How to protect container plants from the winter weather
Container growing is great, especially if you’ve not got a lot of open ground to use as your garden. But at this time of year all those plants in pots, whose roots are above soil level are at risk of winter damage.
Adequate Winter Drainage
The first problem is often over looked – winter wet kills more than winter cold! Plants in pots which don’t have adequate drainage holes or whose drainage holes have become blocked, can really suffer or may even die. Check that there are plenty of holes and if there are not, consider moving the plant or creating some more. Use a short stick or your finger to investigate the existing drainage and ensure that it has not become clogged or obscured either from within the pot or by leaves and other debris accumulating around the drainage exits. If pots are standing on a surface which tends to accumulate water over the wetter weather, try standing them on pot feet – you can buy small, pretty ones from garden centres or, if you’d prefer to keep costs down, stand the containers on chunks of brick or old paving slab of equal height. You can often tuck these away beneath the pot where they will be out of sight.
Sheltering potted plants over winter
Roots are vital for survival so these too may need your help when it comes to protecting them from being frozen. If you’ve got the space, consider moving container plants into a more sheltered spot and group them together, In colder areas this is especially important. Plunging pots ie burying them into a spare bit of soil any where in the garden will also help to provide insulation over the winter months, just make sure the soil isn’t too wet. If you want or need to keep the pots above ground then you could wrap them in bubble-polythene, taking care not to obscure the surface or the drainage holes. It’s not pretty but it is effective and if looks matter, wrap hessian around the outside to hide the polythene!
Insulating potted plants over winter
Finally, on more tender plants you may need to provide some extra insulation too. Horticultural fleece is brilliant stuff and provides a snug environment whilst also allowing air and water to pass in and out. You can now get great fleece jackets, complete with a drawstring, perfect for popping over individual plants and easy to remove and re-use too. Take a look at www.pippagreenwood.com/products/protect-your-crops to see the full range of sizes.
So, with a little bit of effort now your containers can be given the chance to not only survive the winter but to thrive !