How to Take Care of Outdoor Plants in Winter

In winter, we never know what to expect. We may have snow, we may have unusually warm conditions. We may have heavy precipitation or not enough (like the late winter drought we got last year in St. Louis!). To take good care of plants this winter, it will help to know a few gardening basics to protect and get your plants through harsh, cold temperatures. 

Taking Care of Outdoor Plants in Winter

Prepare Outdoor Plants for Winter

Preparing your landscape plants for winter takes some planning. Perennial plants go into hibernation every winter and are usually the easiest to prepare for the cold. Most plants need to be cut back and mulched, to help plants come back healthy and vibrant in spring. Keep track of rainfall throughout winter, to make sure your outdoor plants don’t need to be watered from now until spring.

Over-Wintering Container Plants & Potted Plants 

When you have outdoor potted plants, you may need to provide extra insulation in order for them to survive harsh winter weather. Check to make sure your outdoor plant containers and pots are made of high quality, frost resistant material. Just like other outdoor plants, be sure to monitor precipitation to check if watering is needed.

Moving Outdoor Plants Inside

Some plants can be brought indoors and grown as houseplants. Certain varieties can handle dry winter conditions and cooler temperatures. Make sure you place all houseplants in the best indoor spots for sunlight exposure because winter sunlight isn’t very intense or long-lasting. This winter, try bringing a coleus or fuchsia plant inside as a nice reminder of summer!

Mulching Your Yard in Winter 

Winter mulching differs from spring mulching in St. Louis. Why? Rather than suppressing weeds and conserving water, winter mulching is meant to keep the ground frozen. Frozen ground won’t kill hard plants, however repeated freezing and thawing will. Help your outdoor plants make it through our unpredictable winters in St. Louis with a layer of mulch, which can as easy as spreading the collected leaves from fall, piled around your plant beds.

Over-Winter Plant Bulbs

Spring and summer bulbs require little care during the growing season, however you can’t just leave the bulbs in the ground all year long. All tender bulbs need to be dug up and stored in winter (especially in St. Louis). Store bulbs in a cool, dry place where temperatures stay above freezing. A dry unheated basement, crawl space or garage is a great spot to keep spring bulbs.

Winter Rose Care 

Many of our landscape design and maintenance clients have roses. If you love roses, it’s important to give them attention going into winter. For example, in August we recommend that roses don’t get fed or pruned for the remainder of the year into spring, to discourage new growth that could suffer from winter damage. Leave all last flowers on the plant, to turn into hips. Rose hips are the rose’s seed pods. When roses produce seed pods, the rose bush thinks it’s done for the season and can start to go dormant for winter.

Winter Plant Watering 

Our final tip is very important following last winter in St. Louis. Unfortunately, many newly installed or young landscape plants didn’t survive winter if they weren’t watered just a few times last winter. Oftentimes, homeowners don’t realize that plants need to be watered even when it’s cold outside. Make sure to keep up with land care news by signing up for our green living e-newsletter or following us on social media. Quiet Village Landscaping shares important plant care advisories throughout the year to help homeowners keep their yards and gardens healthy and beautiful, no matter what Mother Nature is doing.