How to Winterize Garden Plants


When fall arrives and a chill hangs in the air, it's time to winterize your garden plants to ensure next year's healthy growth. A perennial plant is one that will grow year after year on the same roots but not all plants survive winter's cold temperatures. Before selecting garden plants, make sure they are hardy in your growing zone. Many flowers, fruit vines and a few vegetables can survive with some fall winterizing techniques.

Step 1

Prune fruit vines, such as grapes and raspberries to remove the side vines, leaving the main trunk and up to four of the larger horizontal vines. Cut the small seasonal growth with very sharp garden shears close to the main branches to encourage the vines to send their energy into fruit production next year.

Step 2

Cut back the spent stalks of asparagus, rhubarb, artichokes and your perennial herbs to ground level and cover with organic mulch or dried leaves to a depth of 2 or 3 inches.

Step 3

Remove the dried tops of flowering perennial garden plants once they die back and clean weeds or other debris from the flower garden before watering and covering with organic mulch.

Step 4

Dig up tubers and bulbs that won't survive the winter's chill and store them in a cool dark place, such as a basement for replanting in the spring.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not fertilize plants before winter; wait until spring, when new growth appears.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp garden shears
  • Shovel
  • Organic mulch
  • Burlap (optional)


  • Reader's Digest: How to Winterize Your Garden
  • Home Addition Plus: Winterize Garden
  • Oregon State University: Grapevines

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: winterize the garden, overwinter, garden plants

About this Author

Glyn Sheridan is a freelance writer with published credits in regional and national media. Sheridan specializes in health, fitness, construction and business writing. She is also a past editor of "Kansas Women - Focus on Fitness." Sheridan's education includes marketing and journalism.