Perennials in pots over the winter.

Tiffany MarshallJuly 26, 2010

I have had bad luck growing Monarda in my garden, so this year I grew it in a container instead with no problem. But I would like to ask, what should I do when winter comes along? Can I store it in a shed until spring and would it will be fine?

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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

hi tacotac, you need to add your location to your i.d. so people can give you accurate advice!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 11:15PM
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Tiffany Marshall

Oh sorry, northeastern IL

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 11:23PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Yes, you can store in pots over winter. If you do a board search, there should be old posts explaining tips/tricks to doing so. :0)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 6:20AM
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Nevermore44 - 6a

depending on what type of pot they are in you could do different things. The main issue being that terra cotta and glazed pottery can crack during the winter freeze and thaw cycles. I attempted to overwinter a pot in the garage last year and it still got cold enough to crack.

This year i have a series of glazed pots with hostas for my porch. I plan on just transplanting them all into the veggie bed in late fall and bringing in the pots and cleaning them up for spring.

If they are plastic or the foam types, you could just bury the whole pot or do the shed thing.. but i would be too apt to forget about them completely and have them desiccate.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 8:52AM
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Tiffany Marshall

It is in a plastic pot. What all do you have to do to care for them? Just go in the shed and water them once in awhile? Are they ok without light for the season?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:30AM
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I keep quite a few perennials in pots, especially since I dig them up to move them and conveniently forget to replant or give away. I generally end up either putting them up against the house or sinking the entire pot in the ground, making sure the lip of the pot is submerged under the soil. This only works if you have the space, obviously...

The only plants I'll attempt to bring "inside" to overwinter are tender perennials, which I tend to mostly lose anyway, due to lack of watering or if it gets too cold in the garage/shed/florida room...

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 11:26AM
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chrisinerie(z6 nw PA)

I always have more plants than space so my potted perennials go into the garage every winter. Evergreen plants are put near the door windows. I leave the garage door open on nice days in the fall until they are all dormant and start opening it again in the spring on good days so they can get used to light. Water a few times through the winter. The only plants that die are the ones where mice or other critters dig into the pots.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 8:28PM
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MollyDog(6 PA)

I overwinter my gooseneck loosestrife in pots (some are in clay pots) in the garage over the winter with a little watering now and then. Love the plant, just don't want it in my gardens.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 5:25AM
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This wouldn't interest the OP, since her plant is in a plastic pot, but I thought I'd chime in since others are talking about clay pots.

I overwinter a lot of plants in clay pots in a breezy garage. I'm usually not that interested in keeping the plants, but I put the pots in there to protect from freezing when wet. Many years, several of the plants survive, and that's just a bonus - it easily gets as cold in the garage as outdoors, since the doors don't close very tightly and there's no insulation.

Most terra cotta can freeze with no problem as long as the soil isn't too wet; it's the expansion of the water in the soil that causes cracks. Water that's been absorbed into the clay walls of the pot can also cause flaking and chipping.

I keep the plants and the pots quite dry, watering 2 or 3 times when the weather's expected to remain above freezing for a few days.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 1:04PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

For those of us in colder zones, it's generally advisable to clean out clay pots entirely before storing for the winter. Even if the cracking isn't an obvious split, the surface will start to erode over time.

I do store some pieces in the garage, where it does freeze, but since the pottery is entirely empty and bone-dry, it doesn't crack. For my prized pieces, they are cleaned and hauled into the crawl space for the winter, I do not want to take any chances with them.

If you have inexpensive pottery, it's not a big deal, but for expensive pieces - no way would I take a chance, they are cleaned and stored properly for the season.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 1:39PM
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sue36(Z5 Maine)

I generally overwinter plants that just didn't make it into the ground in time in the garage. One year they didn't make it into the garage and they spent the winter on my back patio (protected from wind, but with snow cover) and almost all died. The plants overwintered in the garage almost always do fine. I have also overwintered them outside with the pots sunk in the ground, but that is too much work. If I had time to plant pots I'd have time to plant the plants!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 10:01PM
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Mine are in plastic pots, nothing costly. When I dig up to eventually replant, 90% of the time it's a large nursery pot that I recycle. And rather than try to find a new home in my garden, I'll just sink it into the ground, pot and all, then decide what I'll do with it again in the spring...

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 2:36PM
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sue36(Z5 Maine)

I forgot to mention, my garage is heated to about 40 degrees.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 10:12PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

You call 40 degrees heated?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 10:18PM
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I pot up my tree-sized brugmansia and overwinter it in the basement after pruning it rather severely. I also bring in 2 large pots with hybrid tea roses into the garage. I have quite a few roses in the ground, so this is just to add color to the patio.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 8:48PM
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