Drops in temperature can damage your grow severely if you’re not careful. If your grow room or outdoor grow isn’t ready for the harsh conditions of winter it could be hard- if not impossible- to get your plants through the season healthily.
That’s why we’re going to be going over what your plants could be facing this winter in your garden, and what you need to do to prevent your grow from freezing dead its tracks.
Trust us: growers often underestimate winter’s damage to your plants, so we’re going to make sure you know what to do to keep your plants alive and thriving this winter.
Preparing Your Outdoor Garden for Winter
When moving your plants inside isn’t an option you’ve still got plenty of things you can do to keep your plants from suffering too much. Some growers can bring their plants inside when it gets cold, but for lots of outdoor growers plants are usually kept outside. So the first thing you’re going to want to start winter prep in the fall.
- You’re going to want to add mulch to your soil early to avoid frost heave. When you plants which can push plants out of the ground due to the soil freezing and thawing so often during the winter. Material like straw, leaves, and clean hay is preferable.
- Take the time to prune dead plants, clear out dying plants, and clean up low leaves and branches. Bugs and pests like protection from harsh winter conditions, and near your plant’s base is where they’ll find shelter. Trim all of those excess branches and leaves down around the base of your plants, and make sure your plant focuses its energy growing what’s there and new growth bugs can hide out in.
- If your outdoor garden is susceptible to wind, rain, and snow make sure you have some sort of light screening around your plants to make sure they don’t freeze or get burnt from the wind.
- Do not to over-feed your garden. If you overfeed your plants their roots can not only rot, but there’s a good chance they’ll freeze underground. Frozen roots mean your plants aren’t taking any nutrients, which means your plants won’t survive the winter.
Outdoor Potted Plants in the Winter
Did you know that if you’re growing plants outside in grow pots you can bring them inside for the winter? It’s true, but if you do you’ve got to prep them to be put inside. What does that mean?
First things first: transitioning plants from outside indoors is all about timing. When you’re thinking of bringing outdoor plants inside to avoid harsh, cold weather you’ll want to transition them toward the end of fall while the weather is cooling down.
If you move them inside when the weather drops you’re going to need to slowly transition them inside. That means you may need to warm your plants with a supplemental grow light for at least a week before putting them inside. Going from cold to warm in a matter of minutes can (and usually will) shock your plants.
Because they’ve been growing outside, you’ll want to make sure that your plants are free of pests, and that the area you’ll be keeping your plants in is pest-free, too. You definitely don’t want to bring in an infestation or have one waiting to pounce on fresh plants.
As far as your lights are concerned, we’ll assume you have the correct lighting for your plants, so we won’t go over what size or type you need. Once they’re inside, make sure that you hang your lights far enough away to avoid any heat or light intensity stress.
And always mimic your outdoor conditions: If your plant already got a whole day worth of light and you bring your plants inside at night, do not light them again. Let your plants sleep and make them when the sun would normally come out (or when your lighting cycle suggests).
Indoor Grow Rooms in the Winter
While your indoor plants may not have to face the cold as much as your outdoor plants, that doesn’t mean the weather won’t affect your grow room. In fact, there are lots of indoor growers who forget to adjust their environment to accommodate for the drop in temperature, which will halt good growth to your plants.
Now, it may seem like summer’s unbearable but winter can be just as challenging to grow in– if not more challenging.
In the summer you only had to worry about temperatures getting too high during the day, but in the winter you’ll be battling temperature and humidity in a whole new way.
Indoor Temperatures and Humidity
When you bring fresh winter air into your growing space that air is going to be cold, and when the air is cold water vapor won’t move quickly. When it does not move quickly the humidity levels in your grow room will drop, resulting in a dry, cold climate.
Simply raising the temperature won’t be enough to make room for humidity, though, because adding heat to dry material will only increase the chance of burning your plants. Instead, you’ll want to limit the amount of cold air you bring in to your grow room by adding a small heater running on a timer.
HID grow lights are a great source of heat, so you may only need a heater on at night if temperatures in your grow room drop dramatically overnight. However, lights like LED grow lights and T5 fluorescent lights don’t produce much heat, so make sure if you’re growing with low output lights you have some sort of heating source. Remember: plants need the right environment to grow in, and if you don’t give that to them all your hard work can be ruined before Christmas comes.
Winter Plants: What Should You Be Growing Outdoors?
It may sound like a no-brainer, but consider growing plants that thrive in the winter. Fruits like dates, pomegranates, pears, and certain types of citrus fruits are fruits that ripen throughout the winter and are made to take cold weather.
Lots of root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, etc…) are also grown in cold climates and harvested during the winter.
Medical plants, though, have various strains and they all grow in different climates: extreme cold, extreme heat, pine forests, tropical forests, even on planes. There are places all over the world that are usually cold all year round, like Alaska or Russia. Plants in such climates thrive in cold weather all year.
So what’s the difference between plant growth during the winter and summer? Light and nutrients!
Remember: the winter has less light available, so while temperatures and conditions may be similar all year, the light abundance isn’t (except those on the equator). So if you have flowers or plants on the side of your house you don’t want to uproot to get rid of during the winter, consider adding some light outdoors (like a flood light) to give your plants a little extra light before they go to sleep for the evening.
Spring breaks down what dies in the winter to make fresh nutrients for spring plants. But if those nutrients aren’t available naturally during the winter (or in your growing area) add a bit of the nutrients your plant finds in its natural habitat.