You’ve been working hard to beautify your landscaping and gardens, while nurturing your perennials all summer long. Now is the time to give them the best chance at surviving the harsh Minnesota winter. With a few tips, and our PearTree team by your side, we’ll be ready to prepare your perennials for the winter months ahead.
As you select perennials, bushes, and trees for your landscaping, work with us to choose the best plants for our region, with our specific winter challenges in mind. If you’ve moved into a new home and are not sure what varieties are planted, our staff can work with you on identifying and caring for them moving forward. Once you know your perennials, you can take the next steps to help them through the winter.
Remove tender perennials from the ground and store them
Tender perennials are those that likely cannot survive our winter climate. The Minnesota Extension Office defines these as having “fleshy bulbs, corms, tubers or roots.” Whereas harder bulbs like tulips and daffodils don’t have to be dug up, tender perennials like dahlias, gladiolus, canna lilies, and begonias do need to be removed from the ground before the first hard frost arrives. These plants also include tropical shrubs and flowering vines, like hibiscus and are not hardy enough to survive the coming winter and will need to be stored somewhere indoors.
Luckily, with some careful planning and preparation, removing your tender perennials from the ground and storing them for winter should be quick and easy. First, make sure that you gather all of your tools together ahead of time – this includes gloves, sturdy pruners or shears, tarps or blankets for wrapping plants, gardening carts or similar equipment for moving larger plants. When it comes time to actually dig up your perennials, take care not to damage their roots – this will help ensure that they stay healthy throughout the process. Check with us on the best place and conditions to store your plants over the winter months, or consult the Minnesota Extension Office that has many online educational resources readily available. With some patience and attention to detail, digging up and storing tender perennials can be an easy task that ensures these lovely plants will return again next season!
Wait until all foliage has died back naturally to remove top growth
While it may be tempting to cut back your plants as part of your fall “to do” list, it is actually best to wait until all of the foliage has died off naturally. This ensures that you are only removing dead material and not harming any live plants in the process. In some cases, it can also be beneficial to wait until after a hard freeze, as this too will cause any remaining plant life to wither and be ready for pruning. Once this has happened, it becomes much easier to safely remove excess foliage without damaging nearby stems or leaves.
Protect plants from wind with fencing or ground cover
Many perennials that are hardy and safe to leave in the ground year-round can benefit from a little extra protection. Installing fencing around your garden can help block the wind and shield your plants from winter winds. You can cover the ground with a protective layer of burlap sacks or mulch, which will create a buffer between the sensitive roots of your plants. However, for some plants it’s actually not advised to mulch such as Bearded Iris and Peonies. Talk to PearTree and let us help you decide the best plants to mulch and when the best time is to remove the mulch in the spring, which is equally important.
Minnesota snow is beautiful, but harsh winter conditions are not. With a little bit of preparation and care now, it is possible to keep your perennials alive throughout winter and flourishing come spring!