Plants that Survive Winter Outside: Caring Tips

What’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold!

The minute the thermometer reads below 60 degrees, Southerners will have hats, gloves, scarves, boots, and winter coats on. If the words “snow” or (the most dreaded!) “ice” are muttered once, milk and bread will be sold out within minutes. Luckily, our plants are much more hardy and level-headed than we are when it comes to colder temperatures. Even still, it is helpful to know the plants that survive winter outside and how to ensure your other outdoor plants get through the winter.

How to get your plants to survive the winter: Know your plant zone

Knowing your garden zone is an incredibly helpful tool year round, but especially when choosing plants that you plan to keep for years to come. A quick google search will help you find this information and then, during your next trip to your local nursery, check plant information tags to find plants best suited to your zone.

Winter tips for container plants

Careful not to over prune! There is a difference between dormant and dead. Over pruning a dormant plant may put it through too much shock and cause it harm. Also, while watering is probably the last thing on your mind as the temperatures lower, your potted plants still get thirsty. They will certainly not require the same amount of water as they do during summer months, but check the soil with your finger occasionally to make sure your plants are staying hydrated. Lastly, you always have the option of bringing plants indoors. Luckily, our winters down south tend to be mild so this is often not necessary.


Offer your plants some insulation through mulch, pine straw, raked leaves, and even snow. This helps to keep their roots warm and protected from the elements.

Watering Schedules

As plants go dormant in the winter, they will be growing very little (if at all). This means they will require much less water. If you use an automatic sprinkler system or have a regimented watering schedule, now is a perfect time to cut way back. Your water bill will thank you as well.

Salt for de icing

When de icing, Avoid de-icers that use salt! This is a surefire way to kill grass and plants. Salt, absorbed through leaves or roots, leaches moisture from the plant cells and causes the tissues to dry out. Opt de icing with sand, and if that doesn’t work choose a de-icer that’s either calcium or potassium based, and use it sparingly.

Not to worry, fellow Southerners. Your plants can still survive the Winter!

Winter may officially be here but it never lasts long. We will make it through the dark times and be in shorts and flip flops again soon. In the meantime, make some hot cocoa and pray for snow days.

Read about plants that survive winter outside: Plants to Grow in Winter