Once the summer comes to a close, your annual flowers die off for good but your perennials don’t. When it’s cold and frosty outside, do you know how to keep your perennials from dying?
If you have your plants in a pot, make sure that pot has good drainage holes. During the winter, your plants are already exposed to excess moisture. Without the proper drainage, your plants could drown and/or freeze and die.
To keep your perennials healthy throughout the winter, stop fertilizing them midway through the summer, but keep watering them through the fall. Stopping fertilization early keeps new growth that would be vulnerable to frost from sprouting. Once winter comes, only water the plants when the soil is dry to keep from overwatering.
If you remember when we talked about annuals, there are hardy and tender plants. The same applies to perennials. Taking care of your plants in the winter means bringing the tender perennials inside– into your shed, greenhouse, or even a bathroom with a window. Ideally, these are brought inside before the first frost; it only takes one to damage your tender perennials.
Hardy perennials have their own set of winter plant care. Wrap their pots in anything from plastic wrap to a small tarp to insulate the soil and roots. Then after the first frost, cut the stems to 4-5 inches above the soil. At this point, their leaves should have already dropped, so trimming isn’t going to damage the plant.
You might have planted your perennials in a garden bed in your yard, so you can’t bring your tender plants inside or monitor their drainage in a flower pot. For your more permanent perennials, you need to make sure you’re aware of which nights have a frost warning to take care of your plants over the winter.
On nights with frost warnings, cover your plants. You can buy garden tunnels, special fabric, or just use a set of sheets if you’re in a pinch. Make sure you have a way to keep the fabric off of the plants themselves and keep them covered.
The rest of your winter plant care for planted perennials follows the same direction as potted plants. Water the soil only if it’s dry and trim the stems to 4-5 inches above the soil.
Over-wintering your plants may seem like a daunting task at first, but when you break it down, it’s only a couple of simple steps you need to follow to keep your perennials healthy for the next growing season. Remember, knowing which nights have a frost warning will help you keep your plants through the winter.