How To Store Outdoor Plants For The Winter

I’ve only recently started gardening in the winter, so I was concerned that the cold would kill my plants. This is the result of some time I invested in research and testing several ideas.

You must give outdoor plants enough of water if you want them to survive the winter. Mulch the soil after it has been watered to keep the moisture and warmth in. To avoid frost, cover and enclose the plants as needed.

Different plants will require different care, and there are proper and wrong ways to go about it. If you follow the appropriate instructions, keeping your plants alive during the winter is not difficult.

Where should I keep my plants that I keep outside all year?

1. Locate a Sufficient Overwintering Spot. It is necessary to have a dry area with temperatures that are above 45F (7C) but below 60F for plants to recognize that it is winter (15C). I once had a house with an attached unheated garage that worked well.

Can I keep potted plants outside over the winter?

Clean up any empty pots before storing them as the first step in winterizing the container garden. Clay and terra-cotta pots should be kept dry and upside-down or on their sides. Most terra-cotta pots shouldn’t be left outside in frigid weather because they could crack or break because they are constructed of porous clays. Choose terra cotta pots made of special clay that can withstand freezes if you must leave them outside (like Impruneta, for example). Terra-cotta pots typically do not hold up as well to freezing as glaze-coated pots, which are typically fired at higher temperatures.

Wrap the sides of planted terra-cotta and glazed containers with layers of bubble wrap or burlap coated in plastic to keep them safe when left outside.

Once the plants go dormant and their water needs are reduced, wrap them to prevent them from absorbing any more moisture. (Wrap containers holding

After the first hard frost, wrap evergreen plants in plastic.) If you have empty concrete, cement, or clay pots that are too heavy to move, clean them as thoroughly as possible.

In order to avoid water from building up within the pots, freezing, and cracking them, fill them as much as possible and cover them with lids or plastic sheeting. Although certain plastic pots may shatter if the soil inside expands during freezing temperatures, sturdy plastic and fiberglass pots are perfect for leaving outside. Durable hardwood-made wooden containers are also appropriate and will deteriorate gracefully over time.

How should outside plants be prepared for the winter?

Do you still recall the bindweed that took over your raspberry patch? Or the Himalayan blackberry encroaching from your garden’s borders? Dealing with those outlaws at this time is necessary. They can be dug up and thrown in the garbage or covered with tarps or garden fabric.

Avoid the temptation to simply move invasive weeds to another area of your garden because the majority of invasive weeds can survive in a compost heap or weed pile. The only method to stop invasive plants from springing up again and interfering with the crop the next year is to entirely remove them.

When the season is over, what should you do with your potted plants?

Ten things to do:

  • 1.) Don’t just clean, “sanitize.
  • 2. Remove the dead materials.
  • 3. Cut off the wilted perennial flowers.
  • 4.) “Put compost on top of the gardens.
  • 5. One final grass cutting.
  • 6.) Apply lawn fertilizer.
  • 7.) Guard the delicate material.
  • 8. Examine the mulch.

How should outside potted plants be cared for during the winter?

You might need to give your pots additional protection depending on where you reside. The following are a few choices for overwintering containers:

  • Put many pots next to the house or wall on the ground. Put the cold-hardiest plants outside the grouping, and the weaker ones in the middle. Place straw bales around the outside. Putting them together improves the insulation’s mass and volume, shielding them from chilly breezes that could cause freezing and desiccation.
  • Mulch pots with straw, mulch, or chopped leaves for further insulation. Snow is a wonderful insulator as well. Grouping pots in a premade pond liner and filling it with mulch is an intriguing concept for insulating containers.
  • The only insulation for roots is the wall of the pot itself because the majority of roots usually tend to be on the exterior of the rootball. To insulate roots, place foam along the walls of square pots that is at least an inch thick before planting. Fill the internal walls of rounded pots with foam peanuts.
  • Fill the container up with soil and bury the pots there.
  • Plant the rootball in the ground after removing it from the container. Clean the container, then keep it inside. Next year, remove the root ball and repot it in the same or a bigger container.
  • Burlap, bubble wrap, old blankets, or geotextile blankets can all be used to wrap pots. Since the roots require protection, the entire plant doesn’t need to be covered. The root zone will retain heat thanks to the support of these protective covers.
  • Cover plants at night with cloth, burlap, or plastic if low temperatures are anticipated. If you use plastic, make sure to take it off during the day because the heat can hasten the growth of the buds. Additionally, when covering, take care not to harm the plants’ tops. Plant damage from the cold and pests is facilitated by injury.
  • To offer further security, place your pot inside of a larger pot. The bigger pot should have extra insulation or sturdy walls for this to work optimally.

Hard freezes may be unusual to nonexistent in USDA Zones 7 through 11, therefore it may not be essential to add insulation or move pots indoors for the winter. There are several tasks, nevertheless, that you should still be mindful of. Plant development will stall in the winter because of the lower temperatures, and watering may become less regular. However, salt can accumulate in the soil and increase toxicity levels. Leach the salts out with water. As required, fertilize plants as well.

Can perennials be kept in containers during the winter?

If you have spent the effort planning, planting, and caring for your perennial container garden during the entire growing season, you probably want to overwinter it. However, other gardeners prefer to treat perennials like annuals and chuck them out once the growing season is finished. Others decide to move their perennials in containers into the garden for the winter before starting again with new plants in the spring. Your decision is yours. Continue reading if you want to try overwintering.

Why do containerized perennials require special treatment to overwinter successfully?

  • Perennial plants dislike temperature changes that are stronger above ground than below it.
  • The risk of harm is higher when perennials are grown in pots because they are less cold-hardy.
  • Remember that your chances of successfully overwintering increase with pot size. This is so that the roots can be protected from freezing and desiccating by a larger volume of soil in a larger pot.
  • Perennials typically have an easier time surviving the winter in warmer climates or regions with a consistent, heavy layer of snow cover. It takes more effort to get them to survive the winter in the north and in locations with erratic snow cover.

Regardless of your environment, containerized perennials should be watered thoroughly shortly before the ground freezes to give them a reserve supply to use during warm winter spells. If overwintering under cover, you can also occasionally add a few handfuls of snow to the top of the container; if the temperature rises sufficiently for it to melt, this will provide the plants extra water.

Despite this, many perennials grown in containers do not make it through the winter because they drown from receiving too much water. The roots sit in water until the soil thaws completely and the water can drain out of the pot via the drainage hole at the bottom when the pot accumulates water at the top but the soil is still frozen at the bottom. Water, especially ice cold water in the winter, is not good for roots to sit in. To prevent this from happening, overwinter your perennials in containers on their sides so that water cannot collect at the top of the pot or overwinter them under cover where they won’t receive much water over the winter or the first few weeks of spring before the soil thaws.

Overwintering Techniques

On the best way to overwinter perennials in containers, there are several different schools of thought. Some of the techniques listed here might be effective in your climate, while others might not. The best approach to figure out what will work for you is to experiment.

  • The majority opinion seems to be that burying the entire pot in the ground is the best approach to overwinter perennials grown in containers. The roots are safeguarded in this manner, just as they would be if the plants were genuinely buried in a garden. Just be careful not to keep the pot in the ground for an excessive amount of time in the spring, as this may cause the roots to start growing out of the drainage holes and securing the pot to the earth.
  • After the first severe frost, you can overwinter them by putting the pots in a cold frame or an unheated garage for the winter. Don’t overwinter perennials in a greenhouse or another warm location where plants won’t fall dormant because all perennials need a time of dormancy or a cold treatment to blossom.
  • If you are overwintering your containers outdoors, arrange them together as closely as you can in a protected spot on the ground. In this manner, the soil’s heat and moisture can be absorbed by the pots. A excellent location is often on the east side of the home. Never store the containers over the winter on a deck, paved area, or any other surface that is elevated from the ground. Perennials in containers that are exposed on higher levels throughout the winter have a poor probability of successfully overwintering.
  • The pots will require some form of insulating material to be placed on top of them. Try piling evergreen boughs or leaves on top of the pots, then cover everything with a heavy blanket of snow. Use an insulating blanket designed specifically for this if snowfall is unreliable where you live. For further security, you may also consider wrapping the pots themselves in an insulating material.

Will Covering Plants With Plastic Protect From Frost?

Some frost protection can be provided by covering plants with plastic, but the plastic must not touch the plants or the foliage. Use stakes or canes to create a structure over the plant to support the plastic in order to protect your plant from cold. To keep your plants warm, you are essentially building a tiny greenhouse or polytunnel!

At What Temperature Should I Cover My Plants?

If you want your plant cover to rescue your garden, timing is essential! Use your plant cover if it appears that the temperature will drop below freezing. It is recommended to err on the side of caution in this situation because the forecast is not always reliable.

Temperatures of 32 degrees and lower severely harm even the most delicate plants, such as tomatoes. While certain hardier plants, like spinach and chard, may withstand a light frost, temperatures below 28 degrees will cause them to die.

What Can I Cover My Plants With Safely?

Cloth, frost sheets, and light blankets are all effective. It may be a good idea to cover your plants overnight if you are concerned about the possibility of frost damage. The best cover material will increase the surrounding air temperature by several degrees, thus increasing the plants’ chances of survival.

The good news is that you might be able to use things you already have around the house or repurpose something meant for another use to cover your plants.

Can You Use Garbage Bags to Cover Plants?

Yes, provided you securely secure the plant. Garbage bags can be used to cover plants and shield them from frost, but they must not touch the surface of the plants. Create a tent-like structure over the plant using poles and supports to trap warm air. Make sure the trash bag reaches the ground completely.

During the day, remove the bags. Quick removal avoids humidity buildup and enables the plant to absorb heat from the sun.

Will cardboard boxes guard against frost on plants?

In high school, I worked at a supermarket shop. To my mother’s dismay, one lesson that stuck with me was about brown bags’ thermal characteristics. We transformed brown grocery bags into beer refrigerators. They could hold ice for up to 24 hours when opened up inside of one another and were disposable. The greatest frost protection for your outside plants is either free or inexpensive, in my experience. When the season is through, cardboard boxes and brown shopping bags may be repurposed and make the ideal frost cover.

When a frost is predicted, I just place one of the boxes I keep on the patio over the plant. If you want a quick supply, packing boxes from Home Depot cost about a dollar; alternatively, you can buy empty ones from shops. Many upright plants just require protection for the growing tip. Slip over columnar cacti, Madagascar palms, etc. by opening three to four large brown grocery bags inside of one another. For reuse and storage, fold them.

These straightforward, affordable, and efficient frost shields also respect the environment.

Around my home, both in the ground and in pots, there are many agave plants. I have over 30 different species; it has become a habit! I have a good understanding of agave snout weevils. My issue right now is not that.

I’ve noticed over the past few months that many specific plants appear to be “sick.” With some white powder or flakes scattered throughout, the hue of the core spike turns off-white and yellowish. Eventually, the white powder or flakes and the base both turn yellow.

It appears that mealybugs have attacked your agave plants. Some treatments include removing the sickest plants from the others, spraying the plants with insecticidal soap or water, or cleaning them with a jet of water (follow label instructions). Because of the intense monsoon wetness, we are observing more mealybug evidence this year. The Starr Urbatsch agave collections manager advises, “Keep air circulation around your plants.”

I read you every week, reader remark. Help! The Valley is experiencing a dilemma with our unskilled landscapers and tree trimmers.

Everywhere we look, these men are “penciling” our palms. How can we prevent the catastrophe from growing worse?

My heart broke when I read your article from December 6 in The Republic about a Spanish Colonial home in the F.Q. Story area that included an image of a palm tree. This lovely old house has a tree that has been killed and is now badly damaged.

If you drive to Mesa, you will see a history of the horror of penciling one mile long of palms penciled throughout the years between the 5000 and 4000 block of East University (south side). There are rows of dead, topless “hour glass” trees as reminders of what this method accomplishes.