Frost Covered Plants

Our Top Plant & Garden Tips for December

It’s getting cold out there so make sure your garden is protected for the winter season.



Annuals and Perennials: After you’ve cut everything down and the ground has frozen, cover your gardens with a winter mulch of evergreen boughs to keep out the sun and prevent them from thawing and re-freezing.

Trees and Shrubs: No more pruning for now. However, you can still water your shrubs and conifers midday when it’s sunny and the temperature is above freezing. At this point only the top layer of soil has frozen so your trees and shrubs will appreciate watering as they continue to recover from the drought. Use any organic material to finish mulching trees and shrubs, especially the root zones of azaleas and rhododendrons. For roses, use a rose cone to hold 8-10”of mulch around the base of the plant. In the spring you can remove the cone and spread the mulch around the plant.  Never seen a rose cone? Click here to see a video.

compost bin with fruit

Compost: If you haven’t already, finish your fall clean up and don’t forget to add those leaves to your compost. Turn your compost heap to mix the ingredients and help the contents to decompose before it freezes over the winter. To keep your compost more active during the winter, try insulating it with leaves or cardboard.

Miscellaneous: Stake driveway perimeters before the ground freezes to protect lawns and gardens from snow removal damage. Also, Be sure you’ve turned off water to outdoor taps to prevent freezing.  Drain and store hoses.


poinsettiasBe sure newly purchased indoor plants (such as poinsettias) are well protected for the trip home. Exposure to icy temperatures for even a few moments may cause injury. Holiday poinsettia plants do best with sun for at least half the day and night temperatures in the 50’s or 60’s. Keep plants away from drafts, registers and radiators and let the soil dry only slightly between thorough waterings. Be sure to punch holes in decorative foil wraps to prevent soggy soil conditions.

Start or continue potting bulbs for winter forcing: paper whites, tulips, amaryllis. hyacinths, and grape hyacinths.

Clean hand tools of dirt and debris, sharpen and oil before storing for winter. Clean and service the lawn mower before winter storage.

And last but not least, REST with the gardens.