The Q&A Archives: Overwintering annuals

Question: I live between zones 5/6 and would like to know if I can bring indoors and overwinter the following annuals:
Bacopa, sweet potato vine, lantana, vinca vine, impatiens, minature rose, geraniums (actually pela... whatevers), Elephants Ear, fuschia, coprosma.

Answer: You have quite an assortment of plants and some can be successfully wintered over. Annual plants are those that complete their lifecycle in one growing season. After they flower, they set seed and die. Taking them in out of the cold weather won't keep them growing strong because they will have come to the end of their lifecycles. Of the plants you have, you can keep Bacopa (Water hyssop) over by keeping it partially submerged in an aquarium. Lantana is a sun-loving plant and may develop powdery mildew indoors, but you can try to winter it over by giving it good air circulation and placing it under flourescent lights. It may or may not continue blooming, but keep the lights on 14-16 hours per day. If you detect new growth, feed it lightly with a diluted liquid fertilizer. Vinca is a perennial and will be happy indoors without special care if you keep it next to a sunny window. Minature roses will set on a sunny window sill all winter and may even bloom for you. Geraniums (Pelargoniums) can be kept indoors in a sunny window, as well. Let the soil dry out between waterings to keep the plant healthy. If you don't have a sunny window sill, place both these plants under artificial light next to the lantana. Fuschia's will winter over indoors but won't bloom until spring. They're shade-loving plants so artificial light isn't necessary, but could be beneficial to them. Elephant's Ear is a perennial plant that grows quite readily indoors. Keep the soil moist and feed every three weeks with diluted liquid fertilizer. It can go in a bright corner or under artificial lights. The other plants you mentioned are annuals. Coprosma is a shrubby plant that needs full sunshine, so it may not make a good candidate for your indoor garden. It's relatively hardy so you might want to put it in a protected area of the garden over the winter months. Hope this information helps!

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