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How to protect plants in winter


Tender perennials, specimen trees and container-grown plants can all fall prey to frost, snow and heavy rain during winter. By following our simple guide, you can help your plants survive even the harshest conditions, and prolong the harvest of your edible crops.

How to do it

Knock snow off plants


Take a broom and knock snow off plants, before it freezes. This prevents sagging and broken branches under the weight of the snow. Be sure to knock snow off hedges and specimen trees and shrubs, as well as mound-forming evergreens such as hebe, which all suffer irreparable damage from heavy snowfall.

Keep your greenhouse warm


Protect greenhouse plants by lining the greenhouse with bubble wrap and consider using a paraffin heater to keep your most tender plants warm. You can create partitions within the greenhouse by making 'curtains' using bubble wrap or horticultural fleece. Simply hang them from the roof and ensure they reach the ground, then seal the edges with tape. This will create smaller spaces to heat within the greenhouse, saving you money on heating bills.

Protect vegetables with fleece


On the vegetable patch, protect carrots, parsnips and other root crops with a blanket of straw, to stop the ground freezing around them. This will enable you to continue to harvest them when required. Place cloches over salad plants, or sow fresh seed in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.

Bring tender plants indoors


Move tender succulents, including aeoniums, aloes and echeverias,into a frost-free location in full sun, such as a heated greenhouse, conservatory or south-facing windowsill. Most succulents enter a rest period in winter, so make sure you allow the compost to dry out between waterings.

Avoid treading on frosted grass


Avoid walking on grass in winter, particularly when frost or snow blankets the lawn. If you do step on it, you’ll notice that your footprints linger, as frozen grass blades break underfoot. Walking on frozen ground may also lead to compaction of the soil, increasing drainage problems and potentially encouraging the onset of fungal diseases.

Protect container-grown plants


Wrap large pots in hessian sacking or bubble wrap. Tie it securely in place and leave it there throughout winter. If you have large potted plants, wrap the container with a thick layer of insulation, to stop the roots freezing.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to protect plants in winter
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valerie b 13/12/2013 at 11:34

This Autumn I bought a greenhouse. I have tried to insulate it with bubble wrap but can't find a way to keep it on for more than a day. HELP!!
val b

obelixx 13/12/2013 at 12:05

If it's an aluminium greenhouse you can buy special clips that slot into the framework through the bubble wrap and hold it up.  If it's wooden then you can staple or pin it it to the frame.

Lancashire Lass 13/12/2013 at 12:52

I find it easier to just insulate the plants rather than the greenhouse, although in my case I only have my container lilies and fuchsias to protect.

Stand the pots together then wrap bubble wrap and/or fleece around the whole lot.

I am hoping that the perennials that I have grown from seed this year will be OK just sitting on the greenhouse bench until I plant them out in Spring.

obelixx 13/12/2013 at 14:00

Wrapping plants with bubble wrap reduces ventilation and encourages rotting.  better to insulate the pots with bubble warp and the plants with fleece which breathes.

Peter C 13/12/2013 at 14:30

I suggest you super glue (or screw to wooden greenhouse) the square electric trunking to greenhouse side on. Then push bubble wrap in to the trunking. You can remove bubble wrap and leave the trunking in place.

Tip: get trunking slightly smaller than wrap that way it is a tighter fit, unless you double up bubble wrap.

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