If you live in a cold climate like Ohio, chances are that you might believe your gardening ends when the temperatures drop. Thankfully, there is such a thing as container gardening that allows you to keep gardening even through winter! That means that you can maintain herb gardens and even flowers throughout the frigid temperatures by maintaining them in containers instead of leaving them victim to the harsh frosts and freezing weather. However, starting a container garden takes a lot of care and consideration to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Keep reading for tips on container gardening for winter!
Plants That Are Good for Container Gardening in Winter
The first thing to consider when container gardening in winter is the plants that you choose. It is important to choose cold-hardy plants. Summer may be great for planting flowering annuals, but when fall comes and you start prepping your winter container garden, you should focus on hardy perennials that will stand up to the colder temperatures. Try different color combinations than you used in summer. Hardy perennials that are good for container gardening in winter include sedum, coral bells, grasses, lamb’s ear, ivy, creeping jenny, and smokebush.
While hardy perennials are always a great option for winter container gardens, there are also some solid options for cold-loving annuals. These include flowering cabbages, sages, annual grasses, flaxes, pansies, flowering kales, and creeping wirevine. If you are unsure what plants might be a good fit for your winter container garden, stop into your local nursery and chat with one of their knowledgeable team members.
Understand the Definition of “Freezing”
When planting a winter container garden, the term “freezing” has different meanings. It is important to understand the various definitions of freezing when determining which plants you will use in your container garden for winter. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the following stages of freezing are:
Light Freeze: Between 29 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit when tender plants are killed, but other vegetation is not dramatically affected.
- Moderate Freeze: Between 25 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit when there is heavy damage to tender and semi-hardy plants.
- Severe Freeze: Below 25 degrees Fahrenheit where only the hardy plants will survive.
You should be aware of the freezing zone that you are in when planting your winter container garden and choose plants accordingly.
Be Sure to Choose a Container That Tolerates Cold
When you are starting your container garden, you might just be on the lookout for a container that is trendy or meets your design preferences. However, certain containers are better than others. You should choose a container that can tolerate cold, as this will increase the chance that your winter container garden thrives. Certain materials like ceramics, thin plastic, and terra cotta might look great, but they will not survive freezing temperatures due to their composition. Instead, you should look for a container made of metal, fiberglass, thick plastic, stone, or concrete. Also, be sure to check the drainage holes periodically to ensure that they are clear and allowing any excess water to drain. Failure to do this can result in the pot freezing to the ground, which might cause even the hardiest pot to break and ruin your container garden.
How to Create a Container Garden in Winter
Now that we’ve looked at some different aspects of container gardening for winter, you might be itching to get started. However, there are a few more tips to consider when it comes time to build your container garden.
First, you should make sure you have your hardy container made from the durable materials that were discussed above. Then, you should do some research and decide what plants you are interested in planting in your container. After doing your research or speaking with a representative from your local nursery or landscape supply store, the next step is to get the remainder of your supplies and start putting it all together!
When it comes to soil, regular potting soil will do. This can be purchased relatively cheaply at your landscape supply store and can be used in various size containers. Fill the container with your soil and pot your plants according to the spacing and growth requirements that are included with their planting instructions.
If your containers are outdoors, they should be watered every day. However, once they come inside, a thorough soaking every week should be adequate to keep your plants thriving. Just be sure to check them a few times a week and if the soil does feel dry, give them water. You will want to invest in some good saucers to protect your floors.
In terms of fertilizing, all plants are different. Generally, you will need to fertilize container-grown plants more often than garden plants because frequent watering is known to wash away the nutrients quicker. Typically, you should fertilize your container garden weekly or biweekly while the plants are outside. When they are brought inside, you can discontinue the fertilizing process.
As far as location goes, leafy crops will need at least 6 hours of sunlight during the summer months. Flowering plants will need around 9 hours of sunlight. If you don’t have a location bright enough for that, you will need to move the plants to follow the sun. However, once the containers are moved inside and the plants are mature, they will not need as much sunlight.
Kurtz Bros., Inc has your winter container garden supplies!
When it comes time to plant a winter container garden, Kurtz Bros., Inc. has everything you need. Just because the temperatures are dipping doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy a nice container garden. Whether you need container garden essentials like soil or are looking for hearty plants that will stand up to winter, we have exactly what you need. We also have the landscaping tools and supplies that you will need, including shovels, gloves, and more! If you are ready to start your winter container garden, give us a call or stop into our store today.