Gardening: How to prevent plant’s soil freezing – ‘unusual’ hack to combat common problem

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Winter means that a lot of plants slow down and do not need as much watering. However, they still need to be taken care of, including helping to keep them warm as soon as the cold weather hits.

One expert has shared top tips on keeping plants healthy during winter, including how to keep them insulated.

Richard Cheshire, the plant doctor at Patch Plants, said: “To prevent the plant’s soil from freezing, wrap the pots in bubble wrap.

“Although it is an unusual suggestion, by doing so, you are creating a layer of insulation that protects the plant’s roots from cycles of freezing and then thawing.

“Do not worry if the snow covers the top of your plant, the white blanket will also protect our plants’ roots from the wind and cold.”

If the soil is frozen or too wet, any seeds planted throughout the winter may not germinate.

Any bubble wrap used must be securely tied in place to avoid it moving.

It can be left for the whole of winter and is a super affordable go-to hack for many gardeners. 

Old blankets can also be used to help trap heat and keep it at the root zone.

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Another job to do in time for winter is to make sure plants are potted in pots that can put up with the cold weather.

Richard said: “Terracotta pots are beautiful but porous, making them more prone to crack with the change in temperature and frost.

“Consider glazed terracotta pots instead, the glaze will reduce the risk of cracks.

“Great alternatives to terracotta pots are plastic, stone or fibreglass pots.”

Some plants may not survive winter, so it is important to place them in a sheltered area to help protect them as much as possible.

The expert explained: “Ideally, a greenhouse, a garage or shed.

“By doing so you are protecting your plants from storms, heavy rain and wind.

“Start by moving your pots and plants to the part of your urban garden which is most sheltered.

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“When extreme weather is forecasted, most people’s first instinct is to take off all their plant’s pots in heated indoor spaces.

“But, the sudden change in temperature may shock the plant and cause more harm than good.”

For those with a balcony or rooftop, the expert recommends getting “hardier” plants.

He said: “If your urban garden is on a roof terrace or balcony, then they are quite high up, which makes them even more exposed to the wind and the elements, so you might want to consider choosing hardier plants if that’s the case.

“Ultimately, you need to trust that your plants are probably tougher than they look, and with time you will learn what corners of your urban garden each of your plants prefer.”

For houseplants, extra care might be required in the winter.

The expert explained: “Although there is no risk of extreme weather inside your home, keeping your plants close to heat sources, such as fireplaces or radiators, might dry the soil and leaves of your plants.

“So ensure that cold and humid loving plants are kept somewhere cool but not excessively cold.

“Also, remember that most plants go through a dormant phase throughout winter and will need less frequent watering, so make sure you let the soil dry in-between waterings.”

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