I always find the weather over the next couple of months very temperamental, I can never tell if Spring is actually on its way or if we are going to be knee deep in snow? Now, with Anglian sponsoring Britain in Bloom, it got me thinking are there any effects on plants by being frozen by the ever unpredictable British weather?
Well as expected, certain plants will survive, others will die, but here are a few tips on what happens to the plants when they freeze, risks and how to protect them.
During winter months plants will inevitably freeze, causing limpness, blackening and distortion, with evergreen plants possibly turning brown and the leaves of tender plants often turn translucent. Making things worse, plants that face the morning sun can defrost quickly which in turn ruptures their cell walls.
All plants are at risk during winter especially if it is for prolonged periods of time as the soil freezes, causing problems for the roots to absorb water and nutrients, essentially starving the plant. These are the main issues that re-occur when Spring starts, but is hindered by a winter snap, which always seems to arrive just as your plants are starting to blossom and fruit!
Try to prevent your plants from becoming frozen during a possible cold snap by keeping an eye on the weather and consider bringing plants into your conservatory if they are potted. This will not only give the plants more of a chance to survive the colder months, but potentially give them a head start and they will look pretty in your lovely Anglian conservatory. If this is not possible try avoiding high-nitrogen fertilisers, as this encourages plants to create more sappy leafy growth, which are more susceptible to damage.
If you have tender plants flowering or shooting, do not put them in east-facing ground. Instead, leave them unpruned over the coming months to help protect the central crown of the plant, taking the majority of the frost. By doing this the plant can be cut back and be in much better growing condition than if you had pruned it in autumn.
As there is an ever increasing amount of tender plants available it is becoming more of a problem to get them to survive during snow and frost, so protection may help too. How to protect your plants depends on the type and their growing environment.
To protect plants that shoot up against a wall or tender plants that are growing in open ground will need a simple, fleece-covered frame. Either that or you could put a layer of thick mulch of manure, straw or old leaves to prevent the soil from freezing. Evergreen plants will also benefit from thick mulch around their base stopping frost getting in to deep. By doing this you are giving your plants a better chance to take up nutrients and water. Try your best to grow tender plants in pots, but if you can’t then take a cutting from them and grow them in pots during winter months. A handy way to keep those plants growing back year after year!
Insulating trunks and crowns of trees, wrapping them in layers of fleece or hessian stuffed with straw will keep them warm and nutrients flowing through the plant rather than freezing. Do the same with cordylines and palms, tying their leaves into a bunch too to protect their crowns. Another common issue during the next few months is waterlogging, so use a light, free-draining compost with added perlite to conquer this.
Although I am praying we don’t get any more snow, it has been snowing in other parts of the country recently so be prepared for some more! Despite snow being icy cold, it does insulate plants to an extent as it protects plants from the frost, however heavy layers of snow can cause breakages, so if this does happen, try to shake of the excess snow. You should also try to keep the snow off the roof of your greenhouse to maximise light potential and therefore growth. You may even want to use string to hold up branches of conifers to prevent them bending, as they will not return to their natural shape afterwards if you do not act quickly.
If you are new to the gardening world and in desperate need of some gorgeous plants to start your garden of wonder, or you are just in need of some new beauties for your hanging basket here is a link to Anglian’s own selected plant collection, all on offer thanks to Thompson and Morgan! Bargains to be had as well as a bee paradise. http://www.thompson-morgan.com/Anglian
Hopefully, these few tips will help you maintain a beautiful garden and will blossom in the hot summer. Keep an eye out for the Giant Snowdrop in the Green as when this plant blooms it is an indication of the end of winter!! I’m keeping my eyes peeled.
Anglian Home Improvements leading the market in home improvements for over forty years! Go to the Anglian website for information on a beautiful Anglian conservatory.