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By Cassandra Jackson

Caring for plants during the winter

In cold climates, gardeners never know what is in store during the winter. We could have snow, or we could have unusually warm conditions. Even if someone only buys plants that are tough enough for where they live, there is no guarantee nature will not change patterns. With the temperatures dropping and winds speeding up, plants will surely die without protection. Plan to defend them before the harsh weather sets in or after it does with these steps.

Now, a quick solution to this problem is to keep the plants inside during the winter. A couple of garden plants will be okay with growing inside. At first, make sure that the plant can take the change. Get time to confirm that the plant can get enough sunlight and water. This way they will be able to cope with the drier conditions of its new spot in the house.

However, some people dislike plants occupying their living space, so instead they should follow these steps to keep it safe outside.

1. Trimming the plant a bit could help it survive the cold because it will minimize damage from heavy snowfall. Also, it can encourage rapid growth in the spring.

2. Mulching is another way to keep a plant safe. This may sound like wasted effort to put down mulch in the winter, but this is vital for the protection of the plant. Instead of conserving water and stopping the growth of weeds, winter mulching is supposed to keep the soil around the plant frozen. When the ground continues to freeze and unfreeze, it can lead to the plants getting pushed right out of the earth. To stop this from happening Spread 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the plant. Doing this will insulate the roots and prevent changes in the texture of the soil.

3. Never forget to water plants during the winter. When the ground is wet, the heat gets trapped easier than when it is dry. Don't do this if the temperature is below 35 degrees because it could backfire, but if someone wants to protect the plant against a little bit of frost, watering can help keep the plant warm during the night. The majority of plants have to be watered more frequently in the winter.

4. Placing a tarp or blanket over plants is also a good thing to do during the winter. The coverage should help protect plants from cold nights or if the snow is coming down heavily. Once choosing the covering, carefully place it over the plant so that it is not touching the plant. Using stakes to hold it over the plant should stop the blanket/tarp from causing damage to the plant. Also, make sure to take it off during the day so it can get sunlight and air.

Keeping a plant over winter can be done, but it takes a lot if work. It is better to get plants more suited for dealing with the winter. Learn which time zone the plants will be placed in and pick plants that can take on the temperatures in their area. Some plants may die, lose leaves or go dormant during the winter, so learning how plants will adapt to the climate is vital for handling it. Now this approach is flawed because it does limit plant choices.

Best plants for winter

1. "GREEN MOUNTAIN" BOXWOOD – This boxwood keeps a dark green color throughout the winter.

2. GOLDEN CREEPING JENNY – Its golden, circular leaves look great with everything.

3. JAPANESE PIERIS – The winter growth on this plant is gorgeous and can transform from red to pink to soft white.

4. EMERALD ARBORVITAE – Is great to add height and shine.

5. BERGENIA – With its green and glossy leaves, it is a vigorous grower that gives a bold effect to any garden.

6. VARIEGATED RED TWIG DOGWOOD – Their leaves are white on the outline and grayish centers with a bit of green. Red branches shine in winter.

7. HEUCHERAS – They can be showy, and often possess silver lines through their leaves.

8. 'BLUE STAR' JUNIPER – Has a bluish color makes the plant stand out in winter.

9. 'FULDAGLUT' SEDUM – Its best quality is the color it changes during the winter.

Sadly, someone could follow these steps exactly right, and still, lose a few plants which are out of their control. However, doing these steps will make sure that the majority of the garden makes it.

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