November 16, 2022

If you spent the time during the spring, summer, and fall to nurture a container garden, you want to make sure that you can protect that hard work over the winter. If you take the time to winterize your potted plants, you can enjoy them outdoors again in the spring.

Frost on leaves of a rose bush.

Timing of Winterizing

When you winterize your container plants, you need to keep an eye on the weather. If you wait until after the first frost, you’ve waited too long. And if you bring a plant in from the freezing outdoors to the warmth of your heated house, you will most likely shock the plant, causing damage. You want to keep an eye on the forecast and bring your plants to a sheltered, but not heated, environment before the first hard frost.

Caring for Your Container Garden When Frost is Coming

Covering your plants will help increase the temperature around them by as much as 8 degrees, which can make all the difference during a frost. When the first hard frost is in the forecast, there are some steps to take to protect your container garden.

  • Move Your Container Garden Indoors

Bring your containers into your basement, shed, or garage. You want to get your plants to an area where the air isn’t freezing, but also isn’t so warm that it’ll shock the plants. Place the containers close together and cover them with a sheet to trap heat. Your goal is to protect the plants themselves from freezing.

  • Cover Beds Overnight

Large sheets, blankets, and towels can be used to create a sort of tent for your outdoor potted plants. Avoid using plastic, as it won’t insulate the plants. Bring the covers all the way down to the soil line to tuck the plants in, but keep the cover high enough to allow air to circulate. If there is wind in the forecast, anchor the corners with stakes or heavy objects. Newspapers are a great cover for seedlings or tender plants.

  • Water at Midday and Spread Some Mulch

Moist soil will soak up the maximum amount of sunlight and will hold the sun’s heat. Be careful not to overwater – the soil should be moist, not soaked. Mulch will keep the moisture in and help the soil retain heat. Mulching around the outdoor containers is how many nurseries over-winter their inventory.

Allow Your Plant Time to Be Dormant

Your plant won’t grow over the winter, even if you’ve brought it indoors, and that’s ok. Cut back on watering and fertilizing and keep the temperature consistent. You don’t want to place your plants right next to a heating vent or a drafty doorway. Watch carefully for any insect infestations and make sure you take care of them right away, especially if the plant is inside your home. Some plants, especially tropical plants, will benefit from a humidifier or housing the plant in the bathroom, which is a great place to overwinter tropical plants.

Overwintering your container garden doesn’t need to be a struggle. With some care and consistent temperatures, you can keep your potted plants and container garden alive all throughout the cold months, and they’ll be ready to grow again in the Spring. To learn more tips on how to care for your garden through the seasons, check out our Twin Oaks Landscape blog. To find out how we can help you care for all of your landscape needs, contact us today!