Taking care of your plants during the winter months

Winter isn’t really a time most people associate with active gardening. In fact, the experts advise that it is important to allow your plants to rest over this period. But what about taking care of them? Your plants, for example, will still need a certain amount of watering even during the cold winter months. But this will differ between those that are outdoors and those kept indoors.

So, what are the steps you should take to ensure that they survive the cold months?
Let’s check off a couple of items on your winter gardening to-do list to get you and your precious plants through the season.

Taking care of outdoor plants

During the cold winter months, outdoor plants need extra care and attention. The weather and temperature can really affect many of them, so there’s some careful maintenance work to be done.

Mulching the soil around your garden plants is a great way to protect them while they are dormant. A variety of organic materials can be used for this purpose. Popular ones are straw, shredded leaves, pine needles and bark. Remember that you will need to remove the mulch when the spring growing season arrives.

What about watering?

Even while your garden is dormant, your plants still require some periodical watering. If they become completely dehydrated in the winter months they may not survive until spring. So, if you have very little rain and the soil feels dry to the touch, give them some water, but avoid getting the ground soggy. Preferably do this early in the day so that the water can be absorbed before freezing nighttime temperatures ensue.

Check on indoor plants

Plants that are inside your home are not as care intensive as outdoor plants. However, they still need a bit of extra work in the winter so that they will stay healthy.

For potted indoor plants, very little watering is required. Too much could produce soft, weak growth or even cause roots to rot. For most indoor plants, watering once a fortnight should be sufficient. Assess the dryness of the soil by pushing a finger a couple of inches down. Potted succulents require relatively less water, and for cacti, you can stop watering entirely over this period.

For plants that are used to growing under humid conditions, winter can prove to be a very dry period. So, make sure that they are sufficiently hydrated by spraying a fine mist on the leaves a couple of times daily. You can also place them in some of the more humid parts of the house such as the laundry room or perhaps even a bathroom.

Don’t forget that all plants need light

The shorter days and longer nights that accompany winter can prove a challenge for our light-loving plant friends. Make sure to put your indoor plants in spots where they receive the optimum amount of daylight. They may do really well on windowsills, provided of course, that your window glazing is well insulated.

Finally, consult the experienced professionals

If you’re not sure whether you’ve taken sufficient precautions to protect your plants, you can always consult your friendly professional florist for more detailed information and guidance. This is especially true for your flowering annuals and perennials.
The winter season can be harsh on plants, but with a little bit of effort, they will still thrive. Before you know it, there will be fresh green sprouts, with your plants ready to bloom again once spring is here.