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7 Ways to Protect Your Plants in Winter

7 Ways to Protect Your Plants in Winter

Many of the plants in our gardens have come to us from lands with kinder climates than our own. This allows our gardens to look like a tropical paradise in summer, but it also means that many of our plants need help to cope with cold weather. Protect your plants this winter with these top tips.

How to Protect Your Plants This Winter

  1. If you’re not sure whether a plant needs winter protection, look it up. The United States Department of Agriculture, classifies plants by the minimum temperature they can cope with. Fully hardy plants (classified as zone 3 here in Winnipeg) will survive our winter season with general ease. Marginal plants (zone 4) may survive over winter, depending on their placement, snow cover, severity of the winter. Tender plants (zone 5 and up) will not survive over winter.

  2. One of the biggest dangers for container plants in winter is the compost in the pots becoming waterlogged and possibly frozen. This will kill off even the hardiest plants, so any banks left outdoors over winter should be raised on pot feet to ensure they drain well. In very cold areas, it’s also worth wrapping pots in bubble wrap or fleece for extra insulation.

  3. Move tender plants indoors in winter. If they have lost their leaves and are entirely dormant, they can be stored in a frost-free shed, but tropical plants will still need light and should be kept in a sun room, or south-facing window

  4. For tender (marginal) perennials and shrubs, covering with mulch and snow will protect the roots of the plants, and help ensure their survival.

  5. Strong winter winds can damage plants, so tie in climbing plants and check that stakes and tree ties are secure. Cut tall shrub roses down by a third to protect their roots against damage from wind rock.

  6. Think long-term when choosing plants for your garden. Marginal and tender plants are beautiful when they're thriving, but there's many beautiful options that will thrive in our climate rather than struggle to survive the cold winter