How to Take Care of Plants in Winter


Home gardeners invest time and money in their plants. With seasonal changes, beloved trees and shrubs become vulnerable to harsh weather conditions. Freezing temperatures and high winds can damage plants without adequate protection. Depending on the size of your plant, caring for plants in the winter can be an easy or work-intensive job. Plan to safeguard your plants in the last few weeks of autumn so you do not feel rushed.

Step 1

Prune off approximately 1/3 of your plant. This will minimize damage from high winds and heavy snowfall as well as encourage rapid growth in the spring.

Step 2

Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of high-quality mulch around the base of your plant. This helps insulate roots and prevents drastic changes in soil temperature.

Step 3

Water your plants during prolonged dry spells. Be sure the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and there is no snow cover. Most plants need to be watered about half as frequently as during the growing season.

Step 4

Push three to four wooden stakes into the ground around your flower, bush or tree. Stakes should be well-anchored into the ground but not disruptive to the root system.

Step 5

Wrap a cloth around the stakes in order to cover the sides and top of the plant. Burlap, blankets and old sheets provide adequate air circulation and protection from freezing temperatures.

Step 6

Check to make sure cloth does not touch the leaves of the plant; they may freeze together and damage your plant.

Step 7

Remove covering after significant cold spell has passed. Be sure to remove cloth cover in rain to provide water access to the plant and prevent fungus.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Wooden stakes
  • Cloth
  • Pruning shears


  • Ed Hume Seeds: Protecting Plants During Cold Weather
  • Buckeye Gardening: Protecting Plants from Winter Hazards
  • North Carolina State University: Preparing Nursery Plants for Winter
  • New Mexico State University: Protecting Fruit from Frost and Wind
  • Colorado State University: Fall and Winter Watering
Keywords: winterize plants, winter plant care, protect plants

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. Her work has appeared in various newspapers, magazines and journals. Shipman has also authored three collections of poetry: "Cold Days," "Bastante" and "Short Poems." She earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Southwestern University.