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Plants Delivered in Freezing Conditions

This "Plants delivered in freezing conditions" page explains how to care for your plants if there are freezing conditions when you receive delivery from us.  Be they bare rooted, ex potted or potted plants the first step is not to panic...   We do not recommend that you attempt to plant anything when the ground is frozen.  If you do manage to dig a hole without damaging your spade, the plant is not likely to survive for many reasons!  Below you will find some solutions to the problem but if you are still concerned or uncertain, please do contact us on joanna-cottage-plants@hotmail.com.





EX POTTED PLANTS 

IF YOU RECEIVE EX POTTED PLANTS FROM US....

We sell some of our plants with free postage (we state under the description so do read the listings carefully before purchase).  These plants are removed from their pots and some of the compost is removed to reduce the weight and therefore the cost of postage.  Many people say that these are bare rooted when in fact they strictly aren't as bare rooted plants generally have no soil on the roots, are not showing much sign of life and look dry.  When we send our plants without pots, there will be compost on the roots which will be wrapped in a plastic bag.  The bagged roots and any foliage will then have been carefully wrapped in corrugated card to ensure they are well protected.  Sending plants like this at any time will not generally damage them, especially in the winter months when when most perennials enter dormancy.  For more information about plants and dormancy, visit our Plants and Dormancy page.


OH NO!  MY PLANTS DELIVERED IN FREEZING CONDITIONS; WHAT DO I DO...

It can be a bit worrying if your plants arrived like this with freezing winter conditions and no means of planting them or housing in a greenhouse.  Well fear not!  First get some newspaper to hand which has been damped.  Open the bag and place the roots and any lose compost on the newspaper.  Place any foliage or crown above the top of the paper and carefully wrap the paper and root tightly in the newspaper and tie with a piece of string to keep everything contained.  Place a small amount of water in a container or deep tray and pop the newspaper packed plants in it so that the roots can absorb the water.  Be careful not to put so much water in that it saturates them or they will rot.  Place the container ideally outside in shed or outhouse or under some form of cover where the water will not become frozen. The plants can stay like this for around a week and sometimes longer without doing any harm.  Success is largely based on checking the plants daily and not letting them get frozen through.  It will do your plants good to be kept in the dark as this will encourage dormancy.


GREENHOUSE, COLD FRAME, TUNNEL...

If you do place them in a greenhouse, tunnel or cold frame for a number of days be very cautious planting out.  Any growth in this time will be tender and your plants may go into shock and die.  You will then have to wait until the frosts have passed or you have managed to harden them off, before planting out.  


If you have  the means to pot up them up that is great.  Just pot them up, water and place near your shed window or in an outhouse.  You could also put them outside wrapped very well for a few days.  If there is prolonged freezing, we would recommend that you wrap the pot in as many layers of newspaper as you can, tying off with a piece of string.  This will prevent the frost penetrating the pot and the roots freezing solidly.   Wrap the pot and foliage/crown of the plant in several layers of fleece at night but ideally remove the fleece during the day.  Remember as before that if you put them under glass you will not be able to plant out until the frosts have passed or they have been hardened off.  



SNOWY CONDITIONS...

If the ground is covered in snow it does not necessarily mean that the earth is frozen.  Find a patch where you could temporarily plant your gems.  Clear away the snow and test the ground.  You need to make sure that when the snow melts, the ground will not become totally sodden so stick with a position that you know is well drained.  Make a hole and temporarily heel them in (make a trench deep enough for the roots and place your plants at an angle in the soil then pull back the soil to cover the roots and literally, gently compact the soil around the roots with the heel of your gardening shoe/boot.  The plants can stay like this for as long as you wish but it is better to plant them into their final position so that they can start establishing in time for the flowering season!



POTTED PLANTS

If your plants delivered in freezing conditions still have their pots, it makes things a little bit simpler.  Ideally place them in a shed or unheated cold frame until the earth thaws and you can plant out.  If you have a greenhouse, tunnel, or anywhere that is a fair bit warmer than the temperature outside, remember that you may have to wait until the frosts have passed or until the plants are gradually hardened off.


As previously mentioned, if there is prolonged freezing, we would recommend that you wrap the pot in as many layers of newspaper as you can, tying off with a piece of string.  Doing so will prevent the frost penetrating the pot and the roots freezing.   Wrap the pot and foliage/crown of the plant in several layers of fleece at night but ideally remove this fleece during the day.  Remember if you put them under glass you will not be able to plant out until the frosts have passed or they have been hardened off.  


PLANTING OUT DURING THE FROST SEASON

So the ground thaws and you eagerly get out into the garden and plant your new additions and head back indoors thinking that mother nature will do the rest for you... Well generally she does in the winter months as the weather hardly drys our plants out but eliminating the need to extend your hose around every nook and cranny of your garden does not make winter gardening a doddle!  As the earth re-freezes it has a knack of pushing the plants out of the soil (somes times referred to as frost earth heave).  This means that they are not getting the protection and nutrients they need from the soil and there is a high chance they will die.    Equally as threatening, rapid thawing can result in excessive water collecting in areas which will rot the plant.  It is important that you keep a watchful eye on your plants whilst they establish to ensure they remain helpful. 



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