Saturday, May 26, 2018

07 Feb

What is Over-wintering and Why do we do it?

Over-wintering is the nurturing of plants throughout the cold season, by bringing that plant into a warmer environment (such as a heated greenhouse, your home or garage etc). If left outside, they would typically not survive due to the low temperatures.

The UK climate dictates that certain plants require over-wintering, although many of these would survive as perennials in warmer climes; Primrose, Polyanthus, Violas and Pansies for example.

What are the benefits?

One of the key benefits to over-wintering is an earlier display of colour in your garden. Annuals that have been over-wintered from the previous autumn will already be strong enough to plant out by mid-February to mid-March. Perennials that have been over-wintered will bring a fanfare of flowering – the first year they’re in your garden.

What are the difficulties? Over-wintering definitely makes sense; it can certainly save you money if done properly. However, there are several pitfalls which can make it a risky or inappropriate solution.

It’s very important that plants are brought indoors before first frost. Any plant experiencing frost damage will find it difficult to recover and the energy expended on rescuing them may, simply not be worth it.

You will need space – how much depends on how many plants you’re looking to over-winter. And not just any space either. Your annuals will need to be in a position where there is consistent warmth and light – essentially you are trying to fool them into believing they are in their natural habitat.

Avoid pests and diseases. Bringing plants indoors can also bring pests and diseases which can, at best, infect other plants or, at worst, introduce a new pest to the house…..

Maintenance is key throughout the entirety of the growing period – it’s ongoing too. You need to continually monitor for growth, moisture, pest and disease issues. At any point, your work could be for nothing.

Why buy over-wintered plants?

Ultimately, there are several reasons to choose over-wintered bedding and perennials. If space is at a premium then Over-wintered bedding is an ideal solution – as someone else will have used their space to maintain these plants. Also, because they’re more mature, they’re ready to plant straight out into your garden – meaning you can bring bedding colour to your garden as early as March. Likewise, if you just can’t wait till next year for that Lobelia, Gaillardia or Aquilegia (or any perennial) to flower – Over-wintered perennials are the answer.

To over-winter or not to over-winter?

All-in-all it’s important to make the right decision for you. Over-wintering plants can be seen as very difficult, not to mention space and time consuming, or as an exciting challenge to your gardening skills.

For those of you who would prefer to enjoy the benefits of over-wintered annuals and perennials without the risks, Gardening Direct are delighted to offer a range of Over-wintered perennials and Over-wintered annuals – we’re despatching from mid-February onwards, but we’ve limited stock available.

If you’ve more questions or you’d like to let others know more about over-wintering then head to our Facebook page today.


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