With the arrival of winter and the first night frosts it is advisable to protect the plants from the cold and sudden temperature changes which could compromise their survival until the following spring.
Here are some effective natural methods to protect your plants even during the winter season.
Here we are: winter is coming and it’s time to think about how to defend plants from the increasingly biting winter cold.
But before knowing what are the best methods to protect plants from the cold, it is necessary to know the characteristics of the plants themselves. The key factor is their degree of sensitivity to low temperatures. In fact, not all plants suffer from the cold in the same way. While those in pots can easily be moved to a more sheltered place or indoors, those grown directly in the ground will need specific precautions for the entire season.
Those who have a garden, therefore, will have to learn to defend their plants from the winter cold with reliable and long-lasting techniques, which will also vary based on the climate zone in which they are located.
To protect plants kept in pots, however, it will be advisable to move the containers inside the house, under the stairs or in a garage that is not too cold, or to adequately ‘insulate’ the pots and aerial parts of the plant. In more temperate climate zones it will be sufficient to place the pots against a south-facing wall.
But let’s see in detail what are the main techniques that can be used to protect plants from the cold during the winter season.
How to protect plants from the cold: 2 methods you should know
Mulching and valerian are two useful methods for protecting plants from the cold, although they serve different purposes.
If your plants live in the ground or in pots that cannot be moved, mulching is certainly one of the safest and simplest natural methods to implement.
This technique consists of covering the base of the plant with natural materials, such as coconut fibres, dried leaves, wood chips and sawdust, straw, grass clippings, peat, pieces of bark. Many even use inorganic material such as lapilli and of volcanic origin, pumice stone or shells.
In addition to protecting plants from the cold and retaining heat, mulch is also useful for limiting the growth of weeds and weeds. In this way, we will also help keep the soil dry and compact.
The use of various materials must take into account factors such as windiness and rainfall. In the event of heavy rainfall, for example, the grass clippings could compact and not allow the natural ‘transpiration’ of the soil.
Less known, but equally effective for protecting our plants from winter frost, is valerian infusion. We already know the properties of valerian for human health, but perhaps we do not know that its extract is also considered an elixir of long life for plants and flowers.
In addition to protecting plants from the cold, in fact, valerian infusion improves the productivity of fruit plants and vegetables. If sprayed on the plant during the pre-flowering period of the buds, it promotes fruiting.
To prepare the valerian infusion (10 litres), it is necessary to soak 50 g of fresh inflorescences for 3-4 days.
Subsequently, you must filter the liquid and spray it on the plants before evening.
How to protect plants from the cold: potted plants
Potted plants that cannot be moved to a warmer place during the winter suffer from the cold even more than plants grown in the ground. The latter enjoy the thermal inertia of the substrate even when the mercury column drops significantly.
While good mulching is often enough to protect plants in the ground, in the case of potted plants it is necessary to protect both the root system and the aerial part of the plant using different techniques.
As regards the container, it is advisable to insulate it from frost by wrapping it with easily available materials. Old rags, sheets of newspaper, sheets or bubble wrap are excellent for keeping the roots of the plants warm and protecting them from sudden changes in temperature.
For plants that are more sensitive to cold, you can use pot heaters or heat cables to keep them warm. Also check that the pots have good aeration and drainage.
Remember that mulching at the base of the plant is still essential to keep the soil warm: pieces of bark or straw will be perfect to protect the plants from the cold, even for potted plants.
To protect the aerial parts of the plant from the intense cold you can use plastic or non-woven fabric sheets with which you will wrap the branches of the plant along the entire length. Another trick to protect plants from the cold is to tie the branches together with string. However, be careful not to damage the branches. This will allow the plant to maintain heat and protect it from bad weather.
Also remember to gradually reduce watering throughout the fall so the soil isn’t overly wet when the cold weather arrives. Excess water in the soil can freeze and damage the roots.
How to protect plants from the cold at home
Those who have the adequate space to host plants at home during the winter season must keep in mind an important factor that could positively or negatively impact their health. We’re talking about humidity.
In fact, plants suffer greatly from the dry climate, so they must be kept away from radiators, stoves and fireplaces.
Remember that winter heating tends to reduce the humidity in the air. Many houseplants prefer relatively high humidity. Use humidifiers or methods such as water trays placed near plants to keep humidity at an acceptable level.
Keep in mind that the ideal internal temperature for a plant is between 15 and 20° C / 60° and 70° F. Therefore, make sure you guarantee the plant the right hydration, perhaps by vaporizing a little water directly from the leaves and placing humidifiers or trays of water on the radiators.
Another trick is to place the vases against the walls, perhaps placing them against each other in order to create an ideal ‘microclimate’ for their survival.
Only by scrupulously following these instructions will you be able to protect the plants from the cold and keep them healthy and vital until the summer arrives.
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