Not all plants are made for the winter. Do you want to keep your potted rose which is so dear to your heart or Hibiscus gifted for your birthday going strong year after year? Looking to get a good start of your favorite pepper in early spring? Then you should look at over wintering your plants. Here are some tips how to overwinter and care for a container plant.
Depending on what you have available, you can try one of the following:
- Greenhouse (provided the greenhouse will be warm enough for the plant throughout the winter, either naturally or through heating)
- Partially / fully heated sun rooms
- Inside the home (if they are small enough and don’t interfere with the space inside the home).
What to bring indoors
You can bring as many plants you want but the space of the indoor space (greenhouse / house) available will be your only limiting factor. Obviously you will like to keep the ornamental / herbs inside the house for visual and space considerations.
I don’t have a green house; I bring my herb containers, highly priced tropical plants and my aloe vera indoors.
When to bring the plants indoors
Some of the plants on the ground can also be lifted up and potted in container during late summer (to establish the plant in container) and when the weather cools up it can be bought indoors. Bring the plant indoors when they cannot tolerate cold weather/freeze anymore. Some plant cannot tolerate temperature below 50F (10 C), but others can tolerate up to 32F(0 C). This varies by plant to plant.
Things to take care when bringing plants indoors
When you bring potted plants indoors, some of the bugs and earthworms may tag along with the container plant. It is not a problem if this plant goes to the greenhouse, however if you are taking the plants indoors to the living areas of the home, you have to be careful in cleaning and checking the plants before bringing them indoors.
How to care for plants indoors
During winter months the plants will go dormant, some may shed its leaves. Don’t worry, but it should start to grow when the favorable conditions return in spring. While the plants are taking rest indoors make sure the plant is away from any cold draft and ensure that it gets some sunlight. Over-watering will cause rot which may kill the plant. Water the plant in small quantity whenever the soil feels dry, but don’t fertilize the plant after bringing them indoors.
When to bring them back outdoors:
When the temperature warms up above 50F (10 C), bring the plants (depending upon the plant) outdoors gently. Once the plant has acclaimed the outdoors well adding some fertilizer or compost will boost up the growth. For example if I grow mint I will bring the plant outdoors gradually round 50F (10 C), but if am bringing a pepper plant I will bring it outdoors over 70F (21 C).
I have an aloe vera plant that I grow in container. Once the temperature hits the 40F (5 C) mark I bring the plant indoors and take them back to the patio after the last freeze of the season.