How To Keep Annuals Alive Through Winter

If you want to know how to keep annuals alive through winter, you must consider how to overwinter them and which are best for overwintering. Gardeners often dread the cold season, especially if their location experiences harsh winter. The good news is that one can overcome this time of the year by using a greenhouse for winter-sensitive plants

By definition, annuals only live and bloom for a year, and you can expect that the end of the growing season is also their termination. But before you cave in this prospect every winter, below are some useful tips and tricks to overwinter your annuals and how to choose ones that should stay alive through the cold season. 

How To Keep Annuals Alive Through Winter

Best Guide For How To Keep Annuals Alive Through Winter

 

Overwintering annuals

The best solution to keep annuals alive through winter is by overwintering them. As mentioned earlier, the greenhouse presents itself as the solution for the cold season. The term overwintering itself is straightforward, where you place plants in a sheltered location to spend the winter. 

The plants can continue growing indoors without drawbacks from the cold weather, or it can serve as a safe location for dormancy, and storage of bulbs. The ideal shelter for annuals would be a greenhouse, but you can also use a garage or any place in your home. However, using a greenhouse provides the proper space and conditions for the annuals. 

You can also adjust the temperature and other factors indoors more comfortably compared to other shelters. Remember that some plants have different needs once winter comes, and changing the indoor conditions is a must. 

 

Step #1. Preparation

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, you have two options on overwintering annuals. You can opt to dig up the whole plant or take cuttings and grow new plants. For the former, you want to start digging up before frost begins in fall.

For easier handling and to help the plant recover quickly, gardeners must cut the top back by a third or more. Ensure that you also get the majority of the root system as much as you can, while also removing all the garden soil to guarantee good drainage. After preparing the whole plant, repot it in a container with fresh organic potting soil that can anticipate the roots’ size.

You can also overwinter annuals by taking 3 to 4-inch cuttings instead of the whole plant using a sharp and sterile knife in the middle of summer. Ensure that you’re collecting from flowering shoots, but if you’re out of options, pinch all the buds and blooms. If you’re familiar with propagation from cuttings, then you should also assume that you must remove all the leaves at the lower half of the stem before planting. 

You can dip the end in rooting hormone before inserting it in a pot filled with moist potting soil or other media like damp perlite. Afterward, place the cuttings in the greenhouse area out of direct sunlight and continue to maintain moisture. The cuttings should root after six weeks, and then you can gauge if they are ready for transplanting. 

 

Step #2. Maintenance and transplanting

You start by covering the pots, each with a plastic bag, ensuring that the plastic is not touching the plants. Once they start growing, you can remove this cover and further encourage branching by pinching the growing tips. You can also take advantage of the greenhouse lights and add cool and warm-white bulbs 12 inches above the annuals for 12 to 16 hours a day. 

Ensure moisture without overwatering, and you can start fertilizing in late winter or early spring. While in the greenhouse, you must also regularly check for signs of pests and diseases. Afterward, you can replant your annuals outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. 

The emphasis is necessary on letting your annuals harden off by acclimating them slowly to the outdoors first. This way, you can guarantee that they will be vigorous enough to withstand the fluctuating conditions outside.

 

Choosing annuals for overwintering

Another topic to consider is the annuals you’ll overwinter. You don’t want to bring damaged and sick annuals indoors as they are unlikely to survive from stress. You also have to get the plants to slowly get used to the upcoming changes indoors before transferring them.

Some annuals will be easier to overwinter, so always do your research on your plants to avoid issues. For context, some easy annuals to overwinter are begonias, browallias, coleus, fuchsias, geraniums, impatiens, lantanas, and verbenas. Still, your success in overwintering any annual always depends on your methods and the maintenance of ideal indoor conditions. 

 

Conclusion

Annuals keep the garden lively, but we often have to bid goodbye to them once winter comes. However, you can learn how to keep annuals alive through winter using a greenhouse and overwinter them. Overwintering annuals only takes two steps, which are preparation and maintenance until transplanting. 

You can overwinter whole plants or cuttings, and the greenhouse should make it comfortable for you to adjust their ideal environment. However, it’s worth noting that not all annuals will be easy to overwinter. Additionally, prepare your plants beforehand by acclimating them to the indoor conditions and never use annuals that are sick and damaged for overwintering. 

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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