How to Cover Your Plants for Winter

As the temperatures drop at night, you may wonder how to protect your plants from the cold. One option is to cover them up!

Covering plants during the winter may seem odd, like wrapping trees, but it works very well. Continue scrolling to understand what you can do to prepare your plants for the winter and why it will help.

How to Cover Your Plants for Winter

To cover plants for winter, use materials such as blankets, burlap, or fleece to insulate the plant and protect it from frost. Place a basket or container upside down or loosely peg fabric over the plant. Remove covers during the day to allow for sunlight and air circulation.

1. Determine where your plants are located and what type of material is best suited to cover them (i.e., a container for potted plants or garden netting for in-ground plants). 

2. Make sure the material you use is not too heavy, as it could potentially damage the plant. 

3. Cover your plants at night and remove the cover in the morning to allow for sunlight and warmth. 

4. Consider using options such as inverted baskets, blankets, burlap sacks, frost cloth, or close-knitted garden netting to protect your plants from harsh winter weather. 

5. Keep an eye on your covered plants throughout the winter and make adjustments to ensure their survival until spring arrives.

Why Covering Plants Work?

So why does covering plants work? The reason is that covering vulnerable garden plants at night prevents freezing. Sunlight helps warm plants after a chilly night. When you cover a plant, you create a mini greenhouse that traps heat and prevents the plant from getting too cold.

Which Plants Should You Cover? 

Fuschia on patio
Fuschia on the patio

Tender plants especially vulnerable to cold temperatures include Fuschia, dahlias, pelargoniums, tree ferns, begonias, and succulents. If you have one of these plants in your garden, give them extra protection this winter.

Can I Use Garbage Bags to Cover Plants?

“Yes, you can use garbage bags to cover plants to protect them from frost damage. However, the bag mustn’t come into direct contact with the plant’s foliage and touches the ground for added protection.

It may also be helpful to create a tent-like structure over the plant using poles and supports to retain heat and moisture. Be sure to remove the bags during warmer weather to allow for adequate sunlight and airflow.”

What is the Best Material to Cover Plants from Frost?

One of the most popular materials for covering plants from frost is burlap, which provides a natural, breathable option.

However, it may not provide as much protection as synthetic materials like polyethylene or Frost Cloth. Polypropylene offers more robust protection but can trap too much heat and moisture.

Fleece is a middle-ground option that offers decent protection without excessive heat buildup.

Newspaper can be used for low-growing plants, but it can be challenging to keep in place and may not offer enough protection. Repurposed cardboard boxes, linens, and towels can also work in a pinch, but they may not provide enough insulation.

Ultimately, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of your plants and choose a covering material accordingly. It may also be helpful to use multiple layers or switch out coverings as needed during particularly harsh winter periods.

Why is it Wrong to Cover Plants with Plastic?

Using plastic to cover plants can have many negative consequences. Firstly, plastic is not a breathable material, trapping moisture and potentially causing harm to the plant.

In addition, chemicals in the plastic can leach into the soil and potentially harm the plant and any individuals consuming produce grown in that soil.

When adopting plastic as a covering, remember that care must be taken to ensure the leaves avoid coming into touch with the plastic, as this can result in freezing and damage to the plant. 

Overall, there are better, more sustainable options for protecting plants from frost or other weather conditions. Using biodegradable plant covers or building protective structures out of materials like wood can provide adequate frost protection without risking harm to the plants or the environment.

Is Frost Cloth Better than a Sheet?

A frost cloth (also known as a frost blanket or garden fabric) is a lightweight, porous material that can cover plants and protect them from frost. It works by trapping heat and creating a micro-climate around the plants, helping to keep them warm during cold temperatures.

Pros of using a frost cloth include the ability to customize the coverage based on the size and shape of your plants and their vulnerability to frost. They also offer some protection against pests and insects. 

One potential con of using a frost cloth is that it may not provide enough protection in freezing temperatures.

In these instances, it may be necessary to use additional measures such as covering with sheets or bringing plants indoors. 

In conclusion, while both options have pros and cons, frost cloths are generally considered the better option for protecting plants from frost damage.

How Do You Wrap Potted Plants in the Winter?

1. Start by selecting a material for wrapping your potted plants, such as garden netting, fleece, frost cloth, burlap, sheets, or blankets. Avoid using plastic if possible.

2. Wrap the material around the pot and secure it with twine or tape. Make sure the plant’s leaves and stems are not restricted or crushed by the wrap.

3. For added protection on balconies, patios, and decks, consider placing potted plants in a sheltered area (like an enclosed patio) or covering them with a waterproof tarp.

4. Check on your wrapped plants periodically to ensure they still receive enough sunlight and water during winter.

What Temperature Do You Need to Cover your Plants?

Suppose the temperature drops below 29-32 degrees. You should cover your plants. However, some hardier plants may be able to withstand temperatures as low as 28 degrees without protection.

The danger of frost damage is amplified when the wind chill factor and humidity are also considered. It is always better to use caution and cover your plants when there is a chance of frost.

Final Thoughts

So there are some helpful tips for best covering your plants during the winter. Be sure to consider the specific needs of your plants and choose a covering material accordingly.

Using multiple layers or switching out coverings as needed during particularly harsh winter periods is also essential. And lastly, don’t forget to remove the coverings during the day so your plant can get some sunshine!

Would you know any additional solutions for keeping plants alive over the winter? Discuss your ideas in the space provided here.

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