Dear Ms. Easton,
Maybe I'm just echoing what a lot of gardeners have on their minds right now in this cold snap...I went and bought several potted plants at Swanson's last week using my Swan Dollars and lo and behold, now the soil is crunchy and cold and it's fr-r-r-r-reezing outside. Is it better to leave those plants in their pots, or stick them in the cold soil and mulch them? I feel like I want to put mufflers around them and serve them tea...
Thanks for any insights,
in the slanting rays of winter sunlight on frozen Phinney Hill
Hi Christina, This photo is the windshield of my car coated in ice crystals yesterday morning. Last night was predicted to be equally cold - down to 18 degrees in the city. I'm sure many other gardeners are worrying about their plants tonight too, especially potted ones. While plants do suffer more from the cold when they're in pots (less insulating soil, more cold air circulating around closer to their roots), your question is moot - the ground is frozen too solidly to plant anything right now. And it would harm the brittle, cold roots on your new plants to disturb them.
So the best you can do for now is to top the pots off with mulch, bring your plants into a garage or basement at night, or put them right up against the house in as sheltered a spot as you can find, and maybe even wrap the pots with a blanket or towel. And hope for a thaw so you can get your new plants into the (relatively) warmer ground...hopefully we aren't talking about any semi-tender plants or I'm afraid they're history, for borderline plants in the ground are suffering, and perhaps dying, this week when it dips below 20 degrees night after night....