So, you may not live on a homestead, but you’re pretty proud of the patio garden you’ve curated. Living in an urban setting and creating a thriving container garden isn’t exactly the easiest, but you’ve done it. And now that the weather’s getting cold, you’re worried that your balcony garden will wilt with the seasons.
But before you start writing plant eulogies, consider the ways you can keep your beautiful garden. Just because you don’t have a garden shed or garage to shield your plants from Mother Nature’s elements doesn’t mean you can’t save your plants using other methods.
Overwintering Your Garden in the City
When autumn rolls around, nightly temperatures tend to drop, tipping you off that your patio garden might need some assistance. To properly start preparing your plants for winter, the first step is to get a firm grip on your region’s weather patterns.
Know Your Zone
Your garden’s hardiness zone tells you the expected average cold weather where you live. If you’re not sure of your garden’s hardiness zone, those in the USA can find theirs at this link. In the UK? Then visit this site.
Choose hardy plants: One solution to keep in mind for future winters in your urban oasis is to choose winter-hardy plants that are suited for your garden’s hardiness zone.
For perennials, be sure to compare your perennials’ hardiness zones with your region’s hardiness zone to see if some extra TLC may be in order. If your perennials’ hardiness zones numbers are equal to or higher than your garden’s hardiness zone, then you will likely need to provide extra protection overwinter.
It’s often recommended, to be safe, to pick plants that are one to two zones hardier (lower numbers) than your region so they are less fragile during overwintering.
Options for Overwintering
Because your balcony plants in the city aren’t planted in the ground, their roots are more susceptible to freezing, which will kill the plant. That’s why overwintering your patio garden is paramount if you want your perennials to come back in spring!
Move your plants under shelter: If you have the space, we recommend bringing your plants somewhere they can get relief from snow and frost. This would mean moving your plants to a sunroom, basement, or shed, if you have one. However, city dwellers may not have extra space as an option.
Cover your plants: In the case you don’t have a covered area for your plants to hibernate in, you can always cover them yourself. Because your roots are the most important part to stay warm, one suggestion is to wrap the container in either bubble wrap, burlap, or old blankets—these materials will help insulate the root ball. However, when even colder temperatures loom in the winter, you may want to take it a step further and cover your plants completely at night (when it freezes) using either cloth, burlap, or plastic. If you choose to use plastic, just remember to remove the cover during the day so you don’t heat up the plant too much and cause premature growth.
Overwintering your balcony garden in the city might sound intimidating at first, but with the tips above, your plants should be primed for the cold season and ready for their return in spring. We have a little guide on getting your garden ready for spring, and it’s never too early to have a plan in place! Just don’t forget to bundle yourself up and join Rozanne’s Inner Circle for more gardening tips.