4 Tips to a Stunning Winter Container Garden

 Are your winter desert gardens giving you a showcase?

As the desert moves into the second half of winter, your pots should be starting to really show off. In spite of the cold temperatures over the holidays, February’s potential warming will spur your seasonal annuals to bloom beautifully for you!

You may have heard me say this before  New desert gardeners often say, “You can’t have flowers in the winter!” I always felt that statement was from their experience back home in cold winter country. I would also discover that they were trying to grow annuals that are not our winter flowers.

By the way, if you are looking for lists of flowers that do work in the harsh desert climate, check out my book, Getting Potted in the Desert.

Follow these tips to have a gorgeous riot of color the rest of the winter.

  1. Cover your pots when there are forecasts for below freezing temperatures. You need to know your micro climates around your home. If you are in a cold pocket, you will need to cover even when the forecast is above 32.
  2. Not sure of your temps? Pick up a digital thermometer with a readout memory at your local hardware store.
  3. Be sure that the soil of ornamentals is damp before going into a freeze. Do not water succulents however.
  4. Cover the plants/pots with frost cloth or blankets. Do not use towels or other materials that will become laden with water if it rains. Certainly, do not use plastic.
  5. Remove cloths after temps rise above 40.
  6. Fertilize your potted flowers and ornamentals every two weeks with a water soluble fertilizer dissolved in water. Spray both the plants and the soil with the nutrient rich mixture. Water with this deeply.
  7. Deadhead spent flowers all the way back to the originating stem regularly.
  8. Be sure your pots have enough water but are not saturated continually. Soil drying rates depend on:
    • The size of your pots
    • How much sun they receive
    • Day and night temperatures
    • Shade provided by the plants themselves keeping the soil cooler
    • Windy days

You might need to monitor this on a regular basis. But if your pots are doing well with an abundance of flowers, just keep doing what you are doing.

Have realistic expectations. You need to be using the best plants and flowers for your climate and conditions.

  1. Don’t expect plants like Vinca and Tomatoes to survive a cold winter.
  2. Snapdragons and Petunias will stop blooming when it is really chilly.
  3. Annuals considered to be hot climate winter performers may still freeze succumbing to the cold. Lobelia and Geraniums will be the first to go.

Take some time to devise the methods you need for your garden to become the envy of your neighbors.

 

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3 comments on “4 Tips to a Stunning Winter Container Garden

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Bobbie Herbert on January 24, 2017 5:21 am

Any thoughts on Stock? I assume these are also sensitive plants for the winter. How should these be pruned when they get a bit spindly?
I need a suggestion for a rose bush to go on a deep opening at the top of a stone fountain that is 20″ high. It faces East but will get some sun from the West since it is on the corner of my patio-. I don’t want it to grow too high, but would like it to cascade a bit and be ever-blooming if possible. The back patio does get intense summer sun.

Avatar image
Marylee Pangman on February 11, 2017 4:42 pm

Hi Bobbie! Somehow I missed your comment. Stock -great in the winter. When you deadhead, cut back far down the stem like you do with snapdragons. As for a rose in that situation, if you haven’t found one, I think you need to be careful with that exporsure. There are some “Carpet” varieties that might do well. Check with the local nurseries that have roses like Magic Garden and Mesquite Valley Growers.

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Patricia Pearson on January 24, 2017 2:49 pm

Thanks Marylee, Always look forward to your posting!

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