Some of the plants we grow can be damaged by frost, or require some winter shelter when young. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so remember to check the weather forecasts for frost alerts and take steps to protect your favourite flowers and crops.
There are many quick ways to protect your plants from frost, and you can enhance the protection you provide your plants with by insulating greenhouses and cold frames. You can use a cloche to protect seedlings, or provide other tender plants with a fleece or hessian wrapping.
More winter gardening content:
Discover some of the quick ways to protect your plants over winter, below.
Use a cold frame
Young plants protected within a cold frame
Young hardy plants, including autumn-sown hardy annuals, hardy shrub cuttings and seed-raised perennials, will benefit from the shelter of a cold frame over winter. Open the lid on warm days to prevent overheating and deter fungal diseases.
Cover with cloches
Parsley protected with a cloche
Giving winter crops protection from the worst frost and wind can make all the difference to their survival, and may even allow small harvests. Use cloches to protect broad beans, curley parsley, hardy lettuces, peas, salad leaves, spinach and Swiss chard.
Bring plants inside
Frost-free greenhouse with potted pelargoniums
A frost-free greenhouse is invaluable for wide range of plants. Insulate it with bubble wrap to retain heat and bring in abutilons, aeoniums, agapanthus, citrus, echeverias, fuchsias, pelargoniums and salvias. Conservatories and porches can also be used.
Lift and store
Dahlia tubers ready to be stored over winter
Tender perennials that have spent the summer in borders can be lifted as soon as frost has checked their growth. Store the roots in a cool but frost-free place. Do this for cannas, ginger lilies, chocolate cosmos, dahlias, gladioli and tuberous begonias.
Mexican blue palm, Brahea armata
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.
Create protective tents
Protecting a potted olive over winter
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.
Banana plants protected over winter
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.