Winter protection for perennial
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URBANA -- Perennials grown
as a part of a container garden need to be protected from the cold
of winter, said Sharon Yiesla, a University of Illinois Extension
horticulture educator based in Lake County.
"Perennials grown in the ground are
winter hardy and will grow again next spring with no protection
provided," she said. "However, perennials grown in containers must
be treated differently. For plants growing in containers, the volume
of soil surrounding their roots is much less than the volume of the
soil around the roots of a plant grown in the ground. That means
there is far less insulation, and the roots may freeze in winter,
leading to death of the plant."
There are three main ways to provide
winter protection, she noted.
"The simplest way is to move the
containers into a garage or basement that does not freeze," she
said. "This keeps the root system of the plant warm enough to
survive the winter. Plants can be brought inside as the top of the
plant dies down but before hard freezes occur. Plants brought inside
will need very little watering. Check soil occasionally and keep it
only lightly moistened."
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Containers can also be sunk into holes
in the ground, leaving the top part of the plant exposed. This
provides the insulation needed to keep the roots alive through the
gardeners who live in apartments may not be able to use either of
these methods," Yiesla said. "However, there is another option to
try. Group plants together on a patio or balcony and place materials
such as straw, compost or mulch around the containers to provide
[University of Illinois news