What perennial flowers need to be covered for the winter – how to choose the right material and method of insulation

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In order for plants to survive winter frosts safely, in autumn they need to create special shelters. Certain types of shrubs are so unpretentious that they can winter in the open ground without mulching and additionally protection from the cold, but most perennials still need to be wrapped. Each gardener should know what perennial flowers need to be covered for the winter and be able to choose the right covering material for plants.

Features wintering perennials

Flowers are called perennial because, after the vegetation season, their roots, and in some cases the aerial parts, do not die. Plant development freezes in the winter to begin active growth in the spring. According to the type of root system, perennials are divided into:

  • bulbous;
  • rhizomatous;
  • tuber-onion;
  • tuberous.

In the warm season, the aboveground part of the flowers accumulates nutrients for the winter, pruning is carried out with the advent of the first frosts, which in most regions of Russia fall at the end of September-October. Pruning perennial bushes is needed to:

  • reduce the risk of spread of fungal, putrefactive diseases, including rotting of the root system;
  • to exclude the preservation of parasite larvae in dry stems;
  • make mulching and shelter work easier for the winter.

Trimming height depends on the structure and height of ornamental plants. Low-growing small bushes are cut off at ground level, in more powerful specimens with strong, semi-lignified branches, the lower part of the shoots is left intact. With their help, in the spring it will be possible to accurately determine the location of the bush / flower, and in winter they will serve to further retain the snow, which will be a natural protection against freezing. The most winter-hardy perennials, for example, aquilegia, Leucanthemum, rudbeckia, astilbe, are cut, leaving no more than 5 cm of stems over the soil.

Delphiniums and other tall plants with strong hollow stems are cut to 25 cm, otherwise the water entering the branches will cause decay of the upper part of the rhizome and destroy the culture. For irises, they also prepare for winter: full-time leaves 2 weeks before the onset of cold weather are cut to a height of 10 cm. Curly annual shoots of clematis and similar crops are shortened so that their green parts do not freeze or rot in the shelter. Care for each perennial flower depends on the characteristics of the region and its winter hardiness..

Scented Muscari

What flowers to shelter for the winter

The onset of time, when it is time to insulate thermophilic perennials, must be judged by the weather in a particular region. To do this early is not recommended, since in October (after the first serious cooling), very warm weather is sometimes established. Then a prematurely wrapped flower may vytryat. Perennial plants need to be sprinkled with garden soil and mulch, while the soil is still loose, and cut branches should be covered with fir branches, straw and film after stable cold weather begins.


Inexperienced gardeners are asking, “Do I need to cover roses for the winter?” Since cultivated varieties of flowers often freeze, they must be wrapped for the time of the cold. Probably, the rose bushes are not adapted to too severe cold, but often a weak winter shelter is to blame for their freezing. Preparation of bush plants for wintering depends on the group to which the flower belongs. For example, hybrid tea varieties of roses and certain types of climbing are considered the most tender.

Is it possible not to shelter roses for the winter in a temperate climate? If in your region the winter season is relatively warm, while the thermometer does not drop below -10, then miniature roses and floribundas can not be wrapped up – they normally tolerate cold. Among the park varieties there are even “walruses” that do not need to be insulated even in more severe frosts. Nevertheless, if you do not know what types of roses grow on your site, it is better to cover them for the winter, so you will save the bushes from excess moisture and create a stable microclimate without sudden changes in temperature.

You need to prepare roses for the winter from the end of August, when the bushes stop watering and feed with nitrogen fertilizers. In September, they refuse to loosen the soil so as not to prematurely wake the kidneys that are still “sleeping” and not to stimulate the growth of new shoots. All rose bushes, with the exception of park bushes and lush, are pruned, which is carried out at about the height where the top of the future shelter ends. Leaves and branches that did not have time to ripen and have a light green color are cut off, and lignified ones are cut shorter.

Before covering the roses for the winter, they are treated with Bordeaux liquid or 3% iron sulfate. Under each bush, fallen leaves, grass, debris are scooped up to prevent the development of pathogenic fungal spores. After processing, each bush spills to a height of about 20 cm, which improves the ability of the roots to “breathe”. In winter, soft soil holds air better, preventing the root system from freezing..

Hilling and pruning helps the crop tolerate frost more easily and avoid fungal diseases. Prepare roses for sheltering begin in mid-October or later, after the completion of the first frosts and the establishment of a stable minus temperature (about 5-6 degrees). Weak frosts of roses are not terrible: thanks to them, shoots harden and finally ripen. It is impossible to cover the bushes prematurely, as the growth of new branches may begin due to an increase in temperature, and the roots will sprout due to lack of air.

Before warming the roses for the winter, you should wait for the dry weather, so that during the cold weather the soil will retain moderate humidity and the risk of developing fungal diseases will be reduced to a minimum. With any type of shelter chosen, the gardener must leave an air layer between the bush and the insulation. This is important because roses, as a rule, do not freeze out in winter, but rather they dry up or get wet during prolonged February thaws due to material that tightly covers the plant, which disrupts the normal flow of oxygen.

Experienced gardeners advise sheltering crops in an air-dry manner. It provides plants with a relatively stable air temperature (from 0 to -4 degrees) and provides good aeration. Work on creating an air-dry shelter has the following sequence:

  • a metal frame is built with a height of about 60 cm, which is installed around the bush;
  • insulation (glassine, thermal insulation paper or cardboard panels) is laid on top of the frame and fixed with twine;
  • the shelter must be covered with plastic wrap, which will serve as a waterproofing agent;
  • the bottom of the film should be sprinkled with soil.

Shelter of roses for the winter


What perennial flowers need to be sheltered for the winter? Most small-bulb crops such as forest stands, muscari, hazel grouse, snowdrops, grassy peonies, crocuses, daylilies do not shelter for the winter, as they are winter-hardy and easily tolerate frosts. Flowers planted before mid-September manage to take root well and do not freeze over the winter. However, later rooting of seedlings requires mulching of the topsoil.

Winter-hardy Dutch bulbous plants planted in autumn (tulips, lilies, daffodils, phloxes, primroses) are recommended to be protected with spruce branches, which will protect the flower not only from the cold, but also from mice who like to regale themselves with onions. On top of the spruce branches it is better to cover with a film and clipped shoots of perennials (that is, a dry shelter is formed). Shelter of flowers for the winter with straw is not recommended, as this will create excellent conditions for the reproduction of mice. An important condition for the wintering of all bulb plants is the non-flooding of the planting site in spring waters..


In the fall, plant growth ceases, while in some herbaceous crops the terrestrial part dies. The dried leaves and stems are cut so that fungi do not develop in them. Other rhizomatous perennial flowers, in which leaves remain green after frosts (incense, iris, hellebore), are not subject to complete, but only partial pruning. They need wintering greens in the spring for development. An example of shelters for common perennial rhizome flowers:

  1. Aquilegia (catchment). In October, leaves and stems are cut almost to the base (5-7 cm remains above the ground). Aquilegia hibernates without shelter, but its bare roots need to be covered with humus, plain earth or peat.
  2. Astilba. Young rooted flowers can winter without warming, but they are still prepared for winter, cutting off the dry ground part in late autumn and filling the roots with peat / humus (optimal layer is 5 cm). Old astilbe plantings are covered with dry leaves and a film so that the leaves do not shed due to rain.
  3. Asters Perennial asters are pruned stems to the base (stumps of 5-10 cm remain). It is necessary to cover the plant in winter in dry weather, while the roots are covered with dry leaves, humus, covered with spruce branches. Perennial asters are able to winter without shelter, but weakened by late flowering they will give fewer shoots next season.
  4. Badan. The roots of the plant winter well without shelter under a layer of snow. Nevertheless, so that on a hill the snowdrifts do not blow off the wind, you need to build a shelter from dry branches.

Winter covering material for plants

When the ground parts of perennial flowers die off or in cases when you are not sure about the frost resistance of a plant, it is better to cover it for the winter. Given the size and type, the following is used to protect colors:

  1. Spruce / pine spruce branches. Needle branches are available material in forest regions. Lapnik does not get wet, provides an additional air gap, perfectly holds snow, which protects plants from frost. In addition, spines scare away rodents, so spruce branches are especially appreciated for sheltering young seedlings. In early spring, the material protects the plant from sunburn. The disadvantage of spruce branches is that it oxidizes the soil, while some plants prefer an alkaline environment. Sometimes the needles are sick and branches with a bloom can infect healthy flowers, therefore, before applying the spruce leaves, they carefully inspect.
  2. A layer of mulch or soil. It is effective to peel the soil with peat in near-stem circles to protect the roots from frost, but it will not become a full-fledged heater. In addition, the soil is not suitable for all crops, as it acidifies the soil and actively absorbs moisture, due to which it hardens and protects flowers from the cold worse..
  3. Shavings, sawdust. They only need to mulch the soil. Like needles, they serve as oxidizing agents – this fact should also be taken into account in accordance with the characteristics of the bush / flower. before mulching the land, the sawdust is carefully dried so that they do not get wet during the winter, they are covered with polyethylene on top. The disadvantage of this method is that sawdust can block.
  4. Non woven fabric. Spunbond or agrofibre is made from polypropylene – the material is durable, lightweight, convenient to use, well protects from frost, freely letting air in. Nevertheless, he cannot cope with severe frosts, therefore, is not suitable for regions with unstable climates. In addition, the spanbond forms a humid microclimate, so it must be fixed to the frames to avoid contact with the shoots.
  5. Bag. Rough, dense fabric is used to shelter the trunks of young bushes and heat-loving perennials. A burlap case is not the best method of protection from the cold, because it gets wet, and freezes in frosts, resembling an ice dome. It is recommended to use such covering material exclusively new to avoid the appearance of harmful microbes on the bushes..
  6. Lutrasil. Non-woven material is made of polypropylene, it is combined with other covering agents, since it cannot protect perennials from temperatures below -7 degrees. Lutrasil is highly breathable, perfectly transmits light, prevents the harm caused by insects, birds.
  7. Straw. Shelter gardens with winter plantings and used for the protection of perennial flowers. During rains, straw must be protected with polyethylene. Dry grass retains snow well, but mice love to nest in it, which cause harm to plants. In addition, flowers beneath the straw sometimes.

Pine lapnik

How to cover perennial flowers for the winter

In order for plants to be able to winter successfully, in autumn they need to create special conditions. Many flowers do not tolerate frost, so they need protection. Thermal insulation is created in several stages, so that perennial bushes gradually become accustomed to the absence of light. Types of Shelters:

  • dry
  • wet
  • air dry;
  • aerial.

Wet Shelters

This method is suitable for gardens with many crops. The bushes are sprinkled with a soil layer of 30-40 cm to protect their center. It is important to protect the core so that the flowers recover in spring. Before that, in September-October, shrubs are cut, so that their frost resistance increases. Instead of soil, peat or sawdust cannot be used, which actively absorb water and freeze. Perennial roses, clematis, etc..

Air shelters

Insulation of plants for the winter is necessary in order to prevent damage caused by sudden changes in temperature. Airbags save from such a misfortune. To create them use lutrasil or film. A perennial tripod is set around perennial flowers, and a non-woven fabric cover is put on top. The disadvantage of covering with lutrasil / film is the risk of debating or overheating of plants during a snowless winter. Then the flowers wake up ahead of time and soon die from low temperatures.

To avoid the death of crops, gardeners build a “stool” type shelter with transparent walls through which light penetrates well and a dark top that protects against overheating. This option is ideal for rhododendrons and conifers. To form insulation, pegs are inserted into the ground around the bush, on top of which a plywood shield is placed. The structure is covered with a film, digging the edges into the ground, while the shoots should not be in contact with the shelter.

Air-dry shelters

In addition to air, a layer of wood sawdust, dry leaves, and hay is used as a heater. Around the flowers are installed support blocks, on top make a boardwalk, which is filled with soil mixed with dry material. All this is covered with plastic wrap. Sunlight does not penetrate into such a shelter of plants for the winter, however, the temperature always stays at the same level, optimal for perennial crops. Air-dry heaters are suitable for plants that can hardly tolerate frosts – yuccas, deciduous rhododendrons, gingo, etc..

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