant. Next, you also want to wrap the pot itself. You can insulate your pot using blankets, fleece, or bubble wrap. These methods trap heat, allowing the roots to remain shielded from the cold temperatures.
7. Don’t Forget to Water
Watering plants during winter is just as, if not more, important than during warmer seasons because there is much less rainfall occurring. In addition to this, watering is essential during windy and sunny days. Be sure to pay attention to the forecast for the coming days, as you will want to try and water your plants outside of freezing conditions. The best time to water is when the temperatures are warmest for the day. You should water the plant until the water runs out of the bottom of the pot to ensure the plants have an adequate amount of water.
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Maintaining your yard can be a job, and keeping your plants alive—especially during winter—can be difficult.
However, you don’t have to do it alone.
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