Winter is Coming. Is Your Garden Ready?

Updated: Jul 25

Written by Sharon Asakawa and Victoria Tichy


Days are getting shorter and a crisp chill is in the air - winter is on its way!


Most of your outdoor plants may go dormant and lose their typical radiance, but trust that they are just hunkering down to hibernate - and this season gives a much needed break from weeds and pests!


With the right preparation for Winter, come the growing season next spring your garden will be set up for success.


Even if it is too cold to enjoy your garden outdoors, there are creative ways to get colors and blooms indoors too.


Keep reading for the expert's advice from Smart Plant Home to make sure that your plants will be #thriving this winter!




Protect Your Outdoor Plants


When it’s cold enough to put on your thermals, don’t forget your plants! We need to protect our frost-sensitive plants outdoors and indoors.


If you see your frosty breath when singing, “Baby it’s cold outside,” keep your tender plants warm and toasty by covering them with a blanket of mulch or cotton sheets! Don’t use plastic, as plastic does not insulate.


Maintain a 3-4 inch layer of mulch to protect roots systems from damaging weather, but leave a 2-4 inch space around the base or trunk


Working in a large area? Ask for an antitranspirant spray product at your local nursery - it is easy to apply and leaves a thin coating on foliage that protects against Old Man Winter.


Pro tip: For a festive look, string Christmas lights around a tender tree or shrub. Just a couple degrees of protection is often all they need to get them through winter!


Get Creative with a Garden Inside


Too frigid to go outdoors? Bring the beauty of the outdoors indoors by forcing bulbs!




It is easy to force Narcissus, Crocus and Hyacinth bulbs by planting them in 4-6 inches of well-draining potting soil in pots with drainage holes or special water vases designed for bulbs.


Just place them by a sunny, south-facing window to watch them grow, even when it's cold outside!


Although marketed during the holidays as Amaryllis, these are really Hippeastrum with spectacular clusters of gorgeous trumpet-shaped blooms on long stems. From South America, the bulbs can been forced to bloom during winter in water vases or potting soil filled pots, but their natural season is spring.


Once the blooms are spent, take them outdoors when the weather is more mild and place in

direct sun. Continue to water and maintain it until the strap-shaped leaves have yellowed and died back, then allow to dry during late summer or early fall, and begin watering again when new growth begins to emerge. They should re-bloom again the following spring. If replanting in the ground or in a new pot, make sure the upper third of the bulb is above soil level.


Adding Holiday Cheer


Another way to keep your home full of vibrancy and life is to decorate it with colorful poinsettias. We can help you keep them beautiful through the entire holiday season!


Place poinsettias indoors in an area with bright, indirect light. When the soil feels dry down to about 2 inches below the soil surface, take your plant out of the decorative foil cover and water thoroughly in the sink. Allowing the water to drain out fully before returning to its decorative cover.


Make sure the pot has drainage holes and do not allow to sit in water or root rot will result!


There is no need to fertilize, because the grower has most likely fed it before

available for retail sale. Protect from dry heat by keeping it away from heating vents and fireplaces.


Download the Smart Plant and Tree Care app


For accurate regional care, you'll need advice that is relevant to your precise zip code. Download the Smart Plant and Tree Care app to get support from real experts. Load your plants into your digital garden and we'll tell you how to care for them! Plus, you can discover new and unique plants to add to your collection.


About The Author


Sharon Asakawa graduated from San Diego State University with a double degree in American Foreign Policy and Political Science. After marrying Bruce Asakawa, she began working at his family retail Presidio Nursery, eventually managing both florist departments at Presidio and Bonita Garden Centers. She appeared with Bruce on Over the Hedge’s television program and became co-host on the Garden Compass radio program along with Bruce in 2000. Sharon was the editor of Garden Compass Magazine and Garden Compass Planting Guide, publications.


Bruce and Sharon wrote their first book, Bruce and Sharon Asakawa’s California Gardener’s Guide, now in its 7th printing, co-wrote with Teri Dunn the SW edition of Jackson &Perkins Beautiful Roses Made Easy and the SW edition of Jackson & Perkins Outstanding Perennials

and with their son Eric Asakawa, their fourth book California Gardening Rhythms. Their 5th book, California Gardener’s Resource Book is also available. She currently works for Smart Plant Home as content and garden expert coordinator.

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