The Q&A Archives: Transplanting into Pots for winter

Question: Gentlemen or Ladies: I want to take my banana trees in for the winter because they are not hardy plants in zone 5. They are Monrovia tropicals that I bought in Lake county this summer. Would I be a able to dig them up and put them in pots under grows for the winter? The tempeture is about 55 degrees in the basement. Would you cut back on watering tropicals in the winter also in the basement or just keep watering as usual? Thnaks for you help, John Willis Also, they are in the ground right now.

Answer: You will have to dig them up and bring them inside or they will freeze to death. You could try to keep them growing in a very bright and warm location (greenhouse is best), but this usually works better if they are being grown as container plants year round. Or, you can store them in a resting state. You would want a slightly cooler location (40 to 45 degrees) and a dark one, so they do not try to grow. You can pot them up or if they are too big for that, you can wrap the roots in plastic sheeting and lay them flat on the floor where it is usually cooler. Keep it barely damp (not bone dry)until spring. Next year you may want to consider keeping them in containers during the summer to make moving them easier. For other tropicals during the winter, cut back on watering as they slow their growth. They need less water when they rest, but sometimes a very dry house will dry out the soil quickly so check it with your finger. Do not fertilize unless they are actively growing. Good luck with your project!

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