What is Overwintering? Shrub and Container Plant Care Tips
Leaving out plants in containers during the winters can actually be a huge mistake. During freezing climates, it is actually recommended to keep shrubs of New Mexico in the ground. It is actually necessary to plant the shrubs into the ground or pots if you want them to survive the winter. Once the soil is frozen, you may also need to mulch the soil with 2-4 inches of leaves or bark to ensure the shrub survives.
If you have to leave the shrubs of New Mexico in the containers, than you may need to take some extra steps to protect them.
What is Overwintering?
Overwintering plants simply means you protect the plants from the excessively cold temperatures of the winters. You may need to shelter them indoors and grow them as houseplants. Other shrubs of New Mexico may also need to go into a dormant period in a dark or cool place such as the basement or garage.
Things You Need To Know Before You Overwinter Your Container Plants
You may need to take a look at the USDA Hardiness zone if you are planning on overwintering your plants. Depending on the zone you live in, you may need different methods of protecting your plants. If you live in zone 7 or 8, you may be able to save most of your plants despite the chilly nights.
Another thing you need to be mindful of as winter comes is the water routes. Usually, the water in the ground freezes under the containers. This makes it really hard for the water in the pots to drain out. If the water stands in the pot for too long it can actually induce severe rotting in the roots. When the weather begins to chill to extreme temperatures, this water may even freeze and cause the plant to experience a lot of damage. To prevent this, make sure to tilt the pots slightly to let the water drain out properly.
Some containers are really porous, and can actually develop cracking during the freezing temperatures of the winter. Avoid using containers made of untreated terracotta since they are most likely to freeze and crack. This is because the material absorbs water.
Surviving Shrubs in New Mexico Winters
You will need to take some extra measures to protect container plants during the winters. These steps include:
- Add more soil in the container to insulate the roots from the cold. A better option is to put the containers in a larger one with soil or mulch filled in the sides.
- Once the ground has frozen you will need to add mulch to the tops of shrubs of New Mexico.
- Move the containers into a sheltered spot like near the house or a wall. Cluster them together so they can be better insulated.
- Fill the pots with leaves or mulch and encircle the pots with chicken wires.
- You may need to surround the containers with a few bales of hay or shield them with a large piece of glass. This makeshift cold frame can protect your plants from cold. However, make sure to remove it when the weather starts to get hotter since the glass can heat up the shrubs of New Mexico easily.
- For shrubs of New Mexico or smaller trees, you may need to wrap them in burlap. You can drive some sticks around the plant, a few inches away from the plant, and wrap the burlap around them.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We are happy to help in anyway!