Barrenwort Winter Care

Barrenwort is typically grown in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 4-8, and different varieties may be considered evergreen, semi-evergreen, or deciduous, depending on what growing zone you live in. Giving your Barrenwort plants a little TLC before winter will support this perennials dormancy period to ensure their dainty spurred spring flowers and emerging new foliage growth will be fresh and lush come springtime. 


Protecting Barrenwort in Winter

Putting your perennial plants to bed is an important step to ensure they get a healthy start in the coming growing season. Remove any debris surrounding the plant base and surrounding area. Give your Barrenwort plant a thorough deep watering before the ground freezes–getting water to the plant’s root system is key. Apply a 2” layer of organic loose mulch, such as finely shredded leaves or pine needles, to ensure the plant is well insulated during the winter months. 

Cutting Back Barrenwort For Winter

You can tidy up Barrenwort by cutting the plant down to the ground; remove all dried and unsightly leaves in late winter / early spring after several frosts to allow for unobstructed growth of emerging delicate flowers, followed by fresh vibrant foliage in spring. 


Barrenwort Winter Care in Pots

Depending on your growing zone and how harsh your winter climate is, Barrenwort can be successfully grown in pots, preferably in well-draining loam soil as it tends not to do well in heavy, soggy soil. The planter must have good drainage holes and should be elevated, sitting on spaced bricks or raised feet. This ensures that water doesn’t pool on the bottom, plugging up the drainage hole and then freezing.

You will need to provide additional winter protection to the planter, especially clay pots, to decrease any risk of winter damage to the pot and the plant. Winter temperatures, rain, and snow can have significant swings in some climates, causing soil in containers to expand and contract. Insulating the pot and placing it in a more protected area are helpful if Barrenwort is grown in pots. 

Watering Barrenwort in Winter

Giving Barrenwort a thorough soak directed to the roots is essential before the ground freezes. There is no need to regularly water Barrenwort throughout the winter months as the plant enters into dormancy. 

Growing Barrenwort Indoors

Barrenwort is best grown in its natural outdoor environment. It needs a period of dormancy during the winter months as part of its natural perennial growth cycle. 

Steps To Care For Barrenwort in Winter

Step 1 - Water thoroughly before the first frost.

Step 2 - Before the first frost, keep the base of the plant free from dead leaves or debris, and discard any debris.

Step 3 - Spread a 2” layer of organic soil amendments such as shredded leaves or pine needles loosely around the base of the plant before winter. This will insulate the roots, eventually break down, and provide organic nutrients to the soil. The mulch will also protect Barrenwort from drying harsh winter winds.

Step 4 - Cut Barrenwort to the ground in late winter / early spring to allow fresh growth to emerge. 


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Author Chris Link - Published 01-12-2023