As temperatures drop, the amount of care for your winter potted plants increases. Don’t let that scare you, because following these simple tips will ensure you have great color all winter.
First, check your pots to ensure that water can drain. If water is pooling in the pots, then it might freeze and damage the roots or the pot itself. Also the amount of rain we tend to get over the winter can prove damaging to potted plants and invite root rot. Fluffy soil adds a layer of protection so make sure the soil isn’t compacted. Make sure your container can last through the winter. The more porous the material like terra cotta the more likely it will absorb water and crack in the event of a hard freeze.
Pansies, coral bells, flowering kale, and cyclamen are great winter plants for pots. Fertilize pansies and other winter annuals with a water-soluble fertilizer that has nitrate nitrogen. Keep the plants watered when needed. Cold weather dehydrates them. Deadhead pansies to promote new blossoming and to control fungal disease. They will surprisingly survive a frost and bounce back.
If low temperatures loom, cover plants with cloth, burlap or plastic at night. If you use plastic, be sure to remove the covering during the day since temperatures can heat up, causing premature bud growth. Also, when covering, avoid damaging the top part of the plants. Injury sets up the plant for cold and pest damage. You can also bury the container in the soil to provide protection. The soil regulates the temperature and it will protect the roots of plants that are more susceptible to the frost.
If possible moving the plants in a garage for the coldest parts of winter will offer great protection, but don’t forget about them.