Winter Chill – coping with the cold

The cold front has blasted us and we really know that winter is upon us! Whilst you’re tucked up inside with an extra doona and your flannelette pj’s on, imagine what it’s like being a plant outside in the cold? Chances are, if you’re ramping up electric blanket, you might want to tuck in some of your plants too!

Winter, and in particular frost, can be quite damaging to plants, especially when it comes at a time they are not quite ready for, typically the shoulder seasons of winter, or if your plant is growing outside of its normal climatic comfort zone. At this time you can throw your garden a lifeline by using Droughtshield. This might seem strange, as the name suggests you’re protecting against lack of water, but it also helps plants cope with temperature extremes, and the desiccating effects of wind. Another alternative of protecting your precious plants are by covering them in a hessian so that the frost doesn’t settle on them.

If you have your plants in pots you can also move the to a more sheltered position, or one against the north side of your home that reflects the sun’s warmth back to your containers throughout the evening, and some people even move particularly sensitive plants into sunrooms to over-winter. This is in much the same way as Orangeries housed potted citrus trees in the great homes of Europe. Indoor plants might also need to be brought back slightly from windows where the cold is transferring through the glass and could affect them.

Of course, some plants, like many conifers and deciduous trees, bulbs and soft-wooded perennials have adapted brilliantly to bitter weather. They just shut down for the winter and have a seasonal nap. This dormant period means that we easily transplant them around the garden, divide them up, or heavily prune them without as much impact.

Read more about how to transplant in winter.


by Meredith Kirton