Winter is coming and that means it's time to make sure that the plants on your patio, balcony or garden will make it through the cold weather. Whether they're winter-hardy or not, with these tips every outdoor plant will survive the dark days of the year.
Perennials, shrubs or conifers are hardy plants that can simply be left outside in winter. The roots of these species can withstand frost and the above-ground parts such as leaves sometimes will as well. Some hardy plants do lose their leaves, but they will return in springtime. Winter-hardy plants that we recommend for your outdoor areas include buddleja, blue fescue, Caryopteris clandonensis and hydrangea.
Not all hardy plants are equally hardy. Some plants can take a beating, but will suffer if the ground freezes over for a long time. Protect perennials from persistent frost by keeping them out of the wind and covering them with a fleece or plant cover if the temperature drops substantially.
Plants that aren't winter hardy
Many potted plants aren't hardy, because the roots are less protected against the cold than a plant in the garden. In addition, many potted plants are non-native species that aren't used to low temperatures. It's therefore better to let these plants overwinter in a greenhouse or conservatory.
In the greenhouse, check that the temperature does not fall below five degrees. Place the pots on a few pieces of insulating floor or on shelves, and make sure that the branches aren't touching the glass or a wall. You can also simulate greenhouse conditions in a cool room, a basement, storage room, garage, attic or shed. Sometimes however the air in these places is often a little too dry and not enough light enters. So consider each place carefully before deciding whether you will convert it into a plant shelter.
Another option is to leave plants outside with a jacket. Wrap the plant pot with bubble wrap or put a special cover around it. This will keep the roots warm and prevent the pot from breaking due to frost. Wrap the plant in non-woven cloth, or put a plant cover around it (all for sale at the garden center). If it will freeze for a long time (-10 ° C and colder), then it is wise to look for a place for these plants indoors (shed, garage or house).
Most potted plants are resting in hibernation during winter. This means that they don't need plant food and only a little water. Deciduous plants can be kept almost dry, while evergreen plants evaporate moisture and prefer a slightly damp root ball. Also check what each plant needs to stay happy: Abutilon, Lantana and fuchsia, for example, prefer to be dark and dry, but bay trees and bougainvillea prefer cool, light spaces.
Replace your overwintering pot plants with some hardy plants that love the cold winter weather. Think of winter heather, boxberry, box and of course the spruce tree. There are also several species that put on displays of flowers in the colder months of the year. For inspiration, take a look a this list of flowering winter plants.
What does your winter garden, terrace or balcony look like? Show it to us on social media with #thejoyofplants.