Get Your Plants Ready for Winter

People who love plants generally have a number of them around their home. These plants can be found in flower gardens, vegetable gardens and in large pots around the porch or patio. You’ll want to winterize your potted outdoor plants so they survive until spring by following these tips.

Think about bringing outdoor potted plants in at least three weeks before the first expected frost. Begin preparing a place in your home or well-lit garage to house your plants during the winter months. The plants will still require full sunlight during the day and you’ll need to provide humidity by misting them regularly. If possible, place your plants in an east-facing or south-facing window to receive the most sunlight.

Pull your potted plants out of direct sunlight into a shadier area for a couple of days to help the plants adjust to the difference in light slowly. Leave them in the shade for at least a week before moving them into the house. Of course, if they can be kept in the shade for a couple of weeks, it would be better. This will prepare your plants for being moved indoors where the light will be filtered or artificial rather than direct light.

Check your outdoor plants for pests before bringing them in. Remove any aphids, spiders or other insects which may be hiding among the leaves. This will keep the pests from overwintering in your home or possibly infecting other indoor plants.

You may have some plants which have been grown in the ground that you want to preserve for spring. Dig those plants up and pot them a couple of weeks before moving them indoors. Be sure to allow for plenty of drainage and keep a basin underneath the pot to avoid water getting on the floor.

Trim the plants a little bit to encourage new growth and make the plants small enough to fit in your home. When it’s time to move the plants back outdoors you’ll want to trim them back again. Trimming the plants helps them adjust to the changes in temperature and humidity.

Forgo fertilizing your plants while they’re indoors. You’ll want to water them thoroughly but not too often. Outdoor plants aren’t accustomed to having very much rain or fertilization during the late autumn and winter months, because that’s not the time for growth. Begin fertilizing and watering more often right before moving the plants back outdoors.

Depending upon where you live, you might be able to dig a ditch around the garden to bury the potted plants. Water the plants monthly but only so the soil is damp to the touch. Dig about 12 to 15 inches down so the pot can be placed in the soil. Pile mulch around the pot and plant to help sustain the temperature during cold months.

Check with local gardeners if this is your first year to winterize your potted outdoor plants. Most gardeners are glad to help one another out. The above ideas are a start, but talking to an experienced gardener might be your best bet in winterizing any potted plants you have.

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