Frozen Fuchsias? How do I protect greenhouse plants in the Winter?

A snow-covered greenhouse in winter
Photo credit: Dwight Sipler
Q:

My husband built me a greenhouse. I believe January is the time to start growing seeds in it. Even though it's warm inside on sunny winter days, do I need to put a heater in it on cold, wintery, dark days? (1,000' elevation east of Springfield) I have potted outdoor plants (mums, variegated euonymus, fuchsia), will they be safe if I put them in the greenhouse for the winter months? What about watering them in the winter? Thank you!

- Lane County
A:

The plants you listed are safe to freezing, so most of the time you will not need extra heat, but it would be wise for weather such as we have been having lately. It would help to know if the greenhouse is insulated to start with. Get a mini/max thermometer for it and check the temperature daily. I have an unheated greenhouse which protects non-tender plants easily down to 30 degrees outside temperature. You could also look at heat mats in the greenhouse if you do not have a large number of plants. They are also great for starting plants for the garden starting this month.

Pat Patterson
OSU Master Gardener Volunteer
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