The Q&A Archives: How to overwinter tropicals & Annuals

Question: I live in zone 5, how can I over winter the following tropical & annual plants:
Allamanda Bush

Answer: The plants you named can sometimes be brought indoors as house plants to a sunny windowsill. They will do best in a room that is on the cool side, say 65 degrees and very bright -- as close to a greenhouse as you can manage. Before you bring them indoors check them carefully for pests to avoid bringing any inside along with the plants. Bring them inside before night time temperatures drop below about 50 degrees. Reduce watering (they will need less because they are not growing much) and stop fertilizing for the winter. Trim them back as needed in late winter and early spring.

You can also try to store them dormant or semi dormant. To do this leave them outside a bit later in the fall so they really slow their growth, but do not expose them to temperatures below about 40 degrees. Check them for pests as above, then move them to a cool and dark place at about 40 degrees -- cool but above freezing. Keep the soil just barely damp, meaning not bone dry. The darkness helps keep them from growing too early. In the spring, trim them back and bring them into the light again. Resume watering and feeding as they begin to grow for the season.

In spring you will need to gradually acclimate them to being outside in the real sunshine again, and you will want to get them outside as soon as possible. this may mean setting them outside on nice days and protecting them at night until the temperatures settle. Good luck with your plants!

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