Gardening expert shares the plants to protect in winter – ‘prepare for all eventualities’

How to look after your house plants over winter

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It can be difficult ensuring all plants survive winter, even the most seasoned gardeners in the UK don’t know what to expect each winter. Some people may not even have the space to bring all their plants indoors. One of the best ways to protect fragile plants is to prioritise them so they receive the right protection.

According to plant expert Shannen Godwin from J. Parkers, many plants “will know winter is coming” and they “shed leaves and branches” to focus on storing all nutrients in the roots.

She said: “It’s not just knowing which plants to protect, but where and how to protect them.

Shannen Godwin has shared a list of delicate and easy plants to care for this winter.

Three plants to handle with care 

1. Fruit trees

During the winter period, fruit trees move all the nutrients and energy produced by the leaves into the roots. It’s important for these nutrients to be kept in safe storage so they can remain alive until spring.

In winter there is a higher risk of broken branches, which can make the tree “more vulnerable.”

To protect fruit trees such as cherry trees, fig trees and nectarine trees, it’s best to protect the branches using horticultural fleece.

Alternatively, if the trees are in pots its best to move them to sheltered locations.

2. Roses 

Occasionally roses can struggle in the winter months. They tend to get easily affected by the frost.

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The best way to protect them in winter is by not feeding them and leaving them to bloom on the stem.

Also, try to remove any fallen leaves away from the plant to reduce the risk of diseases and insect problems.

3. Agapanthus

A slight gust of wind would send these delicate plants falling.

The hardier agapanthus plants can survive winter and be left in the ground.

However, if your agapanthus is in pots it’s worth moving to a greenhouse for winter. 

If this is your first agapanthus wrap them in fleece until they become more established.

Three easy care plants for the winter

1. Iris

Irises are very low maintenance in the winter.

They like damp borders and being near ponds means they are better suited to the wet winters in the UK.

To care for your iris, check for any disease and trimming foliage so it can focus fully on storing energy and nutrients throughout winter.

2. Peony

Peonies are strong and hard plants which can survive long, cold winters.

The only light maintenance that peonies need for winter is to trim away the foliage. 

This helps to make room for new growth next spring.

3. Christmas rose

The Christmas rose can flower as early as Christmas and continues to do so from January to April. 

It is used to cold, dark winter months and will happily brighten your garden on the dullest winter days. 

Its thick leathery leaves are ideal for winter with minimal maintenance required.

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