Top seven ways to protect your plants from January snaps

Gardeners are being offered the best ways to protect plants over the chilly months.

By Sue Wilkinson
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 11:19 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 11:20 am
Preventative measures, like sheltering plants, clearing up spaces and insulating soils work great, but sometimes extra steps need to be taken to keep plants healthy
Preventative measures, like sheltering plants, clearing up spaces and insulating soils work great, but sometimes extra steps need to be taken to keep plants healthy

The experts at GardeningExpress.co.uk have pulled together the best ways to make sure your plants survive the drop in temperature and shorter days.

Tips include insulating plant pots with bubble wrap, making mulch and recycling old bottles to save the plants and some pennies.

Preventative measures, like sheltering plants, clearing up spaces and insulating soils work great, but sometimes extra steps need to be taken to keep plants healthy.

Chris Bonnett from GardeningExpress.co.uk said: “Over summer, gardens provide a sanctuary away from the business of life, but over winter they start to look dilapidated.

“The youngest plants in the garden are most likely to be affected by harsh weather. However, even the hardiest varieties sometimes become damaged over a long cold spell.

“If you spot damage to any plant, it is best to remove it straight away to stop it spreading elsewhere. Look at any winter upset as an opportunity to improve your garden skills and make your plants stronger as a result.”

GardeningExpress.co.uk’s tips to protecting plants this winter

1. Bubble wrap

Gently covering delicate plants with bubble wrap can insulate the plant and keep it protected against some harsher weather. Covering the top of the soil with a wrap is a good idea too, as it will protect it from going through frequent periods of freezing and thawing.

Get ahead of the game and start potting next year’s plants in bubble wrap lined pots in anticipation of the next chill.

2. Secure structures

Plants often rely on leaning against structures, like sheds, fences, and walls to grow to their full potential. Make sure that these structures are strong enough to make it through the windy, rainy, and cold winter.

Plants trained against walls can be protected from the cold with fleece-covered frames.

3. Remove damaged shoots and limbs

Before any turbulent weather, it is a good idea to streamline plants by removing any dead shoots. This will also reduce the risk of any long limbs or branches snapping and tangling.

4. Come inside

When ice or frost is forecast, take the more sensitive plants and offer them some shelter. Somewhere unheated is best. Plants will hate being brought inside the home, as it will be too hot, but consider clearing out space in the shed or garage for them to live.

5. Recycled plastic bottles

Individual plants can also be protected using homemade “mini cloches” made from plastic drinks bottles. To create this type of cloche, simply cut the top and bottom of the bottom before placing it around the plant.

This method should protect delicate leaves on young plants from chilly temperatures. You should try to remove these cloches each morning to ensure the air inside does not overheat and damage the plant.

6. Mulch

Mulch can be made using organic matter like decaying leaves, bark, straw, or compost. Placing it around the roots of plants will help insulate and protect them from the cold, however, it only tends to work with hardier plants.

7. Cutting

Winter throws lots of challenges at gardeners and no matter how well looked after your plants are, there is still a small risk of them dying. It’s a great idea to keep the plant tags that comes with non-perennial plants or take a cutting from perennials that are a worry.