Don’t let cold weather stop you from growing flowers and fresh produce at home.
If in-ground gardening isn’t an option for you, container gardens can provide a beautiful alternative. By using pots, tubs, baskets, or even old drawers to hold your favorite plants, you can have a flourishing garden anywhere. If you’re faced with a lack of space, difficult weather, or limited sunlight, container gardens provide a practical method for green thumbs everywhere.
Give your plants the care to thrive this winter season with our favorite growing tips.
Use Containers that Can Handle the Cold
Although almost anything can make a wonderful home for your plants, in the wintertime it’s especially important to use materials that can handle extreme weather conditions. Avoid ceramics and terracotta, which are known to break when the temperatures drop. You’ll want to make sure your containers won’t break or get damaged by frequent freezing and thawing. The best materials to use are thick plastic, stone, hollow logs, metal, and concrete.
Allow Healthy Drainage
Another necessity to ensure healthy plant growth is proper drainage. All your containers must have drain holes to let go of excess water. This prevents issues like root-rot or frozen soil. Make sure your drain holes are clean and clear so no clogging occurs. It’s also a good idea to use pot-feet to elevate your plants so you can avoid the mess of vessels freezing to the ground.
Consider an Indoor Garden
When the temperatures really plummet, it might be time to bring your greenery inside. Try to place your plants in a sunny spot like on the windowsill or in a sunroom. Make sure to place pot saucers underneath your pots to catch any excess water, and pour out any stagnant water that builds up there. To further protect your surfaces from water damage, lay down newspapers or even a thin plastic sheet that can easily be cleaned or replaced.
Reduce your Watering Frequency
While summertime calls for daily doses of water, it may not be the best idea during brittle winters. Most plants will do well with a weekly soak, limiting watering sessions to one deep hydration a week. If working with mature vegetables, you can increase this to two or three times a week, as they tend to get thirsty. Always remember to check your plants--if the soil feels arid, don’t hesitate to give them a good watering.
Choose to Grow Strong Species
In conditions where only the tough can survive, make smart choices. Your best bet for flowers would be perennials, a hardy variety which comes in many different colors. Perennials can handle the frosts and do well in typical winter temperatures. Look for coral bells, ivy, lamb’s ear, mums, and smokebush. There are also varieties of annuals that thrive in frigid weather and do well in winter container gardens.
Good annuals to add are flowering cabbages and kales, pansies, and sages. You can grow produce indoors to reap multiple harvests throughout the winter. Try out broccoli, chard, lettuce, and brussel sprouts for fresh greens all season long.