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Protect plants from cold weather now so your garden ‘springs back to life next year’


Autumn is now here and is now getting much rainier and colder, which means most gardeners will not wish to spend lots of time outdoors.

However, worrying about frost during the colder seasons is natural for any gardener as if plants, crops or flowers are put under too much stress from frost it can prevent them from blooming in the upcoming spring.

No gardener wants all their handwork over the last year to go to waste, but luckily it can be very simple to protect plants and help prevent gardeners worrying in the upcoming colder months. 

David Domoney, horticulturist and gardening television presenter has some easy methods to keep plants safe over the wintertime.

In a blog post, David wrote: “Winter is the time of year that gardeners should be curled up in a warm place, wrapped in a blanket. But the same is true of tender plants…Here’s how to protect your plants and ensure your garden springs back to life next year!”

If you have any young plants that have still not established any roots in your garden or any particularly delicate plants then it is best to bring them inside in order to keep them healthy until spring. 

If a plant does not have strong roots then heavy rain or snow can cause the roots to rot, making them very susceptible to frost damage and hydration. 

David wrote: “Young plants are especially vulnerable, so move them into a cool porch, greenhouse or conservatory. Fuchsias, pelargoniums and lemon verbena are common tender plants.”

If you do not have a greenhouse or shed, try placing your plants either on the porch with some shelter, a conservatory or on a west or south-facing windowsill.

If you are unable to bring a plant inside, then lift a pot so it can have better drainage can do wonders for the plant over winter. David has suggested placing wine corks underneath the plant but you can use rocks, pebbles and even natural mulching materials to get better drainage. 

Too much weight from water or ice will waterlog soil and prevent the plant from getting nutrients and growing, which is why this step is so important. 

David wrote: “Container plants are vulnerable because their roots aren’t protected underground. Even hardy plants like lavender may suffer root damage.” 

However, one of the effective ways to keep a pot plant safe and well-drained is using a horticultural fleece, which will keep the plant well-sheltered

Any tropical plants such as banana plants, palm trees, tree ferns, orchids, cannas and jasmines will be particularly vulnerable to winter frosts and will likely to at risk.  

If the plant is already established in your garden then now is the time to consider buying a fleece jacket in order to help keep the plant safe. 

A fleece will be able to protect a plant from strong winds, rain, hail, frost as well as pests during the colder seasons and also help insulate it so it does not suffer too much cold stress. 

David wrote: “Wrap shrubs in a fleece jacket packed with straw to protect them. Tree ferns need layers of straw packed over the vulnerable crown, plus fleece or hessian wrapped around the trunk.

“Tie the leafy canopy of cordylines together to prevent wind damage and stop water collecting at the base and causing rot. You can also apply a thick mulch of leaves or peat-free compost to protect the roots of exotics.”

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