Cold weather and frost during the winter months can easily damage your plants. Frost can cause your plants to become blackened, limp or distorted, evergreen plants can often turn brown, and the leaves can turn translucent on tender plants. There are many ways you can protect your garden against the cold and frost. Here are some of our top tips…
Simple, fleece-covered frames can protect plants that are trained against walls or tender plants growing in the open ground. A layer of bracken leaves or straw between two large sections of chicken wire could also be used to cover plants during frosty evenings.
A thick mulch of manure, straw or old leaves can cover tender bulbs, corms and tender, herbaceous plants, to prevent the soil from freezing. A loose layer of straw or a bell-cloche can protect new shoots in the spring. Evergreen plants will also benefit from mulch. This should be placed around their bases to keep the soil frost-free, allow them to take up moisture during periods of cold weather, and stop them from becoming dehydrated.
Growing tender plants in pots is ideal as they can be moved inside during bad weather. Choose outdoor containers that are frost-proof to prevent them cracking. Lift pots and containers into a shed or greenhouse for protection.
Those that can’t be moved should be placed on ‘pot feet’ to prevent waterlogging. A light, free-draining compost with added perlite will also help with this. Insulate them with a layer of bubble wrap or hessian to prevent them freezing and cracking and ensure plant rootballs stay healthy.
For plant that cannot be grown in pots, take cuttings over winter place these in a warm greenhouse, ready for planting in spring.
Wrapping layers of fleece or hessian stuffed with straw around the crowns of tree ferns will insulate their trunks. The leaves of cordylines and palms should be tied in bunches to protect their crowns.
Low-growing plants can be protected from wet weather by covering them with a sheet of glass or a cloche. Surrounding them with a layer of gravel or grit will ensure swift drainage.