Tips to Keep Your Outdoor Plants Healthy this Winter

Though you may be more focused on your outdoor plants during the growing season, the onset of colder weather doesn’t mean you can give your green thumb a break. In fact, certain gardening tasks are better done during the winter months.

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If you want to keep your landscape and garden healthy and beautiful all year long, take extra special care of your outdoor plants during the winter.

Bring Potted Outdoor Plants Inside for the Winter

Are container plants a part of your landscape or garden? If so, you’ll probably need to bring them inside. Otherwise, they may not last through the winter.

Container plants generally need to come inside when the overnight temperature drops below 50 degrees. With some container plant varieties, a gradual transition to the indoors is advised, increasing their time inside over the course of a week or two, so as not to shock the plant.

Before bringing your container plants inside for the winter, be sure to check for leaf- and soil-dwelling insects that may try to hitch a ride. And, if any of your plants need to be repotted, make sure to handle the job now, so they will continue to grow healthy and strong until spring’s arrival.

Protect Outdoor Plants from the Cold Weather

Do you have cold-hardy plants that can grow outside during the winter? Even those that can endure the cold weather need some additional protection to thrive in the harsh Utah winter climate.

Mulching is key, as it will keep your outdoor plants insulated. Spread approximately 3” of organic mulch around the plant bases and stems, adding more as necessary throughout the season.

If you want further protection, you can use cloches for outdoor plants. Cloches are like little mini-greenhouses that sit over the plants to keep the growing environment warm.

If you need to protect a larger garden bed, consider cold frame gardening. A cold frame is essentially a bottomless box with a window at the top, built close to the ground around outdoor plants. Cold frame gardening lets the warmth of the sun reach the plants, but keeps them from feeling the effects of harsh winter temperatures and wind.

Prune Deciduous Garden Trees and Shrubs

Winter is the best time of year to prune your deciduous trees and shrubs. Pruning now, when they are dormant, will encourage faster, healthier growth in the spring.

Pick a mild, dry day for this gardening task. Prune out any dead or diseased branches first, then remove overgrown and smaller branches that are not integral to the structure of your trees and shrubs. Also remove any branches that cross over larger, more established parts of the tree. Work slowly, stepping back frequently to judge the balance and symmetry of your pruning. You can always take more branches off, but you can’t put them back once they’re pruned.

The experienced staff at Millcreek Gardens can help care for your Utah garden this winter or any time of year. Stop by our Salt Lake City greenhouse and garden center today for more tips and advice for beautiful and healthy outdoor plants.