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How To Keep Outdoor Plants Alive Through Winter

Winter can certainly be hard on plants. Shorter days, limited light and changes in temperature are just some of the challenges to overcome. It isn't as difficult as you would expect to keep your plans alive during the winter months, especially with these simple gardening tips. 

Less hardy or exotic plants have a slim chance of survival unless they are moved to a heated greenhouse or brought indoors. A primary example is certain species of fuchsia, which can live for years if given the right conditions during the winter months. These plants should be dug up towards the end of summer and placed into a pot of compost. If they are already potted then skip this step, remove any dying plant materials from the pot and trim back to around 10 – 20cm in height.

From here, all plants should be kept in a frost and rain-free environment (such as a Greenhouse) at between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius throughout the entire winter. Only water the plants occasionally and do not over-water; the compost should be almost dry, retaining only a small amount of moisture. Remove any rotting plants soon as any signs show.

In Spring begin watering regularly to trigger them out of dormancy and start to grow again. Feed with a good liquid fertiliser as desired.

Plants wrapped for winterWhat Can I Do If I Don’t Have a Greenhouse?

Moving plants inside is the ideal scenario. However, if you do not have sufficient space or storage options, there are a few things you can do to help your hardy plants survive, even if kept outside.

  • Wrap pots in bubble-wrap or hessian to keep the frost from penetrating the pot and damaging - or even killing - the root system
  • Wrap plants in horticultural fleece to reduce the impact of wind and frost on the vulnerable parts. More tender plants may require additional straw inside the fleece for extra insulation.
  • Secure the entire setup with garden twine to stop it from blowing away.
  • Garden buildings – although a greenhouse is the ideal option, the corner of Garden Sheds and Summerhouses are a good alternative in the absence of a greenhouse.

What You Need to Ensure Your Plants Survival

There are a few things that you’ll need to make the job of winter-proofing your plants a huge amount easier.

  • Greenhouse – provide a place for all less hardy plants - away from frost - at a much higher temperature, taking the worst of the winter harshness away.
  • Bubble wrap/Hessian – these cheap materials can be found at most garden retailers and do a great job at protecting plants from the elements if a greenhouse or covered area is not available.
  • Horticultural fleece – another easily available low-cost material, which will protect the tops of vulnerable plants from the elements.
  • Plant pots – required to move plants from one place to another – keep a selection of different sizes to suit all types of plants.
  • Tools – it goes without saying that you will need the regular suite of tools you use to do your normal gardening activities.

The above information offers a broad overview of plant care over the Winter months, but for more in-depth information, please visit the RHS website.

If you are interested in purchasing your own garden Greenhouse or any other Garden Building, you can discuss your requirements directly with one of our team, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

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