Gardening isn’t only a springtime activity. Fortunately, Arizona’s weather permits outdoor plant care year-round, but although we can withstand the cold, some of the plants we add to our gardens in the spring cannot. In this post, we want to help our customers and community in Chandler, Gilbert, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, and surrounding cities protect and care for the plants that they’ve worked so hard to grow all year, from the coming winter chill.
Move the plant if possible If the plant is still free in a pot, and not planted underground, you have the option to move it into a space where it will be happier and able to thrive. If it is a breed of plant that does well indoors, feel free to move it inside. Wherever you decide to keep it, test and ensure that the plant is getting adequate sunlight and care in its new location. In very few cases would you pull up a plant that is already in the ground, for example, with tropical plants, which we will discuss more in-depth later on. Allow your plants to become dormant and take a break In the spring, you wanted your flowers to bloom and trees to fruit, plant growth and beautiful production was the goal. During an Arizona winter, you want to let your plants take a break. This means, resume most of your normal care, but you can cut back on water slightly; the sun will no longer be dehydrating your plants. Keep an eye to make sure the soil still feels moist and leaves stay healthy and hydrated, you don’t want to cut back too much, but a too-moist plant freezing into ice and thawing repeatedly can turn to mush. Because you aren’t looking for growth at this time, you can skip fertilizer as well.
Insulate plants during a freezing forecast You’ve probably seen neighbors pulling sheets off of plants the morning after a cold winter night as if they’re waking the plant up, but a sheet keeps a plant warm overnight the same way it does for you! If a predicted night below freezing is on it’s way, insulate your plants with a blanket. If it will be particularly freezing, you can put plastic over the sheet for extra insulation, in the form of a bag or tarp. Never use a bag or tarp alone, always use over a sheet, as this is gentler on and better for your plant.
Give special care to special plants If you grow a tropical species of flower or vegetable in Arizona, it may not last through that cool and arid winter. In this case, your best bet is to re-pot these flowers as gently as possible and store them in a garage or basement during the harsh winter season. This also goes for non-tropical but very small and delicate plants that could easily be burned by the winter cold. Because these special plants are just that, something not meant to survive in our climate thus requiring additional care and attention, it is more likely that you will lose these plants over other desert-native plants during winter. In this case, you can make the best of it and use these plants in your compost.
Arizona’s beautiful weather permits gardening all year, but if you find yourself struggling with your plants in the winter, reach out to the team at Red Mountain Landscaping. Our plant professionals can help care for the plants you worked so hard to raise and care for all spring and summer. We serve customers in Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and beyond, and we would love to help you with your outdoor space and landscaping needs!