Ask a Question forum: Overwintering Tender Perennials

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Name: Deb

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Windigo
Oct 15, 2014 7:09 AM CST
I have a gorgeous Abutilon that I would like to overwinter indoors. It is currently in a pot that is bigger than what it needs, because I have annuals planted along with it. Can I repot it into a smaller pot, or will that upset it? How do I determine the size I need? It's approx 2 ft tall, and almost as wide.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Oct 15, 2014 7:25 AM CST
Yes you can. I always cut mine down to about 3 inches from the soil line, trim the roots and repot for the winter. They do just fine. I also root a few cuttings for 'insurance'. I've been doing this for years now and they respond well to this treatment. The spend the winter in a greenhouse where the heat goes on at 40 degrees.

The only Abutilon that doesn't doesn't come back nice and bushy is the A. megapotamicum, but it's hardy in my zone so it stays outside.
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Oct 15, 2014 10:42 AM CST
Oh, that's good to know, Anne. I need to trim mine. Maybe I'll try a couple of cuttings, too. Glad you asked, Deb. Smiling
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Name: Deb

Charter ATP Member Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Dog Lover Region: Illinois
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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Windigo
Oct 15, 2014 11:28 AM CST
Thanks so much for the info, Anne. So, if I trim it down to about 3" it's just going to look like a stick with roots, do I want to trim it that much?
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
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Xeramtheum
Oct 15, 2014 11:43 AM CST
If you're wanting it to be blooming and looking like a plant during winter, then trim down as much as you need to for that scenario .. If you're looking to have it go somewhat dormant then go shorter. But whatever you do, always root cuttings for insurance when you cut back a plant in a pot.

For all the plants I cut down like that for winter, I trim the roots about as much as I trim the top part .. as in, cut the plant down by a half then trim the roots by a half etc.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
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Xeramtheum
Oct 15, 2014 12:47 PM CST
Since I had some abutilon that needed the 'winter' treatment I took some pictures .. please keep in mind that these plants are in a "holding pattern" meaning I'm just keeping them going from year to year until I'm ready to use them so they don't really look so hot. These 2 have been on 'hold' for 3 years now going on 4. When I am ready for them I'll pay more attention to them and get them looking better.

Here are the two victims uh ... candidates

Thumb of 2014-10-15/Xeramtheum/2390e0

Here is a close up before I cut them back .. you can see where last years cuts were and this years growth. The 2nd stem in one pot on the right was a cutting I rooted.

Thumb of 2014-10-15/Xeramtheum/482358

In this picture you can see how far I've cut them back and how big the root ball is

Thumb of 2014-10-15/Xeramtheum/d974d4

After cutting the root balls using my beloved bread knife.

Thumb of 2014-10-15/Xeramtheum/3b3c01

Potted back up in the same pots they were in .. I reused the soil I cut away from the root balls and stuck the cuttings in the newly potted plants.

Thumb of 2014-10-15/Xeramtheum/757979

It's kinda scary the first time you do something like this to a plant. I also do this to plants that have outgrown their pots but don't want to put them in a bigger pot.
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[Last edited by Xeramtheum - Oct 15, 2014 12:48 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb

Charter ATP Member Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Dog Lover Region: Illinois
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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Windigo
Oct 16, 2014 6:14 AM CST
Thank you so much, Anne. The pictures are great and really clarify the how to.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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Xeramtheum
Oct 16, 2014 8:06 AM CST
You're welcome!
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

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