If you are a gardener on the east coast, you are no stranger to dealing with the ever-changing elements. Protecting your plants during the cold, wet months of winter can seem like a tireless task, but one that is incredibly important. After all, you spent the warm season caring for and nurturing your garden, you want your plants to survive!
While some plants are made to thrive under the snow (such as tulips, hyacinth, narcissus, or iris that you planted in the fall), others require a bit more care.
Most people who live in zones 2 – 6 (or even 7) have to consider how they will keep their plants alive during the winter months (see image below for your zone). It may sound surprising, but you don’t have to build a greenhouse to be a year-round gardener!
To protect your blooms during chilly and icy weather, follow these tips.
Tips for Keeping Your Plants Alive in the Winter
It might seem like the right thing to do by keeping your plants extra warm during the frigid winter temperatures, but be careful. Just as cold can kill your plants, too much in the opposite direction can also spell disaster. The best temperature zone is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water Less and With Warm Water
Even inside your home, plants will naturally go into a “dormant” stage. While you may not notice on the outside, plants slow their growing cycle. This means they will require less water. A good rule of thumb is to continue watering once per week but cut down on the amount by 25% in the winter months. You can also switch to ‘slightly’ lukewarm water to encourage winter growth. If you notice your plant starting to ‘yellow’ or the soil becoming moldy, reduce the amount you water.
Let There Be Light
Just like humans, plants thrive on sunlight. Plants require sunlight for survival. While sunshine might be in short supply during the winter, make sure to place your plants in an optimal sun area. Whether a dedicated sunroom or a bright spot on your kitchen’s windowsill, the sun will help keep your plants healthy all season.
Plants That Require Extra Protection
For sensitive plants that require a bit more protection, you can do some things to help them survive.
- Line Clay Pots. Creating an extra air pocket between pots and your plants can go a long way in protecting them from the harsh weather. Try lining your pot with bubble wrap to protect the roots. This is actually a good tip for any time of year. During the spring, the bubble wrap can prevent precious moisture from evaporating away from your plant.
- Use Fleece for Extra Protection. If you have particularly sensitive potted plants, wrap them in fleece and move them away from the threat of harsh winter winds. An area, such as a shed, is a good place to store them. You can remove the fleece when the weather starts to warm up. Of course, you should bring any potted plants inside that require a frost-free minimum winter temperature.
In the following list, you’ll find some common household plants that require winter protection:
- Chinese Fan Palm
- Winter Jasmine
While the list above is not complete, it is essential to research your specific plants to know whether they require minimal winter protection or the added protection mentioned above. Of course, if you have questions, we recommend contacting us at 610-640-0164. We can help point you in the right direction, recommend beautiful winter plants (like the amaryllis), or provide more information about keeping your plants alive and thriving all year long!