Winter Plant Care Tips

Winter is a time when everything slows down, and this is true for perennials, bulbs and shrubs as well. While the days get shorter and the leaves fall, the metabolism of plants is also slowing down and food is being stored in their roots. Protect your plants to make sure they are healthy and ready for their spring renewal with a minimum of fuss.


Cut back the stems to 1 to 2 inches above the ground to avoid allowing bugs, rodents and insects the chance to attack the plant and move in, recommend Jane O'Connor and Emma Sweeney in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Gardening." Before the first snowfall, remove most of the leaves from around the stem to avoid any mildew problems. Move any perennials in outdoor containers to a sheltered location, covering with a layer of winter mulch for protection.


Carefully dig up tender, summer-blooming bulbs to protect them from the frost, waiting until the fall leaves have died off a bit before carefully removing the bulb from the soil. Discard any remaining foliage from the bulb, brush off any dirt and store the bulb in a cool, dry location, recommends Janet Marinelli, editor of "The Brooklyn Botanical Garden's Gardener's Desk Reference." The bulbs can be placed in a paper bag in a bed of sand or cedar chips and sprinkled with water every so often.


Several types of hardy shrubs need no winter protection, such as early forsythia, according to "America's Garden Book." Protect a newly planted or less hardy shrub with a windscreen, and make sure the snow is brushed off during the winter to avoid broken branches. Depending on the species, some shrubs should be pruned before the winter, although many others, such as the butterfly bush and Chinese redbud, should be pruned in the spring.

Keywords: winter plant care, winterizing plants, plants in winter

About this Author

Caroline Fritz has over 17 years of writing and editing experience, mainly for publications in Northwest Ohio. She is currently an editor for a national technical magazine focusing on the construction industry. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH.