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Talkback: How to protect plants over winter

I have a green and a red cordoline I wrapped the green one up a couple of years ago it got too warm and rotted. I cut it back and it has gro...

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I have a green and a red cordoline I wrapped the green one up a couple of years ago it got too warm and rotted. I cut it back and it has grown again.

How do I protect it from frost without it sweating and rotting again this year. I dont have a greenhouse or shed I can put it in
When you wrapped it, did you use fleece or polythene/bubble wrap, as the latter two would not allow it to breathe too well and lead to rotting? I'd tie the leaves upwards (protecting the core) and then wrap with horticultural fleece, maybe stand the pots on supports so the compost can drain well.

Are your cordylines very exposed? Ours have always survived quite happily outside without any protection (north-east aspect but some frost protection from trees). It's a tricky judgment to make as with or without can be risky just in different ways. 

Agree that if you do want to protect that you use breathable fleece which will hopefully allow some air to circulate and don't wrap it too tightly.


In the past people have used straw - lots of it - wrapped around with netting.  That allows it to breathe.

Have just purchased 2 twisted stem bay trees should I over winter them inside the house, out in the unheated greenhouse or keep in patio pots outside? Also how much water do they require?


hi chalmers just joined so first post .notice you live in aberdeenshire so lots of winter morning sun .dont really know much about bay trees actually nothing but as they're from the med i think the greenhouse would be the best bet and only a little watering if any when required and if it gets too cold then a bit of protection (fleece ) should do the job as long as the roots dont get too wet  sorry just noticed you mentioned the house .maybe take them in if it gets too cold if small but by rule of thumb bigger plants can take colder temperatures so there you go maybe others can help i'm happy to stand corrected

Last year I wrapped up my 4 Cordylines which are in pots.  I carefully gathered up the leaves on each plant, loosely tied them and then wrapped in garden fleece.  To my great disappointment all 4 plants suffered damage over the winter.  When I unwrapped them they had rotted.  3 of them now have small shoots at the base but one is dead.  I'm not sure what to do about protecting them again this winter.  I don't have a greenhouse or cold frame.   I purchased a cheap plastic greenhouse from Wilko but vastly under estimated the size of the pots (much to my husbands amusement).  Does anyone have any suggestions?  Should I pack them with straw and then wrap in fleece?

you could try tying up all the leaves vertically, then form a cage from chicken wire attatching it to the trunk, pack straw into the cage and form a lollipop, seal the wire cage with string or wire and then as overkill wrap the whole cage in fleece, thats how i wrap my tender palms and havent lost one yet

oh and move the pots beside the sunny wall of the house as close as you can to the house for protection, if thats not possible then under a large tree, this will give it some added protection

just keep them  out of the worst weather ,wether that means inside or some shelter .they should be ok .i lost a 9 foot cordyline in the winter of 2010/11 it had been ok the year before which was similar .my mistake (i think was to mulch after a wet summer ) also lost a chusan  palm (chinese windmill palm ) in the same area .if possible move them close to a building or something that helps keep away the cold  


Dot - re your bay trees.  I keep mine in a sheltered corner of the terrace over winter - if we're going to get a very hard frost I bubblewrap the pot, but it's survived over 10 years outside since I grew it from a cutting.  

The thing that kills bays is cold coupled with wet roots, so keep the pots fairly dry and they'll cope with quite a lot of cold.  As you live up there in North East Scotland where it can get very hard, I think  I'd put them in the greenhouse when the weather gets very bad, but make sure it's well ventilated.

I wouldn't put them indoors in your house - they'll get much too warm and start into soft growth which you don't want.

As I said, keep the roots fairly dry in the winter - raising the pots on bricks or little pot feet will help to keep them well drained.  In summer they need more water, but again, they don't like soggy bottoms 

Bournemouthgardener and John Mackay, thank you for your advice.  I will try both wrapping the plants in the method suggested and moving the plants near to the house wall and keeping my fingers crossed

muddy mare

i over wintered ten cordylines by tying up verticaly in a sheltered spot am in  south staffs

kept my cordyline in a pot for a few years then planted it in the ground and up until the 2 bad winters we had in a row i was sure it could cope .hope the temps never get that low again

 they actually survived that winter


Where can I purchase the two wheeled trolley Rachel used to move the heavy plant pot?

Berda..........look for  "Sack Barrow".  There should be plenty of suppliers.  I've had mine for 30 odd years and still going strong - the maker's mark on mine is Powell but I can't recall where I got it from.

Thankyou! Philippa smith2

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