The Q&A Archives: Overwintering Perennials in Window Boxes in Zone 4 (WI)

Question: I would like your opnion on my idea of planting window boxes with perennials. I have two large window boxes, 5 feet long x 14 inches wide x 12 inches deep. I would like to try planting them with perennials this year and my main concern is that the plants survive each winter. I am in planting zone 4. We have very cold winters and I realize that an early thaw and then refreeze could harm the plants. Would you know if the dimensions of my window boxes are large enough to prevent early thawing? Would covering the tops with branches or other material help prevent a thaw? The boxes face east and with their position on the house, they are only in the sun mornings. And finally, can you think of any other pitfalls with this idea? Cindy Eagon Stevens Point, WI

Answer: You'll have a hard time overwintering your perennial plants in window boxes. The best bet would be to take down the boxes in fall and store them in an unheated garage or cellar. That way they should get their winter chilling and survive the cold. Outside, even protected, they will not survive the Wisconsin winters.

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