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Preparing your plants for the dreaded cold winter weather will keep your garden looking vibrant and healthy right through to the spring. Shielding plants from harsh winds and frost is key if you want to be successful with your winter crops and blooms and it’s prime time to get organised before the plummeting climate makes a turn for the worse. With these expert-approved tips, you can get your plants winter-savvy in no time.
How to shield plants in the winter
The best way to shield your plants from wind damage and frost is to get organised and take preventative measures in the autumn.
As the weather turns noticeably colder, it’s the perfect time to start insulating your plants.
Choosing hardy varieties to plant in your garden this October is a sure-fire way to make sure your plants survive the winter
Potting, shelter and wrapping are also key tasks to focus on this month to give your garden crops a fighting chance next season.
Choose the right pots
One of the most appealing things about pots is the many varieties and styles available.
With a wide range of materials, sizes and shapes to choose from, choosing the right kind for winter plants is easily done with so much choice.
While terracotta pots suit a Mediterranean style garden perfectly, they tend to crack easily with the change in temperature and harsh frosts due to their porous properties.
Instead, opt for:
- Glazed terracotta pots
- Plastic pots
- Stone pots
- Fibreglass pots
Bubble wrap pots to avoid freezing soil
Just like us, our outdoor plants can struggle with the continuous change in the weather.
Wrapping pots with bubble wrap will act as a jacket for your plants to keep them warm while the cold weather wages on through your garden.
Creating this insulating layer will protect the roots of your plants to stop the freeze/thaw cycle
By preventing the roots from freezing, they can’t be damaged by the thawing process beneath the soil.
Speaking Exclusively to Express.co.uk, Richard Cheshire of Patch Plants said: “Group your pots together for mutual protection from any cold wind draught.
“It is also best to stop feeding your plant, as winter comes, most plants slow down and some even become dormant, so they do not need added nutrients.”
- Don’t worry if the snow covers the top of your plant, the white blanket will also protect your plant’s roots from the wind and cold.
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Shelter your plants indoors
Bringing your plants indoors will undoubtedly keep them safe from the wet and windy winter weather.
With 85 percent of us Brits already turning on our central heating, it’s best to place plants in unheated out-houses, like a greenhouse, a garage or a shed.
Begin the sheltering process by getting your plants used to sheltered spots.
Move your pots and plants to the most sheltered area of your urban garden for a couple of weeks before bringing them indoors.
Speaking Exclusively to Express.co.uk, Richard said: “In general, try to avoid dramatic changes that could shock your plants, such as moving them from a bright spot to one with little light or from outdoors to a warm room indoors.”
Choose hardy varieties for rooftop and balcony gardens
If your garden is slightly higher up than most, your plants are more exposed to the elements which could cause severe damage in the winter.
Choose hardy winter plants for your rooftop or balcony garden to give your sky-line garden a new lease of life through the winter.
Richard said: “Ultimately, you need to trust that your plants are probably tougher than they look, and with time you will learn what corners of your urban garden each of your plants prefer.”
The Royal Horticultural Society recommends the following hardy winter plants:
- Coronilla Valentina subsp. glauca.
- Helleborus niger.
- Mahonia × media ‘Winter Sun’
- Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna.
- Stachyurus praecox.
How to care for indoor plants during the winter
Indoor plants are very much sheltered from the extreme weather seen from the window but there are a few winter-related risks you should be aware of.
As the heating goes on and we bask in the warmth of our cosy homes, plants can become easily parched if left next to a heat source.
Keep humid-loving plants in warmer rooms away from hot radiators and cold draughts.
Remember that most plants go through a dormant phase throughout winter and will need less frequent watering – allow the soil to dry before topping up.
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