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Is there any way to protect half-hardy perennials from the winter cold? - they are in the ground.



For me, living in the north of Scotland, half hardy perenials are grown in (small) pots and taken into the front porch/conservatory with a frost protection heater. In Devon I would have thought your problems would be less.If the plants are fully herbacious with the foliage dying down in winter then giving the crowns a deep mulch may protect them - provided that the soil does not freeze solid for a long period of time!

19 Oct, 2013


You've give me hope Bulba! Yes Devon is usually warmer, but in the last few years I have lost plants because of the unusual freezing temperatures. I will do as you suggest but should I cut the foliage back and then mulch? It's the Digitalis Illumination that I am trying to preserve. Thankyou for your advice.

20 Oct, 2013


I would cut down the old flowering stem, Merlinbd, but I hope you get other advice as well, the new foxgloves seem to be expensive.

20 Oct, 2013


I have 3 Digitalis 'Illumination' and the instructions from T&M for winter care just say 'avoid your plants sitting in cold wet soils over winter'. I'm going to leave 2 in the ground and, as Bulba says give them a good mulch around the crown, and dig the other one up and put in a pot in my cold greenhouse. My stony alkaline soil is very free draining so I'm hopeful they will survive outside.

20 Oct, 2013


One vague answer coming up. Regular members may remember that I used to grow a lot of semi-tropicals which I left outside in winter with a lot of mulch, straw, fleece etc. Kept them for years with no real problems even on the North Yorkshire coast, just lost the occasional baby palm or so. Then we had that winter of 3 years ago, I don't really want to talk about it, 'sob'. I lost every palm, every cordyline, both tree ferns, a large cider gum, a ten foot bay (which did fight back after a year but has never been the same and still has the bare branches that I couldn't be bothered to lop or saw off) and loads of bush perennials.

So, it is possible to keep even semi-tropicals never mind half hardies over the average, even Yorkshire, winter (stress we are on the coast so it isn't Wuthering Heights) as long as you are prepared to risk a real stinker of a winter catching you out.

20 Oct, 2013


Thanks Bulba. I had thought of putting some in the greenhouse over winter and I think I will do now that you have said that is what you inted to do, Jaykaty. Poor Sarraceniac, my heart went out to you when i read about your ordeal of 3 years ago. Yet you do give me hope for my 6 Illumination foxgloves. It seems to me that we go through freezing spells every winter now; not like 20+ years ago when I first moved to Devon, when I would see bedding plants in my neighbour's garden at Christmas!

20 Oct, 2013

How do I say thanks?

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