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Old 20-10-2003, 06:42 AM
The Hoopeses
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Default plants and pots totally wrapped in plastic

"john west++++" wrote in message

hi, i would like to protect from the cold two potted plants at the rear of
the house. (south facing). my plan is to put large clear plastic bags
completely over the plants and
their pots.

I would like advice please on should I block up the six or so small holes
originally put in the bag by the manufacturer; to help keep the cold
out, or will that interfere with any necessary air flow to the plants?

also would it be best to stand the clay pots directly on to the concrete
patio slabs or
should I insulate the post from the slabs with a piece of wood, please?

thanking you for any advice.

yours john west

Hello! How cold are we talking about here? I've lived in a couple of cold
areas (Ohio and Buffalo, NY), one of which would get a lot of snow. In Ohio
I got to see some pretty experienced folks use some interesting methods of
protecting plants. Some of this may seem a little too *sub-arctic* to you.
Other folks may have other ideas.

Plastic bags will protect the plants from moisture, but any moisture
*inside* the bag could encourage fungus if you get a warming trend. If
they're black plastic, then any sun might scorch the plant where the two
come in contact, especially if the sun comes out and the temperature rises.

I like to make a frame of some stakes at least as tall as the plant around
the perimeter of the plant. Then I like to use newspaper (it's plentiful)
for insulation. I've never seen it harm the plant, and it breaks down
nicely. Shred the stuff and mulch with it around the base of the plant,
then wrap the plant (not too tightly) in burlap. I use a few lengths of
string wrapped around the burlap to keep it in place. I usually put a layer
or two of plastic around the supports as a windscreen, having it be at least
as high up as the top of the plant. You could try to staple the layers of
plastic together at the top, but the cord-wrapping method is best for
keeping it in place If you want to put more newspaper down in there, it's
fine, as long as you don't pack it in there too tightly.

For drainage, I'd try to raise the pot up slightly off the ground. If
you're in an extremely cold area, you might want to try setting it in a
cultivated area off the patio. Often areas closer to the structure are more
well protected, but you probable know by heart which areas are or are not.
Piling mulch around the pot will insulate the roots (and the pot) somewhat.
You could raise the pot up off the ground using a support of bricks, sticks,
or even gravel. The latter has worked for me. I've found that insulating
the pot is often a good investment in getting that plant to survive.
Someone I knew in Ohio would use a covered up section of insulation (like
you might put up under the rafters in the attic) and tie it around the pot
with a length of cord. You'd need to be careful handling anything like
that, and it would be best to cover the cut edges of it. Also wear gloves
when dealing with it.

Another possibility would be to put them in an unheated garage or enclosed
area, and I believe someone has already mentioned that. It would be the
easiest. Good luck. :-)