Winter weather can be very harsh for tender and sensitive plants, especially with a potential freeze warning. A freeze happens when the outside temperature drops under 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Tender perennials and fragile plants can damage severely when the trapped water inside the plants freeze. Hardy plants also face the same danger from cold and chill. There are many ways to save tender plants from freezing. With some proper planning, you'll be able to protect fragile plants from freeze damage. Let's look at some simple and effective ways to secure sensitive plants during the colder months.
Sawdust is a waste product of woodworking industries, such as sawing and milling. It is a widespread practice in gardening to use sawdust as mulch around the plants. Layer 1-2 inches of sawdust in the garden to retain the moisture and hold the warmth from the sun. Sawdust mulch is highly acidic, making it perfect to use around acid-loving plants like blueberries. Some say sawdust can be harmful to plants as it decomposes. In that case, a regular application of nitrogen-rich fertilizer can aid with the decomposition process without harming your plants. By taking this precautionary measure, sawdust can be an excellent addition to your winter garden.
Ground covers protect your plants during the winter but also helps with the weed's eruptions when the weather gets warmer. Since they are slow-growing, ground covers need very minimal maintenance. They can hold their appearance all winter long, making them a perfect accessory for any winter garden to look vibrant and beautiful. They provide quilt-like protection to tender plants in a highly economical way.
Covering up your plants with a large quilt or blanket-like fabric is also an excellent technique to protect your plants from freezing. Likewise, you can use heavy card boxes for this purpose. You can also use a thick bed-sheet or a window curtain, burlap, or even a plastic garbage bag as a canopy over fragile plants, securing with heavy objects like brick or stone to trap warm air inside. You can also use a tall stake to support the awning in case of heavy wind. Once the freezing temperature passes by, remove the cover and give them a good soak with water to keep them well hydrated.
All of the above approaches perform flawlessly when the plants are already in the ground. However, one can shelter potted plants by bringing them inside and placing them near windows that receive direct sunlight, giving them a higher level of protection. It is necessary not to over-water the plants and water whenever they feel dry to the touch. A quick tip to remember: fertilize your potted plants once in a few months with slow-release fertilizer to encourage new growth.
Unlike summer, gardening can be a pretty stressful task during the winter. Growing sensitive plants takes a great deal of effort and arrangement, but the simple steps discussed above can help your plants survive any harsh freezing temperature.