No chance for the frost: 10 questions about winter protection


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In persistent cold weather your potted plants need an effective winter protection. With jute, fleece and colored ribbons, the pots are packed quickly and decoratively. Very important is also the root protection. In order to isolate the globe from all sides, you can place the vessels in baskets that are filled with dry autumn leaves. Here are the most important tips for hibernating potted plants on the balcony and terrace.

1. Which potted plants can stay outside?

Basically, all the plants that you can plant in our gardens are winterized as potted plants. These include roses, shrubs and small deciduous trees such as book, cherry laurel, barberry and coniferous trees such as dwarf juniper, dwarf pine and tree of life. Even winter hardy grasses, perennial herbs such as sage and garden shrubs such as, for example, funchies (Hosta), purple bells and fat hen spend the winter outdoors. However, they are more delicate in the pot than planted out. This is especially true for young plants.

Fat hen in the snow

Fat hens are hardy and can stay out safely

2. Which winter protection material is suitable for what?

Effective to protect the roots are materials that form an insulating layer and with which the pots can be well packed, such as thick mats or foils with air pockets. Because air conducts cold badly, the heat that is stored by the potting soil during the day is retained until well into the night. To protect the shoots are materials that keep cool winds and dehydrating winter sun. They should be permeable to air. Foils are unsuitable as crown protection.

3. How do you pack the plants?

Wrap the plant in fleece

Pack your potted plants wind and weatherproof with a breathable fleece

Important for all winter protection measures is that the packaging withstands wind and weather. Even animals should not get under the covers. That's why you tie down the protection for roots in the pot and shoots very carefully with strings. However, the cords should not sit too tight, so that the crowns remain loose and can dry quickly after rainfall. Thus, under the coats no rot. Place the pots on bricks or clay feet, so that the winter protection material has no contact with the ground and water can run off well.

4. How much cold do frost-hard potted plants tolerate?

Especially with small pots, the entire root area can completely freeze in permafrost. This also damage plants, which are otherwise considered frost hardy. Because planted out in the garden soil, the roots are much better protected. Heat is supplied from deeper soil layers and the frost penetrates much slower and less deeply than in the bucket. That's why you should, for example, protect books in pots starting at minus five degrees Celsius and also cover the planters of other winter-hardy plants as a precaution.

5. When do frost sensitive potted plants have to be allowed?

To plant plants

Do not place winter-proof potted plants in their winter quarters in time in the autumn

For non-winter-proof potted plants, frost will freeze the liquid in the leaf cells. It expands and the cells burst - irreparable damage. Only a single frosty night is enough to blacken leaves and branches of fuchsias, lanterns or angel trumpets. You must therefore before the first frost into the house. Depending on the region, this is already the case in October, but often not until November. More robust species like the oleander will last a few nights below zero degrees. In permafrost, however, they also take damage. Therefore, ask for the refrigeration tolerance of the plants when buying.

6. Where do you overwinter the plants?

Most frost-sensitive potted plants need a bright winter quarters. Suitable locations are therefore rooms that are flooded with light and at the same time cool. These can be garages, basement, work and work rooms or guest rooms. Even bright staircases or house entrances can be used. Optimal are conservatories that are not constantly heated to living temperature, or small greenhouses that you keep frost-free. The more space these rooms offer, the better it is for the plants. If they are too close, they take each other's light away, pests and diseases can spread faster.

7. How cool should the winter quarters be?

Most frost-sensitive potted plants require a rest period of several months at cooler temperatures. They would continue to grow if warmed, but the light is not enough for healthy growth given our short and often gloomy winter days. The shoots are long and lose their rich green.In order to interrupt growth, the temperature should therefore be below 15 degrees Celsius, for a large part of the potted plants, temperatures between five and ten degrees are optimal. The plants then pause and save their power reserves to drive out stronger in the spring.

Thermometer at 15 degrees

The temperature in winter quarters should be consistently below 15 degrees

8. Can potted plants be kept in the dark during the winter?

The basic rule that says which potted plants need to be brightly wintered and which also manage with little light is quite simple: Evergreen species that keep their leaves in winter need as much light as possible. Plants that shed their foliage in the fall may be dim. These include, for example, angel trumpets and fuchsias. Absolute darkness does not get any plant. A small window should always be present, otherwise your protégés will take far too long to plant flowers or fruits in spring. Alternatively, plant lights provide the necessary amount of light.

9. Should you water and fertilize in winter?

From the end of August to March is not fertilized. However, you should reach for the watering can even in winter. Most plants in winter quarters must not dry out. But only water so much that the root ball does not dry out completely. In the open air, evergreens use water as soon as they are lit by the winter sun. They must therefore be watered in frost-free, low-precipitation times even in winter.

Pour plants in winter, too

Especially winter-green plants need a sip of water every now and then over the cold days

10. Cut back in the fall?

The best time for crown corrections is the early spring before the new sprouting of the branches. The cuts heal very quickly in spring and the cut crowns branch out richly. Nevertheless, you can reach for the scissors already in the fall, before conceding. However, be careful, as the branches may dry during the winter. If you cut too much now, too little of the plant remains after the correction cut in the spring. The pruning in autumn should therefore be limited to a clearing, brushing and easy shortening of the crowns so that the shoots are not too dense.

Video Board: Protecting succulents from frost.

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