Protect Your Plants from Winter’s Chill

Winter is here! While you might be able to shelter your potted plants in the garage or basement, the rest of your garden will be exposed to the brunt of the cold. Defend your plants from the elements with some time-tested tips.

Create a Mini Sauna

A few days before a predicted freeze, water the ground around your plants to keep the soil damp but not wet. This creates humidity, which slows temperature changes and allows the plants more time to enjoy the warmth. Water them again a few hours before the temperature is supposed to drop so they have time to absorb the moisture before it gets too cold.

plants covered in fabric for the winter

Pull Up the Covers

When temperatures aren’t expected to drop drastically, drape old sheets and blankets over your plants to trap the natural heat emitted from the soil. If you choose to add an extra layer of plastic or tarp over the blankets and sheets for increased insulation, make sure the plastic doesn’t touch your plants, causing freeze damage. Protect against frigid gusts of wind by using bricks or rocks to anchor everything down; prevent condensation and possible freezing by removing the covers each morning.

Get to the Root of the Issue

Severe cold snaps will likely destroy most – if not all – of a plant, but the root system can survive with a little extra warmth. Before temperatures drop, pile 4 to 6 inches of mulch or hay around your plants. If you want extra insurance, fill recycled milk jugs with warm water and embed them in the mulch at night.

Another option is to create an insulation barrier. Start by tying up stems with twine to minimize the plant’s circumference. Then drive stakes into the ground around the plant, fill the area with mulch or hay and cover with burlap. Don’t forget to remove everything after the freeze passes so the plant can get sunlight again!

Stay tuned to your local weather station, keep your plants warm, water them when you can and you’ll see plenty of green next spring!