With the arrival of cold weather this winter, you may think that your gardening efforts should come to a halt. It is easy to believe that you have to wait for spring, but that is not entirely true. Planting in containers gives you some flexibility in the cold months because you can essentially move plants around to make the most of what the season has to offer.
If you wish to include plants in containers in your garden, you have to make sure you care both for plants and containers during the winter.
Here are few tips to follow for best results:
Plant early – to get container plants off to a good start, you have to plant early. You cannot expect to plant them in the winter and see them thrive. According to expert gardeners, container plants need at least a month of warmer weather. It is good to start them in the autumn so that they can establish their roots before freezing weather sets in.
Pick the right pots – there are many pot types you can pick from. Resist the urge to go with beautiful clay or concrete pots. These absorb a certain amount of moisture, which can freeze in low temperature and thus crack the container. Plastic and resin are much better in that regard since they retain no moisture and those will not break or crack in the winter weather.
Don’t forget to water potted plants – winter damage most frequently occurs due to desiccation (drying out). You must not forget to water containers when they are dry, especially before you expect a hard freeze. It is best to water in the morning because that is when the soil is warming up.
Plants need good drainage – when you water plants, you have to ensure the water drains properly. Otherwise, it will accumulate, expand and possibly break the container. The planters need to have drainage holes and well-draining potting soil. Also, don’t let plants sit in a tray of water, as most winter plants don’t like soggy conditions.
Pick your plants wisely – container soil can get colder than ground soil, so it is important to select plants that do well at least one zone colder than the area you are located in.
Placement is essential – although sunlight is rather weak in the winter, you should still locate your potted plants in the sunniest possible spot. Also, make sure they are away from any strong winds that can dry the plants or topple over the pots.
Protect pots – group your pots together for better protection and place them against a sheltered location. You can also wrap them in burlap if you suspect winter weather can cause them some damage.
Feed them slowly – one thing you should know about plants in the winter is that they actually absorb fewer nutrients then. Don’t even try to overwater and overfeed them – it won’t help them one bit. What you can do for them is use enriched soil and a well-balanced organic fertiliser when you plant them. This will give them a good supply of nutrients for the winter.
Following these tips is a sure way to look after potted plants in the winter. They guarantee that you will successfully manage your plants and still experience the joys of gardening throughout the harshest of seasons.