With winter on the horizon, anxiety can arise for apartment dwellers who choose to maintain outdoor plants. All it takes is one particularly strong freeze, and several plants can be gone overnight. However, there are a few precautions you can take so you won’t have to start over in the spring.
1. Insulate in the Evening
A common trick for potted plants is to wrap them in various materials overnight so that the roots don’t freeze. You can use blankets, sheets, styrofoam, or tarps. It’s important to note that the insulation should be wrapped around the pot, not the actual plant, since keeping the roots alive is most important. Another way to keep the plant itself healthy is by installing poles around the plant, wrapping plastic around the poles, and then filling the space with insulative material. This creates a kind of nest around the plant to keep it warmer. Make sure to take the covering off of your plants during the day so they can get sunlight, and then repeat the process as needed.
2. Water Your Plants Carefully
Even though it may seem counterintuitive at first, watering your plants in the winter will not cause them to freeze more easily. Regardless of the season, plants need plenty of water to stay healthy. However, there are some important things to keep in mind when watering plants in the winter. First off, make sure to water them during the day, after the severe freezing has passed. This will ensure that the plants absorb as much moisture as possible, and that the water doesn’t just freeze on the surface. In addition, make sure that you water only the roots of the plant, and not the visible stalk or leaves. Again, the roots are the important part, and watering the leaves can lead to unnecessary damage.
3. Find a Good Place for Your Pot
When protecting your plants, you should place them in a spot that has a fairly consistent temperature throughout the day. Placing the pot on soil rather than pavement is ideal, since heat still radiates from the earth during the winter. The geographical position of your plants is also important; remember to keep them on the north or east side of the apartment, where temperatures fluctuate less throughout the day. Lastly, making sure you have a suitable pot is key to your success. Flimsy plastic pots do not insulate very well, and can crack in low temperatures. Opt for more durable wood or metal pots, but remember to check that they’re not too heavy to move around.