Can I plant plants in Cold Weather?

We have consistently found that one of our customers main concerns focusses around planting in cold weather and keeping plants in pots in the extreme cold, rest assured this is one of the best times of year to be planning and planting your garden. The plants we sell at Paramount Plants have been grown and maintained by us outside and so they are completely acclimatised to normal UK weather conditions.

Prunus Lusitanica Angustifolia to buy online London UK

Prunus Lusitanica Angustifolia – frosty leaves

Planting in cold weather?
Interestingly, the very best time of year of all to plant shrubs and trees is between early autumn to late Spring.  Plants that are sold potted (containerised) can be planted at any time of year but it is much less stressful for the plants to be planted out when they are dormant between September to April. So as long as the ground is not completely covered in hard frost making it difficult to dig – then winter is the perfect time to plant.

2015 Winter Garden Landscaping by Paramount Plants

2015 Winter Garden Landscaping by Paramount Plants

Do my plants need protecting in very cold weather?
Once hardy plants are established and have been in the ground for a couple of seasons they are pretty much self-sufficient and resilient. So more care may be needed whilst they are establishing their root system in the ground.

Plants in pots for sale online London UK

Plants In Pots During Frosty Weather – at Paramount Plants

Should I bring my potted plants indoors during frost / cold weather?
For hardy outdoor pot plants it isn’t necessary for these plants to be placed indoors in cold weather or during frost and snow and they certainly shouldn’t be kept anywhere heated if their final destination is outside as this will make them ‘soft’ and much more vulnerable to the cold. Also, bear in mind, sometimes glass buildings such as conservatories and greenhouses can be colder inside than outdoors if they are not heated.

Caring For Plants in Pots During Cold Weather
Ideally, if you are not going to plant your plants immediately, you should leave them outside in their pots but close to a back wall of the house as these walls will give a little warmth and shelter.  If possible nestle plants in pots closer to each other, so they help to protect each other. The only downside to very cold weather is that the foliage may get frost damaged but this would usually only occur in continued sharp frosts over several days.

Mature trees for sale London UK

If it snows, gently remove the snow from your plants and trees – as much as possible

What should I do if it snows?
If it snows, gently knock any snow off plants as much as possible. You can then cover them with a layer of horticultural fleece across the top of newly planted plants (or those in pots) if the weather is very cold and frosty.

How do I protect plants in cold weather?
Tie up their foliage using string or floristry ribbon to keep the foliage looking good – this will help the plants to continue to look good, although the outer leaves may get slightly damaged but this will keep inner foliage protected and looking good, this should only be done during bursts of cold weather – don’t keep shrubs tied up for weeks on end it’s better to allow the plants to breath.
The exception to this would be a few plants such as Gunnera, Tree Ferns and Cordylines – read our instructive blog post about how to tie and wrap exotic plants for the winter.

Hardy palms for sale online UK

How to Prepare Cordylines For Cold Weather

What material to use to protect plants in cold weather?
We do not like using plastic but if you haven’t got horticultural fleece immediately to hand, then black plastic bin liners or bubble wrap will be ok for protecting plants – but with the caveat – do not use plastic for more than a week if there is continued frost at night, it is far better to source horticultural fleece in the case of prolonged harsh conditions.

Huge range of plants, shrubs and trees for sale online UK

Plants are resilient once established in the ground.

Are plants better planted in the ground and can I plant in cold weather?
Plants will respond best when planted in the ground and their roots covered with mulch (this will help to protect them in the cold weather). Once the roots have established over a couple of seasons they will be pretty much self sufficient in the ground.

Planting rootballed plants
If you purchase plants that are sold as rootballs (ie provided without pots with just a rootball at base) then if you are not able to plant them out immediately you should protect the root ball from frost and cold weather.
Cover the rootball of these plants with an old blanket or rug, or hessian sacking cloth to protect them until you are ready to plant them out.

Root balled hedging plants for sale online UK

Root ball hedging plants – protected with hessian against the frost

Plants in Pots
If you are keeping plants in pots cover soil with mulch or mix which is combined chippings and compost. This will keep soil protected from harshest of cold and drying winds. If possible move the pots nearer to the back wall of the house for protection and ‘huddle’ them together for over-wintering.

Paramount Plants is open 7 days per week and our expert team can advise you on all aspects of garden planting and design:
Paramount Plants & Gardens Ltd
131 Theobalds Park Road
Crews Hill
London EN2 9BH
Tel: +44 (0)20 8367 8809
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