Winter is a time for plants to take a bit of a break from producing flowers and fruit. Overwintering are the steps taken to protect tender plants during the winter months by bringing them indoors. Otherwise left outside, they wouldn’t survive the cold, harsh temperatures.
Overwintering is an easy process and saves gardeners money, especially if the plants were expensive to begin with. As well, having houseplants have many benefits. It improves our well-being and improves the air quality during the winter.
Plants that are typically overwintered:
Tender flowers such as impatiens, geraniums, begonias, and hibiscus would benefit from overwintering.
Hardy shrubs and perennials can survive the cold temperatures. True annuals like marigolds, fuchsia, petunias, and zinnias don’t need to be overwintered and don’t do well indoors. Besides, once they bloom and go to seed, they are meant to die.
How to overwinter:
- Once the temperatures start to drop, figure out how much room you have inside your home and how many plants you want to bring in.
- If you are short on space, choose your plants wisely. Try to bring your plants indoors before the first frost. Select the healthiest of plants for the best results. Be sure to inspect plants for disease and pests. Before bringing them in, get rid of any diseased parts. Cut off any dead stems and leaves.
- If the plant is in the ground, it needs to be dug up with most of the roots intact and transferred into a container with fresh potting soil. The better the root system, the better chance of it surviving winter. It’s a good idea to incorporate some fertilizer in the mix. If the plant is already in a container, just bring it in. Give it a good watering.
- Consider doing cuttings. Many plants are easy to propagate from cuttings. If you are limited in space, it may be easier for you to have a bunch of cuttings in small containers than a room full of large bulky plants.
- Plants do need to receive adequate light and water to survive the winter months. Place potted plant in an area with lots of light, such as in a sun room, under a bright window or under grow lights. Don’t over water and feed only sparingly. The low humidity indoors may become a problem. Consider using a humidifier or alternatively, use a spray bottle to mist the leaves a couple times a week.
- Bringing the Outside Indoors – The Seasonal Culling of Plants (thegardendiaries.wordpress.com)
- Overwintering (grafaktri.wordpress.com)
- 12 Annuals to Overwinter Indoors (treehugger.com)