Get ready for frosty weather

Get ready for frosty weather

The Met Office is forecasting the first cold snap of the year arriving this week, with Arctic air sending temperatures plunging well below zero, so get ready to batten down the hatches and protect your tender plants now, before the chill arrives.

Many borderline-hardy plants like salvias will survive a couple of degrees below zero, though they'll get through the winter much more comfortably if you lay a thick mulch of dry autumn leaves over their roots.

Protect larger exotic plants, like tree ferns, bananas or hardy gingers, by packing them round with lots of straw and then holding it all in place with a double layer of horticultural fleece, available in our garden centre.

Some plants, however, can't tolerate frost and will die if they're left outside, so dig up your dahlias, geraniums and tender fuchsias and pot them up to bring indoors, using gritty compost (a 50:50 mix of sharp sand and multipurpose compost is perfect).

If you have a greenhouse, you can use a heater to ward off frost, creating the ideal environment for overwintering plants. Insulate it first bubblewrap to save on heating bills – you'll find horticultural-grade bubblewrap in our garden centre, treated so it won't break down in sunlight. Our garden centre staff will be pleased to help you choose from one of the many greenhouse heaters we have on offer: set the thermostat to just above freezing and your plants will be snug and safe right through till spring.