It's the perfect time to talk about everything you need to know about container gardening now that the cold season is here!
Container Gardening Tips and Tricks for the Cold Season
Container Gardening Tips
Gardening during the cold season can be really tricky. Not all plants are meant for the cold weather and the same during the warm season.
During the cold season, perennial shrubs and evergreen trees are the best options. Check out these useful container gardening tips to help you maintain the beauty of your plants during the cold season.
1. Cover Your Plants
If you want to keep your plants outside, such as vegetables, cover it as much as possible. You can use a greenhouse, which you can DIY or buy online.
Another option is to cover it with white spun fabric, which will protect your plants from frost during those chilly days and throughout the entire season. Covering your plants will protect your hardy plants and keep them alive longer.
Remember plants in containers are more vulnerable to the cold weather as compared to those in the ground.
2. Keep the Plants You Want to Live Indoor
If you have house plants you wish to keep alive during the course of the winter, keep them indoors. Most of the time, tropical plants are the ones you should keep indoors. Plants that grow in a warmer climate must be kept inside your house to protect them.
With this tip, these indoor plants will continue to live and should flourish towards the end of the cold season. If you bring plants before the cold season starts, plants will continue to flower during the early course of winter.
3. Be Aware of Your USDA Hardiness Zone
Container gardening in winter is crucial – you need to learn about the hardiness zone and use plants that are hardy with at least two zones colder than yours.
For example, if you are in Zone 7, you should consider planting plants hardy to Zone 5. This is not a requirement but would help a lot when gardening for the winter.
4. Do Not Use Terra Cotta for Container Gardening in Winter
One tip is you shouldn't use terra cotta pots for container gardening during winter. Terra cotta containers can crack when it freezes and thaws.
You may instead consider using containers made of fiberglass, stone, concrete, metal, thick plastic, or logs instead. Don't forget to add the holes at the bottom for drainage, and as much as possible elevate these containers off the ground to avoid freezing.
5. Use Evergreen Plants
When taking care of a winter garden, it doesn't mean you have to take care of actively growing plants. You can use evergreens to make your container gardening look fresh and more alive.
To add to the holiday feel, you can add pinecones and evergreen boughs. Don't forget to spray anti-desiccants to make your plants look fresh all the time throughout the season.
6. Be Ready for the Frost
It is important to take note of the frost dates predicted to come to your area especially its first day. This is important because you need to stop adding fertilizers to your containers especially the perennials in your garden at least 1 1/2 to 2 months before the first frost.
Doing this will stop growth for a while and making the plant tender for the cold season. Leaving it that way will be difficult for the plant to survive freezing weather and could eventually die.
7. Understand “Freezing”
Speaking of freezing, there are three levels of freezing you need to know for your plants. A light freeze, which is 29° to 32°, could affect and kill tender plants. In this temperature range, vegetation can survive.
A moderate freeze, which is 25° to 28°, can be very difficult for tender and semi-hardy plants to survive. Heavy damage will most likely happen.
Lastly, a severe freeze, which is 25° or colder, will most likely kill most plants and only leave hardy plants alive.
Replant perennials planted in small containers. During the colder days, plants in smaller containers tend to absorb more of the freezing temperature and could kill the plants.
What you can do is replant the perennials on a garden bed or if possible, bring it indoors.
9. Use Cold-Hardy Perennials
Some of the cold-hardy perennials you can use are Coral Bells, Smokebush, Ivy, or Lamb's Ear. To make your garden more alive and colorful even in extreme temperatures, you can try planting colt-hardy perennials.
You can choose from different kinds of colorful plants and even add texture with leafy and grassy plants. Use cold-hardy perennials that can survive at least two zones colder than your place.
10. Decorate Garden with Cold Loving Annuals
If you want to add decoration to your garden and bring in more texture and shapes, you can add cold-loving annuals like flowering cabbages, sages, flaxies, and kales.
Although some annuals may only live past the first frost, it will look great and add a sculptural design to your garden when it's covered in snow.
Watch this video from Garden Answer to learn more tips about container gardening:
Now you have these container gardening tips in check, remember to take extra care of your plants and your garden especially this season.
Do you already have an idea of how you would set up your garden this season? Share and show your ideas in the comments section below.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 20, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.