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Now that January is almost upon us , and statistically the coldest month of the year ; I'm taking a big risk with some of my cherished greenhouse plants , some of which have rooted into the gravel floor !

We've had no severe frosts as yet (E.Lincs) ; and as some of the plants are too large to bring indoors ; I have everything x'd that temperatures don't plummet .

Several very large specimen cacti , Agave americana 'Variegata' , Aloe ferox and Aloe marlothii (the weight of these is prohibitive) , Beaucarnea gracilis , Iochroma australis , Solanum laciniatum , several Fuchsias , a blue form of Chamaerops excelsa , a 1.5m high Euphorbia Amak from N.Africa and a 10kg clump of Euphorbia horrida 'striata' to name but a few .

Hope I've not made a fatal error !

Regards to all and good growing for 2018

Anyone else on the forum taking a risk this winter ?

Yes - my Beuacarnea has done so well this year that he is still outside in a very sheltered spot - grown from seed in 1980 something, he has travelled to France , Spain and back again.  Plenty of babies ( 2 in the GH ) but has only a wrapping of insulation round the base of his pot.  I tend to fleece him if frost threatens but it has been so windy recently that it hardly seems worthwhile.

Most of my Agaves are still outside - A a variegata and also ferox tho if this rain keeps up, ferox may need to go in the GH. Various other Agaves too but I do try to ensure I always have some in the GH or Cold Frame.

Philippa , it sounds like your plants are doing allright . Long may they do so .

I really ought to line the g/house for the winter months to offer a modicum of protection , and remove in the spring . This is a formidable task owing to the array of spines , hooks and thorns on the 'motley crew' in there ,most of whom have rooted into the floor !!

They have all experienced sub-zero temps. in previous winters , and are kept absolutely dry in a 95% granite chip mix from October to April .

Hope they survive .

PS  My wife hopes otherwise as she detests succulent plants


I have no greenhouse, so hope the two very small Dwarf Pomegranates given to me in late autumn survives. I'm happy to take the risk since I have been told to not pot into larger pots until late spring. The pots are only 2 inches across. A few spindly sticks with a few leaves. So far it's been fleece on, fleece off. I have been told that they can survive very cold temperatures, but so far I'm not totally convinced. Anyone that knows from experience, let me know. 

Borderline, why not plunge the tiny pots into a larger one contaning perlite for a bit more root protection?



Buttercupdays, I agree, the roots are the areas of concern, due to the shallow size of pots. I have no perlite but will buy some. There's high winds all year round, so I might try to cut up sponges to wedge along the top and around the edge once I put it into a larger pot. I did this for my Olive tree because it was so top heavy, it kept topling over in the high winds on the balcony. The pot was not wide enough to support the weight, so I wedged as many sponges in between the gaps of the larger pot I had plunged it in, and so far, it's kept it upright since.

I think I will put Perlite at the base and then stuff lots of sponges around the edges to keep the perlite covered up. If not, half of it will be gone due to the winds. Thanks for the advice!

Last edited: 01 January 2018 13:49:52

Borderline - I've grown Pomegranate - both the dwarf and currently a cutting I took from my trees in Spain. Mine is now about 6 years old tho and I have it planted in a fairly sheltered spot and it has plenty of gritty soil. I'm in the SW UK.

I've found that they will take quite low temps as they have mostly dropped their leaves by the time the really cold weather sets in.  

As your plants are still small, the more shelter you can offer would be best.  

Last edited: 01 January 2018 16:15:45


Philippa Smith2, great to hear that you have a positive experience with both dwarf and standard Pomegranates. Sounds like your shrubs are doing well. I will be keeping my ones in pots, so hope they will cope well. One of the reasons for choosing the dwarf ones - because I have to grow them in pots. Hoping the micro climate here in London will help keep them alive, even with the never ending winds. I  will be re-pot in spring, and will definitely have gritty soil ready.

Mike Allen

Great interest here.  I think most of us have at some point in our horticultural adventures been faced with similar conditions, worries and concerns.  OK at time we get our knichers in a twist....ooops sorrt Philippa no disrespects.  Protecting our plants during winter.  Actually frost is the biggest danger, because it is basically airborne and settles on plants.   The result being, the plants tissues are penetrated and the invading frost particles expand, thus in simple terms, causing an explosionlike happening.  This is the the destroyer of the vegetive part of the plant.

In reality this is what takes place with garden plants.  The growing season has passed.  Also the flowering period.  In nature, theres not anyone to come along and cut back.  So we assume that the natural elements play their part.  To us the humble gardener.  HELP!  So we need to follow nature.  We either cut back or protect.  Horticultural fleece will help us protect above soil growth.  Plant is containers can also be protected.  Just because of winter, frost etc.  Simply do your best.


" frost is the biggest danger, because it is basically airborne and settles on plants."  - No it doesn't.

" the plants tissues are penetrated and the invading frost particles expand, thus in simple terms, causing an explosionlike happening. " 

Sorry Mike, but coming from someone with a  BSc & Msc in plant pathology & plant sciences that explanation is rubbish

Mike - I'd be glad if you could refrain from referring to me when you want to make stupid comments.  Thank you

Maybe should be known as Mike aka 'The Teaspoon' ; seems a natural strirrer

Mike Allen

Paul B3 and Philippa please check your PM's  Respects to all.


My greenhouse is unheated. I keep watering to a minimum in Winter and wrap up the non-hardy pots in bubble wrap.  This saves lining the whole greenhouse and we haven’t lost anything yet. 



Everything in mine is 'getting through' as yet ; have only seen -2C for a couple of nights.

My GH thermometer gave up the ghost a few months ago and wasn't replaced so I really don't know what the temp has been in there.

Roof is bubbled and I use white polystyrene panels on the sides - I tend to remove the panels from the S side most days in order to get the light and sun ( when we have it ).

Most of my cacti are in there and 2 permanently planted edible PF vines as well as Cymbidium and Dendrobium orchids. A Hoya too altho this is the first time I've left it in the GH.  Also managing to pick various salad leaves from troughs on the staging.

Worst is yet to come I think - Jan and Feb are usually the coldest months here. 

An excellent idea to wrap the pots individually .

I am losing patience with the 'poster' @ 01.37 ; irrational statements and quotations obviously comes naturally .

Back to more important topics ; I've never left so many of my plants to overwinter before in an u/heated g/house .Concerned at first , but they're still looking OK .  Many succulent plants produce their own AFPs when sub-zero temperatures occur , lets hope mine do !

As we all know , many desert plants experience frosty nights , but originating mainly between latitudes of thirty

 degrees north and south , their nights are much shorter than ours and usually followed by a very rapid warm-up . My fears lie when we see 'frost-days' and the temp. never rises above freezing .

Everything x'd yet again !

Mike Allen

Please If I may.

Commenting on this thread.  I now sadly realise what I said may have been out of place.  OK it's perhaps no excuse but.  I have just completed a course of chemotherapy for cancer.  Thankfully my cancer is treatable, nevertheless as like most medications etc.  Some suffer side effects. I am fighting hard to simply stay awake, yes even to my closest friends, I find myself being a right whatsit.  Honestly.  I am at the blunt end and I don't understand how, drugs and treatment can change a life so much.  Please one and all.  Please forgive me.  E.O.S


Mike ... if you're so unwell and out of sorts that it's causing you to be confused then for goodness sake stop struggling to stay awake ... do what rational folk do and go to bed and sleep at night.