Without proper protection against freezing winter temperatures, the cold can severely harm the leaves, stems and roots of plants. Flowers and plants that are in the soil or planted outdoors in containers that are too big to bring indoors are at risk for frost damage unless measures are taken to ensure their warmth. Products to cover plants in winter include mulch, plastic and burlap. Each method provides outdoor plants with a layer of protection so they can survive the winter season.
Mulch is a good way to protect the roots of plants that are planted directly in the soil. Examples of mulch products are commercially sold mulch chips, straw, tree leaves and pine bark. For sufficient protection, add a 4-inch layer of mulch just before the first frost hits.
Using a plastic covering to wrap container plants allows you to keep them outdoors throughout the winter. The plastic creates a greenhouse affect for the plant and protects it from the elements. It is important that the entire plant, including the soil, is covered in plastic and secured tightly. Garden centers sell plastic domes or wraps for plants, or make your own by buying plastic coverings at your local home improvement store.
Burlap is an insulating fabric that is easy to work with, especially as a plant covering. For a snug fit, wrap burlap several times around the plant, starting with the top and ending at the stem. Use more burlap to adequately cover the soil. Burlap also works well in protecting vegetable gardens, planting beds and small shrubs and trees.