How to protect tender plants over winter

Do it:

Oct, Nov, Dec

Takes just:

20 minutes

Protect your plants from the cold weather and wrap half-hardy bananas, palms, cannas and ginger lilies in fleece and straw if they grow in sheltered positions. Alternatively lift the plants, then pot or crate them up and bring into a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory to plant outdoors again next season.

You will need

  • Secateurs
  • Bamboo canes
  • String
  • Horticultural fleece or bubble polythene
  • Straw
  • Chicken wire
  • Large flower pot or crate
  • Bark chippings

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Protect palms by tying in the leaves to protect the growing point. In cold regions this can be loosely packed with straw for extra insulation.

Push bamboo canes into the ground around the plant to be protected, and cover with horticultural fleece or bubblewrap to create a protective tent. Use string to secure it to the canes. For potted plants, wrap the pot with bubblewrap, then drape horticultural fleece over the top, and secure with string.

Protect the stems of banana plants with straw or bark, packed loosely into a sleeve of chicken wire placed around the plant. Cover the top with polythene in wet weather to keep the straw dry.

Protect palms by tying in the leaves to protect the growing point. 

In all but the mildest locations, cut back the stems of cannas and ginger lilies and lift the rhizomes from the soil. Set them in large pots or crates and pack round the roots with chipped bark. Store in a frost-free shed over winter.

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In the north and east of the UK you may need to protect your plants from late-October, while in the south and west, it won't be necessary until mid-November.

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