How to: Watering in the Winter

In case you didn’t know, watering your plants in the winter is integral to ensuring their survival. Winter weather is cold, dry, and windy, a villainous trio of conditions out to wreak havoc on your garden. The low humidity and strong dry winds of winter can cause root damage, which affects the health of the entire plant. Here are some tips and tricks to watering in the winter months and keeping your babies alive and well! 

Here is one of the containers on the deck of my house. I love enjoying my winter annuals. To keep them happy and healthy, I always have my watering can handy, especially in the winter. Read on to find out why.

1. Water only when air temperatures are above 40 degrees F.

Monitor the weather and freeze warnings. Watering when temps are below 40 can worsen damage caused by freezes. Here is a blog we did last year on freeze protection and winter injury if you want to know more. 

2. Apply water at midday so your plant has time to soak in the moisture before possible freezing at night.

This one just makes sense. Timing and preparation is everything! 

3. Provide extra care and attention to plants near buildings, walls, and fences.

Plants receive reflected heat from large surfaces like these and thus are more prone to damage. Make sure they are getting the moisture they need.

4. Provide additional watering to windy sites.

Any site that is characterized by windiness (perhaps a flat plain or area with less trees) will most likely result in faster drying sod and plants. These areas will also require closer attention and additional watering.

5. Before watering, always check the root ball.

It’s simple: if the root ball is wet, it does not need any more water. It still has moisture to soak up! No need to smother.

I will be the first to admit that watering perfectly is hard. This is one of my own pots that has been overwatered. You can tell by the dark color of the soil, or if you just feel it and it’s moist, there’s not much more to say about that. This pot was sitting in a bowl of water. This is the fastest way to kill a plant!

6. Direct water to the roots, not the leaves.

Water is absorbed through the roots in the soil. No need to start your pour high up in the canopy. Water where it matters most.

7. Apply enough water to thoroughly wet the roots.

Shallow watering is detrimental to the plant. It’s like getting a taste of the cake but never actually having a slice. That’s torture in my book!

Here is a healthy winter pot with cabbage, violas, parsley, and creeping jenny. Winter beauties! Yours can look happy and healthy too. Follow these tips and your garden will make it through!

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