Your Guide to Winter Container Gardening

Your Guide to Winter Container Gardening

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Though winter is commonly considered as an low season for gardening, these of us who like to get our fingers soiled aren’t caught twiddling our inexperienced thumbs till the spring thaw. Container gardening is a good way to proceed rising when it’s chilly out! There are numerous issues you may plant in your pots year-round, so there’s no want to surrender as soon as the temperatures drop.

The Basics

Many individuals consider container gardening as a spring and summer season exercise, however there’s no purpose it will probably’t be prolonged into fall and winter. If you select cold-hardy vegetation which can be in a position to stand up to the climate situations in your space, winter container gardening is feasible in lots of gardening zones.

Start by figuring out which of the USDA hardiness zones you reside in. Though zones 7 by 10 will present situations way more suited to container gardening than colder areas, nearly each space provides some prospects. Since vegetation in containers are extra weak to chilly than vegetation within the floor, the overall rule for winter container gardening is to decide on vegetation which can be hardy to no less than two zones colder than your personal. Of course, this isn’t utterly ironclad; many timber, shrubs, and perennials which can be hardy in your zone can stay (and even thrive) in containers all through the whole chilly season.

When selecting soil to your containers, you want one thing free — avoid using regular soil. Instead, select a “soilless” soil mix designed particularly for container gardening. Place rocks or pebbles within the backside of the container to make sure correct drainage. A fast notice: Make certain you place giant containers the place you need them earlier than you fill them with soil. They might find yourself too heavy to maneuver as soon as stuffed. Trust me, I’ve discovered that lesson from expertise.

The Containers

Selecting the best container for winter gardening isn’t fairly as straightforward as selecting these to be used within the hotter seasons. The greatest containers have to be made of industrial quality plastic or resin, with a drainage gap and toes to maintain them elevated. This will forestall them from freezing to the bottom (which may break even the hardest of pots).

Avoid stone, cement, and terra-cotta planters, as water will discover its means into their porous surfaces, cycle by freezing and thawing, and crack your stunning pot. Decorative glazed ceramic containers must also be moved indoors.

The Plants

Though our minds are inclined to go straight to evergreen shrubs, there are a surprisingly giant variety of vegetation that lend themselves to winter container gardening. Here’s only a small sampling to think about:

  • Alumroot (Heuchera)
  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)
  • Eastern Teaberry (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • False Cypress (Chamaecyparis)
  • Golden Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’)
  • Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica)
  • Japanese Sedge (Carex morrowii)
  • Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata)
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea)
  • Rubella (Skimmia japonica)
  • Sacred Bamboo (Nandina domestica)
  • Small Soapweed (Yucca glauca)
  • Super Blue Liriope (Liriope muscari)
  • Tasteless Stonecrop (Sedum sexangulare)
  • Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Bugleweed is one plant that may work within the winter. Photo: Adobe Stock

For extra data on which vegetation will greatest deal with the winter situations in your space, ask the employees at your native backyard middle. Be certain to say that you may be planting in containers.

You’ll wish to set up your vegetation early sufficient within the season that they’ve time to acclimate to their pots earlier than the primary onerous freeze. Plants in containers want far much less water through the winter than they do through the summer season. If your container is in an open space the place rain or snowfall can water it, you may let nature handle the watering. Otherwise, water sparingly with a can you retain indoors (to maintain it from freezing and breaking).

Alumroot, additionally generally known as Coral Bells for its tiny bell-like flowers, additionally works effectively in containers. Photo: Jan Haerer, Pixabay

Move It Indoors

If you’re probably not into the thought of placing on snow boots to examine in your vegetation, you might wish to take into account planting an indoor winter container backyard. It doesn’t must be sophisticated — no must construct a full-size greenhouse — all it takes is a straightforward mixture of synthetic lights with greater indoor temperatures to provide a beautiful harvest in your attic, basement, or spare room.

Choose your house, arrange your grow lights, and assemble your pots. One of the perfect issues about container gardening is that you simply don’t have to fret about spacing your vegetation! You can place the pots side-by-side, touching each other. If you’d like to extend how a lot rising you are able to do per sq. foot, set up a couple of cabinets! There are some nice winter veggies you may develop indoors, together with (however not restricted to):

  • Swiss Chard
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage

And, after all, there’s all the time the choice of a windowsill herb garden! Nothing like some recent rosemary, basil, or mint to boost your cooking!

Start your leafy crops in the summertime and permit them to mature. This makes it so that they don’t want as a lot daylight as soon as they’re indoors (and the winter solar is spotty at greatest). They’ll be capable of make do with what gentle is accessible till you’re prepared to reap.

Soaking them as soon as every week or so is often sufficient; examine the moisture degree within the soil extra usually than that, simply in case. If the soil is dry, water instantly. In order to guard your flooring, counter tops, cabinets, and different onerous surfaces, you’ll want to put saucers and plant mats below the pots.

Don’t let winter hold you from getting your gardening repair. A robust container, some hardy vegetation, and slightly little bit of creativeness won’t solely present some much-needed shade to the dreary winter panorama; it is going to additionally carry a little bit of cheer to even the grumpiest of grinches. Happy container gardening!

This article accommodates affiliate hyperlinks. If you buy an merchandise by one among these hyperlinks, we obtain a small fee that helps fund our Recycling Directory. Originally printed on January 8, 2018, this text was up to date in December 2021.