Friday, October 2, 2009

Time to Bring the Outdoors In

It's that time of the year again, when I bring the outdoors back inside for the winter. I have a small number of tropicals and temperate plants that I like to over winter. I maintain them inside until next summer when I can enjoy their beauty, once again, on the patio.

I have two methods of overwintering plants. The hardier of the bunch, the ones that can handle being in 30 degree temperatures without hard freezing spend the winter in my 3 season room. Even when the temps drop to hard subzero temperatures, they manage to make it through with little damage. They don't thrive, but they haven't declined and that's the important part.

The second method I use is to store the tropicals in a sunny window in my garage. The average temperature in the garage won't usually dip below the 45 degree range. I don't leave the garage open for extended periods of time in the winter. Moving the car in and out of the garage on a normal basis hasn't damaged the plants either.

When overwintering plants, keep in mind that you don't want to over fertilize the plants. Vigorous fertilization can cause tender new growth that may not make it through the winter, and may cause decline of the plant. Also, you will want to water moderately through the winter.

A note of overwintering durability:
I have a large Spike Plant (Dracena spp.) that was very old. I overwintered that plant in the garage one year and failed to water it for 2.5 months. Gave it just a sip of water, enough so that the water didn't just pour through the dessicated soil, and left it until spring. It looked a bit rough for a couple of weeks. Then it perked up and was fabulous when spring came and the plant was put out on the patio. The Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus) made it through too. Durable!
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