Preparing Your Garden for Winter

Cold frame and glass cloches for plant protection.
When summer winds down into fall it is time to start thinking about putting your garden to bed for the winter. Depending on your planting zone there are a number of steps you can take to protect your plants until the spring. This is a page about preparing your garden for winter.

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September 16, 2011

Winter protection framework against the side of the house.Preparing the garden for fall and winter is a routine task for me. About this time or when the first cool spell arrives, I begin to prepare my winter protection of plants that won't take cold. I separate them into outside, but protected, to go next to the south side of house and green house only plants. I also start to winterize my outdoor stay-in-place plants at this same time.

As I come across plants that need attention, I place it in the section it will go for the winter. Unless it needs repotting, then I place it in the repotting place.


For the plants that stay in the ground but will need mulch, I have mulch I have been collecting for months. This is piled now next to the garden where it will go. After the first frost, I will clip the last of the summer's growth back to make the plant smaller and root those that will root. These rooting pots I place in the outside, but protected spot, just in case the winter in south Georgia is a lot colder than usual.

As for cutting the lilies' leaves, I don't, as I leave them to protect the rest of the plant and cut them back in spring. My roses I cut back in the months of December and January, as we have blooms here until the first frost, and sometimes later. I mulch all of the garden by December with leaves or pine straw. I take my pine straw and run over it with the lawnmower a couple of times and by spring or warmer weather it is degraded down and I can do spring mulch of pure pine bark and leaves.


Remember the plants you put in the greenhouse. Some will need water, some will need no water, and you need to place similar feeding pots together or you drown things you don't want to. Usually a mist of warm water in the greenhouse in winter, unless the pot is severely dry, will do the job.

If you are like me and have a lot of different plants, you will get caught by an early frost or cold spell and lose your plants or work yourself to death and forget where you want certain plants to go. Likewise, plants that you wanted in the greenhouse will end up outside where they won't survive. I start early and that gives me about a month and half to get it all done in my area. This works because you won't be stressed and our flowers aren't supposed to stress you.


Note: Be sure your pots drain easily for their winter storage or the roots will rot. That would be a good reason to repot before you winterize the plant. I also take a lot of small plants or groups of plants and put them in a pot together that is a little deeper than where they were, to protect them and make caring for them easier. In the spring, I can just repot using the soil in the container. It takes a few minutes either way and I don't lose the smaller plants in the jungle in the winter.

The picture is of my outdoor protected area with the cardboard and plastic for when cold weather really sets in. I leave the top 2 feet with only plastic for light and when the sun gets too hot. And on one end during hot days I open it for air circulation. Things like my hibiscus from south Florida will stay green and keep flowering here. If we have extra cold weather, I add a blanket or more cardboard to outside. The house also provides warmth and the window in it is my bedroom. I get to see the pretty blooms when the weather is too cold all winter.


Please note, this won't work where you live if it is in snow country. We usually only get down to 20 degrees.

By gbk from south GA

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 5

December 14, 2010

We brought our rain barrel indoors for the winter. Rather than let it sit idle, we placed it high on a sturdy table and hooked it up to receive the water that comes from our furnace.

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September 16, 2005

Now that summer is almost over. My grandchildren ask if they can put the garden to bed for the winter. We start when everything has died. It's very easy and the children love doing it, and they have fun.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 11, 2011

What do I do about putting my rhubarb to bed for the winter? Do I cut it down or just leave it? Seems to me that in previous years I just left it, but I'm now being told that I should always cut it down.

By sooz


October 11, 20110 found this helpful

I am 71 years old and have never known anybody that did anything to their rhubarb to get it ready for winter. They have always had bumper crops of it too.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 11, 20110 found this helpful

I am 71 years old and have never known anybody that did anything to their rhubarb to get it ready for winter. They have always had bumper crops of it too.

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October 11, 20110 found this helpful

I'm sorry about all the replies to this, before I got to move on a toddler came up and started slapping on the mouse. Kids! lol

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 101 Feedbacks
October 14, 20110 found this helpful

Well I will reiterate what redhat said, oh, I guess I didn't need to! lol

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October 24, 2019

Many outdoor plants need or can benefit from some level of winter protection. Depending on the plant and the winter weather typical for your area there are varying things you can do to protect your plants.

Bushes covered up for the winter.

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November 17, 2015

This is a page about protecting your garden from fall frost. When the weather turns cold you may want to cover some plants with mulch or covering to extend their production.

Protecting Your Garden from Fall Frost

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September 16, 2014

This is a page about preparing container plants for winter. Containers provide less protection for your plants than if they were planted in the ground. The upside is that they are portable.

snow in flower pot

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July 30, 2014

This is a page about preparing your yard for winter. Protecting anything that may be damaged by cold and moisture will assure that you can use these things next summer.

Winter Yard

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September 16, 2011

This is a page about preparing your pond for winter. It is important to properly prepare your pond for winter.


If the water freezes without the proper precautions it can damage the pump, plants, and fish.

Preparing Your Pond For Winter, A koi pond with plants around the edge.

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