What To Do With Your Dormant Plants

It's winter or early spring and your plants were shipped looking a little different than what you imagined. Don't worry! Your plant isn’t dying, it’s just going to sleep or sleeping already! 😊 

During the winter months here in southeast Michigan, we keep our shrubs in cooler greenhouses where they go dormant. This dormancy usually lasts from November to April. During dormancy, plants go inactive and conserve their energy for the next growing season. This happens naturally as seasons and weather change. As a result, the plants may look dead or as if there is something wrong with them.

Plants Going Dormant (Late Fall - Early Winter Shipments)

If you are receiving your plants in late fall and early winter, as they are beginning to go dormant, you may notice:

  • Yellowing/browning leaves
  • Spots
  • Thinning foliage (leaf drop) 
We recommend planting 6-8 weeks prior to your first frost to allow the plant to establish a strong root system before freezing temperatures arrive. Be sure to remove any unhealthy leaves from the plant or any that may have dropped, and lightly prune as needed before planting. When the weather conditions begin to transition and get warmer next season, your dormant plants will wake up and return to business as usual! 

Plants Already in Dormancy (Winter - Early Spring Shipments)

During this time, your plants will be bare, meaning there are no leaves or flowers, just stems. 


If you live in a warmer climate (above freezing), all you have to do is plant the shrub, then feed and water it. Within a few weeks, signs of life will return as your plant adjusts to the warm climate. 

If you live in a cooler climate, keep the plant out of the elements by storing it inside your garage or home. Keep its soil moist until outside temperatures rise and your area is frost-free. Your average frost-free date can be found here or by calling your local garden center. Then, plant, feed, and water your plant and you’ll be good to grow! 

As always, please feel free to reach out to us at any time with any questions or concerns. You can call us at 855-PW PLANT (855-797-5268), email us at  helpdesk@provenwinnersdirect.com or chat with us online! We are happy to help!

For more garden tips and advice, head over to our Garden Life Blog and Garden Resource Center