Growing Potted Plants Through The Winter

Plants which have been growing in planters or pots may be more severely affected by the cold of the winter months because their roots aren’t protected from the cold. Plants in the ground experience some protection from the wintry weather by the natural ground insulation around them.

 Plants which have been growing in planters or pots may be more severely affected by the cold of the winter months because their roots aren’t protected from the cold. Plants in the ground experience some protection from the wintry weather by the natural ground insulation around them. But a potted plant may end up frozen, broken or even more exposed when pots break. If plants haven’t been able to go into dormancy, they will be even more at risk. Fortunately there are a few ways to protect your potted plants so that you can enjoy them again next year or even throughout the entire winter.

Use the Natural Insulation of the Ground

There are actually three ways to achieve this result. The first is to actually dig holes deep enough to hold the entire pot. Then the pot is lowered into the ground until the level of the ground is even with the top of the pot. Cover the pot with additional mulching supplies in order to provide more insulation for the roots of the plant.

The second way to create insulation around the roots of the plant is to build a cage around the plant. Pack straw or rags around the potted plant until the entire area between the cage and the plant is full. Consider adding some insulation on top again.

A third way to get almost the same results is to gather all of the pots together and then tuck insulation in wherever you can reach. This will only work in milder climates. And be careful, some types of ceramic or terra cotta planters may break in freezing temperatures and then the plant roots will be exposed to the weather.

Burlap Blankets and Warm Winter Houses

Wrapping trees and roses in burlap is a time-honored method that can be used for potted plants as well. However, you will need to build a frame or pack the burlap with straw to keep the burlap from actually touching the leaves of the plant. This contact could be worse than suffering from freezing temperatures. Other gardeners have built frame houses from bales of hay covered with a piece of glass or Plexiglas, creating a makeshift greenhouse. As soon as the weather starts to warm, you’ll want to remove the glass or provide constant monitoring.

Bring the Potted Plants Inside

With the proper care, potted plants may be moved from outdoors into the home. It is best to get the plants inside before they are exposed to freezing nighttime temperatures. The best area for wintering your potted plants will be unheated, dray and sheltered from any drafts. It is important to pay attention to the wintering plants to be sure that they aren’t drying out or suffering from a lack of enough sunlight.

Some Plants Survive Outside

Evergreens will, of course, do just fine wintering in a pot. And there are several other plants that are hardy enough to make it through the winter:

·         Holly does very well in a pot during the winter. The dark and shiny green leaves provide a lovely contrast to the white and grey coloring of winter.

·         Many ivy topiaries will do well over the winter as well. It has weathered many cold seasons successfully in pots.

·         Vinca is a choice that may surprise some gardeners. It is normally a groundcover, but will do well in a pot and trained to climb.

Your enjoyment of potted plants doesn’t have to end with the passing of warmer months. Successful winterizing can prolong your enjoyment of growing plants all through the winter.

Lawrence Reaves writes for The Growers Exchange, a company offering potted plants, herbs and flowering plants.  For more information on The Growers Exchange and the products they offer, go here.

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