Mark Lane reveals the most common winter gardening mistake - but there's still time to fix it

Gardeners' World presenter Mark Lane shares his top tip to fix this mistake, but time is of the essence

terracotta pots in the snow
(Image credit: Getty / Jacky Parker Photography)

Mark Lane has revealed the biggest mistake many gardeners make when getting their gardens ready for winter. Luckily, if you're guilty of it, there is still time to fix it.

Mark Lane is a UK-based garden designer and writer who sprung to fame when he joined the BBC's Gardeners' World as a presenter in 2018. He is the first garden designer in a wheelchair in the UK, and is currently the resident gardening expert on BBC One’s Morning Live.

Speaking exclusively to Gardeningetc Mark Lane, revealed that when it comes to how to prepare a garden for winter, the biggest mistake he sees is gardeners 'not taking care of potted plants.'

potted tree outside front door in frost

(Image credit: Getty / Julija Svetlova / EyeEm)

When winter frosts hit potted plants are particularly vulnerable to snow and cold winds. This is because unlike the rest of the plants in the garden the roots aren't protected by the warmth of the earth.

Fortunately, knowing how to protect plants from frost is quite simple. Mark Lane's top tip is to make sure they are fully wrapped up in a mixture of bubble wrap and fleece cover.

'Protect pots by wrapping bubble wrap around them and securing in place with string,' says Mark. 'Never use bubble wrap around the plant itself, instead use horticultural fleece.'

Olive tree wrapped in fleece cover

(Image credit: Rawdon Wyatt / Alamy Stock Photo)

The bubble wrap will help insulate the pots themselves and keep the roots protected from frost. However, when used on plants themselves, according to the RHS it can cause issues with over-heating and lack of insulation at night.

Horticultural fleece on the other hand is more porose, so will help keep the plants warm without overheating them. You can easily pick horticultural fleece up on Amazon.

fleece cover potted tree

(Image credit: Tanja Esser / Alamy Stock Photo)

Once your plants are all wrapped up, it is then a question of positioning them. 'Place all of your potted plants together up close to a wall to protect them even further,' says Mark.

When choosing the best wall or place to place your potted plants, opt for somewhere sheltered, as warm as possible and against an exterior wall of your house. The heat from the interior will help transfer a little extra warmth to the plants.

You need to start protecting your potted plants about a week before the first frost hits. The first frost date varies between October and December for most regions across the US and UK, so if you're guilty of this mistake, there's still time to fix it.

Simply check when is the frost date in your area, to work out if you need to start wrapping up your potted plants asap.

Rebecca Knight

Rebecca has worked as a homes and interiors journalist for over four years, and is currently the Deputy Editor on Ideal Home online. Previously, she was the News Editor across the Future homes and gardens brands, including She lives in a rented flat in South London where she makes the most of window boxes to create small container gardens. Inside she has a jungle of houseplants in nearly every room which she does her best to keep up with regular watering and repotting.