How to Prepare Your Plants for Winter

While many plants are remarkably tough and hardy it makes sense to give them some protection from the winter weather. Even if unprotected plants survive they could well be damaged and this problem can be avoided with a little preparation at this time. This article by Danielle McLeod which I found on the Backyard Boss website has some useful tips to ensure your plants make it through to warmer weather.

Protecting Potted Plants in the Winter

Plant stems and branches are developed to withstand some pretty harsh temperatures, but their roots are much more vulnerable, and if placed within a container, are exposed to winter temps not only from the surface of the soil, but from the sides as well. Obviously, the larger the pot, the more insulation you are providing to the main root system, but depending on the zone you live in you?ll want to provide a little bit of extra protection.

If you live in zone 8 or higher, you honestly don?t need to do much of anything for your potted plants, other than maybe protecting them from a rare frost: especially if dealing with tropical plants. But zones 7 or lower are guaranteed to have a few good frosts through the winter months, with a good probability of scattered snow as well. Ideally, moving a potted plant into an area that receives filtered light, but yet has cold enough temperatures to maintain dormancy is ideal; grouping together pots into a sheltered area, and placing the most sensitive plants towards the middle can be quite effective.
You can also sink your pots in the ground for the winter and let nature provide natural insulation, although this isn?t always that feasible of an option, and sort of negates the whole container garden idea as well. If moving your pots is not an option, then wrapping your pots is your best choice as low as zone 5. Your main goal is to protect the roots from invading freezing temps from the side, and so if you arm yourself with a roll of bubble wrap and burlap, you should have all you need to keep your plants alive until spring. Simply place a layer (or two) of bubble wrap around your plant, and then cover with burlap for an insulating layer that will keep the soil from freezing. I personally also like to provide a good burlap covering over the top once it has gone truly dormant for an extra layer of insulation. Feel free to combine any of the above suggestions as well to ensure plant survival.

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