How to Keep Outdoor Plants Alive During the Winter


Going from the extreme of warm temperatures to freezing temperatures and sometimes harsh winter elements can be stressful for plants. Yet, when plants are ready to take a hiatus from growing and the temperatures are set to take a dip, outdoor plants can be prepared to withstand and survive all that winter can bring. Take the necessary steps to care for your outdoor plants during the winter, and they will be ready to flourish in the summer.

Step 1

Begin winter prep during the summer months. Keep the plant healthy during the growing season by keeping damaging pests and diseases under control. Stop fertilizing the plant in late summer to avoid promoting late-season growth that may be too tender to survive winter conditions.

Step 2

Provide a little extra insulation to outdoor plants during the winter. Add a layer of mulch, 2 to 3 inches thick, around the base of the plants that are planted in the ground.

Step 3

Cover plants before the warning of a first frost. Use frost blankets, made from special fibers or polystyrene, a rigid plastic. Drape the frost blanket or polystyrene over the plant. Secure the material under the plant's container by gathering any excess and tucking it underneath the plant.

Step 4

Remove the cover when the temperature will be consistently above freezing to prevent possible rotting or sweating. Replace the covers if temperatures return to below freezing.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Frost blankets


  • University of Arizona: Protecting Plants from Winter's Chill
Keywords: protect plants, winter plant care, plants and winter

About this Author

Stephanie D. Green is a freelance writer with over 10 years of experience. Green holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and enjoys writing parenting, gardening and human interest articles. Her work has been published in lifestyle and trade publications including Draft Magazine and Savannah Magazine.