November Garden Tips

November comes,
and November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

~Elizabeth Coatsworth 

Flower Gardens

To store tender spring-blooming bulbs such as canna lilies, begonias, gladioli and dahlias, put in a crawl space or garage where temperatures stay between 35 to 50° F. Use an old Styrofoam cooler or cardboard box filled with vermiculite or perlite and keep moist, not wet. 

There is still time to plant spring-flowering bulbs until the ground freezes. You’ll be happy you planted some extras when they bloom early next spring.

If you are cleaning out your annual pots, you can recycle both the old plants and the soil by either putting them right in your gardens or by putting them in your compost bin.

You can reduce the number of overwintering insect larvae by turning the soil in the flower beds now, especially where geraniums and petunias were grown last year.

Perennials & Roses

Cut any remaining debris down in the garden or flower bed. Cut back perennials to 5″. Tall stems left to blow in the wind can damage perennial crowns. Leave ornamental grasses to provide winter interest until spring. 

Put Rose Collars around your roses in mid November. Fill with Mini Nuggets Bark Mulch.

Mulch your perennial and bulb beds after the ground freezes. Mulch conserves soil moisture and helps minimize freezing and thawing of the soil. .

If you had powdery mildew, black spot or any other fungus diseases on your shrubs, roses, trees or perennials, be sure to clean up all leaves and debris and get rid of it – do not put this debris in your compost.


If you haven’t already put your Green Thumb Winterizer on your lawn, do it by early November. Apply when the weather is warm and water well afterward. 

Water your lawn once a month during warm and dry periods. Since the sprinkler systems are drained, you will need to do this with a hose and sprinkler. Pay particular attention to southern exposures. Disconnect your hose from the faucet and bring it inside before the temperatures drop below freezing in the evening. 

Vegetable Gardens

Your spring crop of asparagus will benefit greatly from the addition of manure to the bed. 

After the ferns have turned brown, you can cut them back to 5″. Let the leaves collect to help mulch the bed. Test your soil for pH and nutrients so you’ll know what is needed before you plant next spring. Soil amendments that improve your gardens can be tilled or spaded now and worked in over the winter.

Trees & Shrubs

Knock down heavy snows from your shrubs and tree branches by gently pushing up with a broom.

It is very important to water your trees, shrubs, perennial and bulb beds every 4-6 weeks throughout the winter. If dry soil freezes, there is a good chance there will be root damage and the trees and shrubs will suffer. Your plants will better resist insect and disease problems next year .

Tree wrap is important winter protection for young trees that have not yet developed their bark. The purpose is to keep the tree’s bark temperature consistent. Start wrapping at the bottom and overlap up to the first set of branches. In Denver wrap about November 15 and remove the wrap around April 1. 

Protect tender shrubs, like rhododendrons, azaleas, hollies, etc. during the winter months from drying winds by providing a barrier made from a frame wrapped in burlap and placed on the north and west sides of each shrub.

Make good use of our winter snow by shoveling the snow onto your shrubs, trees and perennial beds. 

Are you having trouble getting your wisteria to bloom? These plants need a good shock. Try root pruning this fall. Use a spade to cut into the soil 1 ½ to two feet deep, three or four places around the roots of the plant about four feet away from the trunk. 

Indoor Plants

Now that our windows and doors will be shut for the winter, houseplants in the home are a very important air cleaner. Plants remove air pollutants from our homes and offices. 

Move houseplants away from heat vents if you have forced air heating. Houseplants will benefit from added humidity.

Humidifiers are great, but you can also use a pebble tray. Take an oversized saucer, add pebbles, and fill halfway with water. Then place your plant on the pebbles. As the water evaporates, add more, but don’t let the plant sit in water. 

Be alert to cold drafts — especially for ficus, philodendron, begonias, and gardenias.

Shorter days mean less growth for houseplants. Water only when your plants require it, but water the same amount every time you water. Use fertilizer at half strength every other time you water until mid March. Try to let your plants receive as much light as possible during the darker winter days.


Echter’s offers many seed mixes for all types of birds who are seed eaters. Individual types of seed are also popular and there is a great selection to choose from. Sunflower seed, safflower seed, peanuts, and Nyjer seed are among the favorite choices. Be sure to thoroughly clean feeders once a month.

Insect-eating birds such as flickers and nuthatches have a taste for suet rather than seed. Suet is a great energy source for birds in cold weather. 

Distract the squirrels from your bird feeders by offering them corn on the cob, peanuts and Squirrel Food. Let the birds have the seed.   

Home & Patio

Clean wrought iron and aluminum furniture and protect your patio furniture and grills with appropriately-fitted covers.

Remove concrete birdbath tops to prevent freezing and thawing which results in cement cracking and chipping. 

Disconnect all hoses from exterior faucets to prevent damage to pipes.  Drain hoses and store in the garage.  

Make sure there is an opening in the ice in your pond. A pond de-icer will keep an opening so gases can escape and your fish will stay healthy.   

If the deer repellents you have been using aren’t working anymore, try switching products. Deer can become accustomed to one scent. Switching ingredients is more effective.

Echter’s Plant Doctors are available during store hours seven days a week to answer your gardening questions. For accurate diagnosis, it helps to bring in a sample.