As winter continues to get closer, green thumbs around Alaska will start preparing their flowers for the frigid season. Without the proper winterization techniques, these plants won’t make it through the cold. By following these tips, you’ll keep your roses, geraniums, and fuchsias in fantastic condition until the spring.
Winterizing Plants in the Alaska Climate
Fuchsia & Geranium
Geranium and fuchsia need special care because they are native to warmer climates. Before the first frost settles in, bring the flowers inside to protect them from the cold. Ideally, the plants should be kept in a dark and cool place (around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) and should also be kept moist (but not wet) throughout the winter.
Pruning is an important step to the winterization process. After bringing the flowers indoors for the first time, trim back all of the green and red stems and leaves but leave the darker colored hardwood. By removing this older growth, the plant will have a fresh start when it resumes growing in the spring.
Geranium plants can be winterized similarly, but there is another method that can keep the plants healthy as well. Pull the entire plant out of the ground and remove as much of the dirt as you can. Then, hang them upside-down in plastic bags with peat moss.
As the temperature starts to fall, slowly start to water your roses less and less. As the flower dries out, the leaves will begin to yellow. This is a sign that the plant is starting to draw nutrients from the roots as it begins to prepare for the winter.
Instead of bringing roses indoors before the first frost, allowing the flowers to lightly frost actually helps defoliate them and prepare for the winterization process. Once the temperature falls below 28 degrees Fahrenheit, bring the plant inside. Roses should be kept in a cool place (such as a basement or root cellar) to prevent the plant from growing prematurely. Keeping the plant in total darkness is also important. If there is light, cover the plant with a paper bag to keep it dark and also allow it to breathe.
If you need supplies or pointers for winterizing your flowers this season, the gardening experts of P & M Garden Services in Eagle River, AK, are ready to help. No matter your gardening experience, the friendly staff will help you find everything you need to grow the lushest, healthiest plants around. And, if you’re looking to supplement your garden with some new plants, the shop has a selection of gorgeous indoor and outdoor varieties available. Visit the website for more information on the services available or call (907) 694-9293 to speak with a friendly representative today.