Winter is here, which often means it’s time to bundle up and keep warm. However, you may be wondering if it is possible to plant during the freezing winter months. The good news is that, yes, you can indeed plant when it’s freezing outside, but there are a few things to know before doing so.
Why is Planting Possible?
Freezing temperatures don’t necessarily mean that planting is out of the question. As long as you can work with the ground enough to plant a bulb, then you can plant almost anything including plants that are currently in pots. After all, your plants will be happier in the ground than they will in a pot, regardless of the temperature.
A solid freeze could even be beneficial to the plant. The reason for this is scientific as once a plant is frozen, its root ball will become dormant for the rest of the season. While your plant is in sleep mode, it will still need minimal water, but essentially, it will be resting and waiting for the spring.
How to Take Care of Your Plant in a Freeze
Since the plant is dormant, your interaction with it during freezing months should be somewhat sparse. Two items you should be particularly careful of when dealing with your plants during the winter:
- Stimulating its growth – You don’t want to fertilize the soil during a freeze. You can add some compost if you wish to stimulate root growth, but you shouldn’t go beyond this.
- Disturbing the plant – Be very gentle around the plant. If you damage the plant when it’s in a dormant phase, it may not be able to recover.
This doesn’t mean you should completely ignore your plant during the freezing season. In fact, there are a few things you should be doing to make sure your plant makes it through the winter, including:
- Watering – It may be easy to assume plants don’t need water when they’re dormant, but this is not true. In fact, drying out (also known as desiccation) could cause the most damage to a plant during the cold season. You don’t have to water it too much – every week or two will suffice for a newly planted shrub – but you shouldn’t ignore the watering process.
- Mulching – Mulch will keep a new plant insulated, which could be especially important if you’re dealing with a plant that’s sensitive to cold weather.
What Plants are Good for Freezing Conditions?
If you’re planting for freezing conditions, it’s advisable that you pick a hardy plant that can stand up to frigid conditions. Fortunately, you have plenty of options. Some of the best plants to plant for freezing conditions include:
- Dusty millers
- Swiss chard
- Flowering kale
It should be noted that flowering kale differs from the kind of kale you find in a grocery store, so it is not edible. The Swiss chard you can plant, however, can be eaten.
One other element to consider is the hardiness zone. The U.S. is split into different gardening segments that can guide you into making an informed choice on which plants will work best. You can also find the plants’ corresponding hardiness zone numbers online. For instance, the state of Virginia has a hardiness zone ranging from 5a in the western mountains to 8a to the eastern shore. You’ll want to consider plants that match these numbers.
What Happens When the Weather Gets Warm Again?
When the temperature rises, you may be tempted to jump back into your normal gardening routine. However, you’ll want to go about things gradually as the temperatures increase.
The plants will tell you when they’re ready to resume normal gardening activity. Look for the formation of new buds on your plant; when they start to open, that’s prime time to begin encouraging growth-fueled behavior again.
If you’re new to the gardening game, or even if you’re a backyard veteran, you may still have some questions about how to handle planting during freezing conditions. It’s a subject that Epling Landscape and Lawn Service is well-versed in, and we’d be more than happy to help you out. Give us a call or stop by today.