Common Winter Gardening Problems and Solutions

common winter greenhouse gardening problems and solutions gothic arch greenhouseA greenhouse is invaluable to extending your gardening efforts all year long. But that doesn’t mean you won’t face a special set of challenges when the weather changes.

Just because winter brings with it cooler temperatures doesn’t mean you can stop monitoring what’s going on in your greenhouse.

Water, light, temperature and air flow continue to be among your chief concerns as you navigate your plants through the colder weather.

Keeping those in mind, these are some of the most common problems you might face this winter and what you can do to prevent them early.

PROBLEM: Plants exhibit off-color foliage, wilt or indicate stunted growth.
SOLUTION: Know how to water properly! Overwatering or underwatering can lead to the above symptoms, and both can be corrected simply by adjusting water frequency that is consistent with good growth. Allow the soil to drain and dry to the point where most of the available water has been used. Rather than letting the calendar determine how much to water your plants, consider the plants’ needs when it comes to frequency, amount, application and water quality.

PROBLEM: Plants are weak and spindly and drastically bend toward a light source.
SOLUTION: These are some indications that your plants are receiving too little light. Your options are to remove the cause of the shade, relocate the plants (easy if they are in containers!) to receive more sunlight or even bring in artificial light that will help allow them to thrive. This is why even before selecting a site for your greenhouse, it’s important to consider light patterns during summer and winter so you can take advantage of the sunshine, then make adjustments as needed.

PROBLEM: Plants grow slowly, indicate leaf burn or feature small, thick leaves.
SOLUTION: This may mean your plants are getting too much light. You can add shadecloth, install blinds or even add a coat of paint to help limit the amount of light your plants receive. You can also change up what you’re growing by selecting vegetables, flowers and the like that need more light. This is yet another reason why you should carefully plan where you are going to locate a greenhouse and select plants that have the best chance of thriving given the environment you can provide.

PROBLEM: Plants wilt, exhibit slow growth or die.
SOLUTION: Introduce vents in your greenhouse. Just because the weather may get cooler in the winter doesn’t mean your greenhouse can’t overheat. It may be hard to believe but more plants die because of excessive heat rather than the extreme cold. Vents strategically placed in your greenhouse will help keep temperatures even and allow heat to escape naturally.

PROBLEM: Plants are dehydrated, show blackened foliage or appear water-soaked.
SOLUTION: Your plants may have gotten too cold. Greenhouse heaters will help to raise the temperature, but of course you’ll want to consider your local climate and the plants’ needs to determine what solution will work. You can also fill large black 5-gallon jugs with water and place them in the greenhouse. The water will absorb heat throughout the day, then slowly emit it. The key is monitoring maximum and minimum temperatures so you know how much heat you’ll need.

PROBLEM: Plants show yellowing or distorted leaves or scarred or stunted flowers.
SOLUTION: A daily or regular check and inspection of your plants will help you recognize these signs of pests early on. Sterilizing your garden tools is one way to prevent pests from being introduced in your greenhouse. Another solution is to bring in a fan to help circulate air and reduce bugs or parasites. Not only does proper ventilation keep plants healthy, but also it creates an environment where pests won’t get too comfortable and hang around.

Have a problem and need a solution that we didn’t cover? Call us at 1-800-531-4769 and let our friendly representatives help you today! You can visit our website at for any greenhouse gardening needs!