The fall has started. If you want to know how to protect non-hardy plants long before they can be hit by frosts. You can keep half-hardy exotic lovelies going from year to year as long as you can keep them reasonably dry over winter. We have made a list of plants you need to protect during winter. This long list includes fuchsias and geraniums, plus Mexican salvias, daisies and tender herbs like lemon verbena. If you would like to know more about protecting your plants from the frost, visit our garden centre in Poynings and ask our staff for help.
How to protect non-hardy plants
None garden plants survive hard frosts but will come through a light chilling (down to about -2°C) as long as they are kept on the dry side right through winter. A greenhouse is ideal, but if you don’t have one, a sunny conservatory is a good second best. You can even use a bright windowsill, for example, a south-facing windowsill. Although, on very frosty nights, bring your plants into the room as it can get extremely cold next to a window once the heating goes off. It's very important to keep on checking on your plants during winter. Repot garden plants into a new pot, add new potting soil and place the pot on a sunny site.
Guide to protect non-hardy plants
- Dig up plants growing in the garden
- Pot them up in a 50:50 mix of multipurpose compost and grit for sharp drainage
- Make sure you use a pot only a little larger than the rootball so they aren’t sitting in soggy compost all winter.
- Plants that already grow in pots can stay as they are: just move the plant, pot and all, indoors undercover.
Care for non-hardy plants by replacing them inside
Once they’re inside, cut back the top growth by a third to a half, always cutting to just above a pair of leaves. Remove any dead or damaged stems and leaves. Then add water just once, and leave them out on the bench in the greenhouse. Inspect them regularly, pulling off any leaves which start to yellow as soon as you see them. Don’t water until they become really dry – sometimes this can be as little as once every two to three months. Then in spring, as soon as you see signs of life, increase watering and repot into fresh compost to bring them back into growth ready for another season.
Do you want more tips to keep your plants from frosting? Visit Rushfields Plant Cente in Poynings and ask our staff about all ins-and-outs about protecting your plants. We look forward to welcoming you to our garden centre. For questions, please contact us.