Green Circle Growers Blog

Putting Your Garden to Bed for the Winter

Green Circle Growers - Thursday, October 14, 2010

There are still a few weeks left to enjoy your fall garden but killing frosts are fast approaching. It’s time to get your garden beds ready for winter. These final pleasant fall weekends provide an excellent opportunity to trim and prepare plants for the cold days ahead.


  • Flowers and plants that have finished blooming and are starting to die back can be trimmed. Cut dead flower stalks from the leafy bases of Hemerocallis Daylilies and Hosta (Plantian Lily). Many will simply lift free with a slight tug.

  • Some flowers like Enchinacea (Coneflower) leave large seed pods once their petals fall. Leave these in the garden for awhile to attract the small birds that feed on the seeds. Dead stems can be trimmed later or left to add interest to the winter gardenscape.

  • As the foliage of leafy plants like hosta yellows and dies, it can become quite unsightly. Don’t trim foliage off too quickly as nutrients are transferred to the root system as foliage dies back. If you simply can’t wait for nature to take its course, cut leaves off about 4 to 6 inches above the plant base. You’ll be left with a less offensive upright leaf structure that will still replenish the plant.

  • Spent annuals can be pulled up and composted or discarded. As you pull up Marigolds (Tagetes), open dried seed pods and sprinkle on the earth. Some will sprout next year. Alyssum is another plant that may self-seed. Instead of pulling it up, allow dead flower mats to remain over the winter. In late spring when danger of frost has passed, gently remove old mats and you’re likely to find new seedlings sprouting.