After the warmest autumn on record the British weather is finally getting back to what we expect for this time of year, wetter and colder! Its not just ourselves we need to look after a bit more during the winter months, some of our plants also need extra love and care at this time of year to keep them healthy and vibrant.
Park Home living offers a community based, relaxing and secure lifestyle. One of the most popular ways our residents relax is through gardening, and many of our residents have green fingers as visitors to our sites will see from the beautiful gardens and potted plants on display. At Willowgrove we even have our best garden competition every summer, ‘Willowgrove in Bloom’, which is always very popular with residents. Our teams of expert keepers also help ensure our parks are always well kept and with plant displays watered – when the rain doesn’t do it for them that is!
So whether you’re in Glenholt Park, Bittaford Wood or Cumbria’s Orton Grange location use the guide below and hopefully help keep those winter blues away from your favourite precious plants as the coldest night draw in.
7 TOP TIPS TO PROTECT PLANTS IN WINTER
1. Bring potted plants indoors
The easiest solution to the cold is to move those plants that you can indoors. Even moving them into your garage will be better for them, but ideally place them inside your home to get the heat they need.
- Place potted plants near windows but be careful when its extremely cold outside as freezing temperatures can transfer to your plant if they are touching.
- Don’t put potted plants near vents as this can dry them out and damage them.
2. Apply a layer of mulch
Mulch acts as an insulator holding heat and moisture in the soil. It protects the roots of plants from the cold temperatures. Applying 2-3 inches depth of mulch is just about the right amount.
- Mulch made of wheat or pine straw works well and easy to remove when its done its job.
3. Cover your plants
Old blankets, drop cloth or tarp work perfectly well. Its important to make sure you spread the cover out so that it doesn’t touch the leaves or branches of your plant.
- Remember to take it off during the day so your plants get light and air.
- You may need to weigh down the cover so it doesn’t blow away.
4. Build a cold frame or greenhouse
A simple temporary cold frame can be made by bending slender metal rods into loops and sticking the ends into the ground across a garden row. Place a length of clear plastic sheeting over the loops so that it encloses the plants.
- Make sure the plants in your greenhouse or cold frame receive adequate ventilation. If not you could overheat your plants on a sunny day despite the cold feel on the skin.
5. Water your plants
Prior to an incoming overnight freeze heavily water the soil around your plants. The soil will trap the heat better when its wet than when its dry, and evaporate slowly which warms the air around your plants.
- Don’t water soil that is already frozen, it won’t help and can actually make conditions worse for the plant.
- Don’t heavily water soil around succulents as they can’t tolerate the moisture levels.
6. Supply a heat source
If its a bout of extremely cold weather the above tips may not be enough, but you can still help them out by placing a heat source nearby. Christmas lights or a 100 watt light bulb work well as they are not too hot to cause damage but warm enough to increase temperature.
- Be sure to use outdoor-safe extension chords and materials to avoid a dangerous situation.
- Turn off the heat source during the day.
7. Choose plants suited to the climate
This is by far the best and easiest solution. Learn which plants thrive in your own local weather pattern and choose plants that can withstand the conditions where possible. Some plants may go dormant or lose their leaves during winter so its important to know which of your plants can adapt and will survive, and which will not.
- Your local garden centre will always have good advice for the best suited plants and of course don’t forget your neighbours across the way!