24 tips to protect your plants from the cold

Tips for protecting plants against the cold

When winter and low temperatures set in, we are not the only ones to suffer from the cold: our plants do too. And to prevent them from withering and dying, they must be protected. How ? With good tips for overwintering plants like a pro, quite simply!

24 tips to protect your plants from the cold

Tip #1: Why should you protect your plants from the cold?

In winter, when temperatures are very low or even negative, it is imperative to think about solutions to  protect plants against the cold . Even if nature is well done, and the plants go into vegetative rest in winter, you have to give them a helping hand. It’s simple, it’s not expensive and in spring, all your plants will be healthy!

Tip #2: Protect “good” plants

It is not necessary to protect all your plants in winter ! In fact, some varieties are hardy and tolerate frost and cold very well ! This is the case for trees and shrubs which lose their leaves in winter ; they are the strongest plants. However, other more fragile species can deteriorate or die in severe frosts . Hence the interest in knowing how to care for plants in case of frost !

Tip #3: Bring your potted plants inside

Fragile potted plants can be brought in before the arrival of winter  in the garage, a storeroom, the veranda, or simply indoors – if the temperature does not drop below 5°C – in order to be protected from frost and cold. You will need to continue to maintain them : water them only if necessary and remove dead leaves and flowers.

Tip #4: Move your potted plants out of the wind

Potted plants that cannot be brought indoors should be placed so that they are sheltered from the wind . They will be better protected if they are near a wall or under an arbor . On the balcony , it is possible to install a windbreak net to shelter them and thus ensure protection of the plants in low temperatures ! 

Tip #5: Mulch your fragile plants

Whether they are in a pot or in the ground, it is possible to mulch your plants to reduce the infiltration of cold into the planting soil. It is possible to use plant mulch made up of bark , to be purchased directly from a garden center, or simply dead leaves collected from the garden . In addition to protecting plants from the cold, mulch will be an excellent fertilizer.

Tip #6: Insulate your plant pots from the ground

It is essential to insulate your potted plants from the ground in order to further protect them from the cold and prevent stagnant water in the saucers from freezing! Raising the pots can be done with bricks, wedges or a  well-opened plant roller. Be careful, it is important to remove the saucers!

Tip #7: Use a protective cover or curtain

Winter covers and curtains  are perfect for protecting plants against the cold. They are particularly highly recommended for the most fragile plants such as palm trees , lemon trees, olive trees and all  tropical plants  which are not made to withstand harsh winters.

The winter veil will be used to wrap all the branches of the plant, and can be decorated with dead leaves 

Tip #8: Use newspaper

Another good tip to ensure good wintering of plants without spending too much: newspaper. In fact, potted plants left outside can be protected from the cold using newspaper  which can simply be wrapped around the pots to provide a barrier against the cold.

Tip #9: Use a wicker or glass bell

Small outdoor plants can be sheltered with an upturned wicker or glass cloche; the latter will act as a protective barrier against frost and cold and your beloved plants will be sure to survive the winter unscathed.

Tip #10: Use a terracotta pot

Along the same lines, it is also possible to use an upturned terracotta pot  to protect your small plants from the cold in winter. This low temperature plant protection system is perfect if you like gardening and have many pots in your garden shed!

Tip #11: Use plastic wrap with air bubbles

Another clever and effective solution for overwintering plants? Use  plastic film with air bubbles  to protect your potted plants. Same thing as with newspaper: simply wrap it around the containers so that your plants do not suffer the torments of the cold.

Tip #12: Use a plastic bottle

You can recycle your plastic bottles by using them as insulation for your small outdoor plants  ! Simply cut them in half and place them on your plants: they will then be protected from the cold. Once again, a system for protecting plants from the cold which requires little equipment and no investment and yet proves to be most effective.

Tip #13: Install portable lights to warm the air

In winter, protecting your palm trees and other tropical plants by installing lights nearby – so that the bulbs warm the air enough to prevent a frost layer from forming – is an excellent idea.

Be careful though: this tip should be done if and only if the plants are covered.

Tip #14: Don’t overwater your plants

Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you have to overwater your plants! In winter, watering is limited to the strict minimum . And in the event of prolonged frost, water your plants  with lukewarm water to warm their roots. 

The risk if we water the plants too much? That the roots rot, and the plants do not hold up.

Tip #15: Empty the saucers to prevent the water from freezing

When it’s cold, any stagnant water left outside freezes (logical). The problem is that this will damage the roots and cool the soil of the potted plants. We then empty the water from the saucers of the pots to avoid this problem!

Tip #16: Harvest flowers and fruits

In winter , you must continue to pick the withered flowers and harvest the fruits  – even if they have not yet fully matured – from your flowering plants and fruit trees : they can weaken them if they are not collected. So we prepare the harvests, even if they will be smaller than in summer! 

Tip #17: Do not fertilize your plants

Fertilizing your plants during the winter can jeopardize their vegetative rest and considerably reduce their lifespan . If your plants are looking bad, add a little potting soil to the soil and water them. But again, in moderation! 

Tip #18: Adapt your plants to the climate of your region

To avoid problems and minimize the time spent gardening in winter , you need to be careful about the plants you grow. To prevent them from suffering from frost and cold, despite the care we give them, they must be adapted to the climate of their region . This is essential !

Tip #19: Make a coat for your pots

If you have potted plants that are too heavy to bring indoors in winter, you can make a small winter coat for them. This will allow the roots to be protected from the cold , but will also prevent your pots from breaking under the action of frost. 

To make these coats, you can use burlap and straw (the straw will be placed between the pot and the canvas), or even just old blankets that you no longer use.

Tip #20: Buy more resistant pots

If in the world of gardening terracotta pots are THE absolute reference, you should know that they can crack under the action of frost. Conversely, stoneware is a material that allows you to make frost-proof pots … Good to know!

Tip #21: Gather your potted plants 

The best way to avoid having to care for your frozen plants is obviously to prevent them from freezing. If you have potted plants that cannot return to your home in winter, in addition to storing them sheltered from wind and bad weather, consider bringing them together by sticking the pots as close together as possible: this will allow them to keep the heat  !

Tip #22: Choose the right time to water 

This may seem obvious, but to avoid killing the root system of your plants, do not water your plants when the thermometer is close to zero or when frost is forecast!

Tip No. 23: Make mounds on young plants

If you want to protect young plants (especially rose bushes ) and shrubs with young shoots in winter from the cold, hill them up. Namely: bring a small mound of earth to the base of the plant . This will protect the roots, but also ensure good drainage.

Tip #24: Monitor the humidity of your plants 

In winter, it is sometimes difficult to know when to water your plants (outdoor and indoor). Rather than relying on your instinct, invest in a humidity sensor  : this will tell you precisely if your plants are lacking water or if, on the contrary, you can wait for the next watering.