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Everything You Need to Know About Cold Weather Planting

There’s nothing that brings more excitement for winter months than snowy mornings and warm, comfy evenings. But for outdoor gardens, the weather can be frightful during this chilly season. To keep your plants happy and cozy year-round, it’s important to not only find the right varietals, but also to keep them well-fed and properly maintained during colder temps, too. Here’s everything you need to know about cold-weather planting. 

Why Don’t Some Plants Like the Cold?

Cooler temperatures may bring a beautiful change in color for tree leaves, but many perennials—plants that return year after year—start to go dormant during the fall, so landscaped areas tend to look sparse. While they’re sure to return in the spring, perennials take the fall and winter seasons to rest up.

Some Plants Do Well in Cold Weather

Even though perennials might want to sleep in during cold seasons, plenty of plants enjoy this time of year. Plants that are cold-weather friendly and stay green year after year include:


These easy-to-grow plants are not only a great way to fill in large areas, but they also come in a variety of colors and styles, making them a great choice to add beauty and interest to your space.


This naturally colored group of plants is a natural choice for winter wow. Evergreens offer a lovely shade of green all year long, making them ideal for the garden’s dormant areas.


This spooky-sounding sedum variety is excellent for ground cover and is known for its ability to handle cold temperatures. It features rounded, waxy green leaves with red tips.


Highly adaptable, boxwoods help to define your outdoor space and add a lot of character when placed near walkways.


Depending on your location and plant variation, ferns will stay green during the colder months, especially in more southern places.

When Is the Best Time of the Fall/Winter Season to Garden?

Ultimately, you want new plants to have time to mature so that they’re able to withstand the first hard freeze. While plants purchased in a container may already be more developed, seed packets will display the number of days required until maturity. Identify the approximate date of the first hard freeze in your area, and work backward. Do this by counting back the number of days needed for your plant to mature, and plant then.

Cold-Weather Garden Maintenance

The biggest threat to your outdoor plants during cold months is a big freeze. You’ll want to make sure that the entire root system of your plants is well protected and adequately watered. Help keep your plants comfy during these sleepy months by remembering to:

  • Tidy up. Dig out rocks, weeds, leaves, and other debris from the soil.
  • Water. Water at least once per week until the ground freezes to keep roots growing and help plants get established before winter dormancy.
  • Mix & fertilize. Ensure soil for new plants includes a mix of compost or other organic matter and fertilize your trees and lawn.
  • Add a blanket. Apply two to three inches of organic mulch to keep the soil moist and insulate your plants.
  • Block bugs. Use dormant oil to eliminate bug larvae, but make sure it’s been under 32 degrees F for at least two days before applying.

Just like some plants, some people prefer to ride out these months indoors, too. For plants you can easily grow in your home, check out our blog post here.