Potentilla Winter Care

Potentilla is an easy-care perennial or shrub and is cold hardy all the way into USDA zone 2. This plant is deciduous and does not require much effort during the winter besides protection from foragers and a layer of mulch around the root zone. Wait until late winter or early spring to cut back spent growth.


Protecting Potentilla in Winter

This hardy plant does not require much care in the winter. The biggest issue this plant may face is foraging animals that nibble on the bark. To protect the plant against damage, install a wire cage or wrap it with landscape fabric. Potentilla usually does not need extra protection from cold weather, but plants located near buildings or areas where snow may pile up may benefit from a cover.

Cutting Back Potentilla For Winter

Tender growth like flowers and foliage will die back after the first heavy frost and can be left in place. Leaving the damaged growth can help insulate the plant from chilly temperatures. This shrub can be cut back hard in late winter or early spring to rejuvenate growth. Prune out the oldest stems to encourage compact new shoots. 


Potentilla Winter Care in Pots

At the lower end of its growing range, a potted Potentilla plant can be moved to a protected area during the winter. Since Potentilla is fully winter hardy, the protection may benefit the pot more than the plant. The space does not need to be heated, and a shed, garage, or basement are generally suitable spaces to store a potted plant. Potted Potentilla plants do best when they allowed to stay dormant over the winter.

Watering Potentilla in Winter

Potentilla plants are dormant during the winter and can generally survive on natural precipitation alone. This is true for potted plants too. The plants naturally conserve water during the winter and only need water if the soil is completely dry. Once temperatures warm up, you can resume a watering routine.

Growing Potentilla Indoors

Potted Potentilla plants can be brought indoors for the winter, but they are not likely to grow and offer the same level of interest they provide during the warmer months. Although this shrub is exceptionally cold hardy, its container may not be. To store the plant indoors, allow it to go dormant and place it in a cool, protected area. Bring it outdoors when the temperatures warm up enough for the pot to be brought outdoors.

Steps To Care For Potentilla in Winter

Step 1 - Leave the plants in place and do not prune or remove dead or damaged growth

Step 2 - Plants in extreme conditions may benefit from being covered, but it is generally unnecessary

Step 3 - Plants prone to animal damage can be wrapped

Step 4 - Potted Potentilla can be allowed to go dormant and stored in a cool, dry place

Step 5 - Prune plants in early spring and return potted Potentilla plants outdoors 

Sources: "Potentilla." Milwaukee County Extension, University of Wisconsin. fyi.extension.wisc.edu

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 Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 07-12-2022