The Q&A Archives: What to do over winter

Question: Queen Anne Lily of the Nile plant I will have to bring these plants in but I do not know how to care for them over the winter. Water? Soil? Cut back stalks? Sun or let them go dormant? Do you let these plants go root bound for a better display? Should I leave these in pots during the summer or can I plant them in my garden?



Answer: If you have a sunny spot and some extra room, most tender exotics can be kept growing and possibly even blooming right through the winter. It's important to keep these plants well watered and to fertilize regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer when they're in active growth. Avoid crowding (a small fan improves air circulation) and keep the humidity level between 30 and 45 percent by misting or leaving pans of water to evaporate in among the plants. In cold climates keep the humidity just over 30 percent, any higher will cause condensation on your windows. If you don't have the sun or the space to keep your tender beauties in active growth, you can put them to sleep. Bring them into a cool, dark place and they'll get the message. Their leaves will gradually yellow and drop. Herbaceous plants can be cut back to 6". Woody tropical shrubs should not be cut back until early spring (unless you need to do so in order to fit them into the house!). Keep these plants in a cool (40 to 45 degrees F), dark (or very low light) place such as the basement. Water sparingly. Revive them with water, sun and fertilizer in early spring, allowing for about a month of indoor growing time before the weather is warm and settled.

Lily of the Nile blooms best when it is slightly potbound, so don't be in a hurry to report yours.

Best wishes with your Queen Anne!

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