overwintering recap: how i store tender plants

I AM IN DENIAL. It simply cannot be time to move over and make room for them again in here, can it? But yes, the nights are already cooler than my fancy-leaf begonias and bromeliads would like, and before long it will be colder than everybody tender will tolerate outside. A whopping 39 degrees F is forecast here tonight! Here’s my 101 on how to overwinter tender garden plants–from houseplants to bulbs and bulb-like things and even some “annuals.” (The only thing I can’t help you with: real estate. Did the house just get a whole lot smaller?) Thanks, Andre Jordan, for just the right doodle.

  1. TerryK says:

    39F already! Tell me it is not true. We won’t be that cold, but I do know I have to start cutting back some of the garden or I will never get it done on time.

  2. narf7 says:

    Lol…I love watching hoarders as my own little peculiar “collecting events” pale into insignificance against what some people think is precious ;). We overwinter our precious warm babies in our little glass house en mass. We have managed to keep 2 bananas, a coffee plant and lots of tropical plants that we grew when we first started our horticultural journey (3 years ago) BEFORE we learned that some plants just can’t live in some places. Madagascan palms don’t really like frost :(. I love your little sippets of science and plant peculiarities in your posts and although you are all retreating into your homes in the northern hemisphere and we are just starting to venture out of ours here in the southern hemisphere, we seem to have met at the crossroads where both of us are getting cool temperatures and our possiblities are changing. See you on the flip side in 6 months time! ;)

  3. I know, I’m in denial as well. I don’t have room, sadly to overwinter my tender plants (mostly herbs) so instead I’m just harvesting like crazy. Any tips to overwintering them outside would be super welcome!

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, A Bit of Brooklyn. I guess that means you won’t be caring for any of MY extra plants this winter? :) Many herbs are pretty hardy (not basil of course). If you want to email me at awaytogarden at gmail and tell me what maybe I can advise.

  4. Jason says:

    My impatiens have mostly given up the ghost, cannas are holding on, as are pentas and geraniums. Saw a hummingbird this morning feeding at the pentas. I thought they had all migrated.

  5. Patricia says:

    My penstemons and obedient plants are still blooming like crazy as are the butterfly bushes. Others are starting to die off. Hubby just repotted the bromeliad; it had two huge flowers and put out about 6 new babies. In the spring it will be time to divide this baby up. We still have to bring in the birds of paradise and gigantic spider plant. We keep all of these in a cool basement with hardly any sun and they even bloom in the winter. Next to repot is the Kafir lily. I don’t know how they put up with the abuse in the winter, but somehow they make it every year. I’ll probably have a plant sale next spring when I repot all these new plant babies that keep popping up; my house is too small to keep them all. Help; it’s a jungle in here. Would like to post pics, but don’t see a place to upload a photo.

  6. Carole Clarin says:

    I read an article in this week’s Berkshire Record that this year impatiens were hit with a fungus most probably originating from the major growers. Mine were striking for most of the summer but at the end of August the leaves turned yellow and they are now in the “trash” NOT my compost pile. Beware!

  7. Eileen says:

    I’m worried about how to overwinter a terra cotta strawberry jar that has finally taken off. It is overflowing with Mare des Bois strawberries, a tiny French woodland berry. Should I keep it in a cold garage that does not have a window? Will the lack of light hurt them?

  8. laura trowbridge says:

    How do you recommend I overwinter a fig tree (5 ft. by 5 ft) in zone 5? I don’t want it in the house because of its urine odor.

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Laura. I will write a proper story about this this coming week, but basically you let it get frosted and drop its leaves then bring it into a cold but not brutally cold place, like this.

  9. laura trowbridge says:

    I don’t have a garage or shed that’s just above freezing. Can I put it in my cellar which is dark and 55 degrees?

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