Pacific Northwest Gardening forum: Winter protection?

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Sep 11, 2015 10:33 AM CST
How do you protect plants which are marginally hardy to our area? The ones I would like to over-winter, if possible, are cedronella (8b), lemon verbena (8a), and curry plant (8a). All should be hardy for me, but I've never had much luck carrying them over and end up buying new stock in the spring. Last year I stuck fir twigs around them and filled with leaves. Lost them all. Maybe I need to cut them back hard in the fall so there is less plant exposed? I suppose I could dig them up and put them in the barn for the winter, although I'd likely forget to water them. Any other ideas?



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Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Sep 11, 2015 12:47 PM CST
I wonder if the wet is more harmful than the cold. Can they be planted under an eve of a dry place? Never had any luck over wintering Lemon verbena even in the greenhouse.
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Name: Linda
Bellevue, WA (Zone 8a)
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In2art
Oct 7, 2015 3:14 PM CST
Maybe repeat what you tried last year, with one addition...try covering the soil around them with plastic and mulch with leaves (could also use landscape staples or rocks to hold the plastic down), then add your 'leaf surround' to protect the stems. The winter wet is often even more damaging than the cold. This is what I do for my cannas and bananas (I never dig my cannas).

Hope this helps :-)
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Oct 8, 2015 2:23 PM CST
I have a rhododendron that I cover each fall. It isn't the cold that hurts it but the wind and sun. It would decsicate (sp) if I didn't protect it. I bought a very expensive cover from Lee Valley that was tall enough and had a zipper on it. It isn't terribly tough as I tore the bottom a little when I was trying to free it from the ice but other than that it worked well.
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Name: Kate
Kirkland, WA (Zone 7b)
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Maukahound
Oct 8, 2015 3:54 PM CST
I've had good results most years planting in-ground under the eaves on the protected side of the house. However, you have to pay close attention to moisture needs during the winter. The other way that has worked was to dig up the plant, replant in a large black nursery pot, place that pot inside another pot (or garbage can) surrounded by bark on the sides for insulatory purposes. Site this under the eaves, and protect with a layer of row-cover. Again, the roots need to be kept moist during the winter.
A friend of mine used to wrap her bananas with a blanket then surround with bubble wrap - looked other-worldly, but worked well.
Moisture is the enemy. Sometimes you can avoid crown/root rot by amending the planting hole with pumice or granite chips, particularly around the crown, which I tend to plant slightly above the soil line. The plant may top-kill, but the roots live & the plant rebounds the following spring. Our problem here tends to be freeze/thaw related, splitting the trunk or stems.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Oct 8, 2015 6:34 PM CST
Thanks all. I'll revise my winter protection to focus more on preventing root rot - hopefully that is the key. All the plants in question are supposed to be hardy to my zone, but they sure never are.
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Name: Kate
Kirkland, WA (Zone 7b)
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Maukahound
Oct 9, 2015 11:25 AM CST
Deb,
I don't know of any fellow gardeners that have been successful with overwintering Lemon Verbena, greenhouse or indoors.
She sulked inside the one year, even under my T5 lights...such a Princess, she is!
Have you read anything substantive about this coming winter weather? There seems to be a conflict of opinion between meteorologists.
I'll err on the side of caution, though & try to figure out the best way & best siting for my borderline plants.
It was never an issue on the Sammamish property, as I knew all the micro-climates. Plus, I didn't have to worry about any neighbours viewing my funky but functional shelters.
No room at this current location, but there are some rather extended eaves along the back. Might work well.
I detest losing plants.

Anyone else have success with overwintering borderline plants without a GH?
Name: Daisy
Victoria, BC
daisymv
Jun 11, 2016 11:43 PM CST
I'm supposed to be in zone 7 here in Victoria, BC.

Last winter I put my potted lemon verbena beside the house, north side. It got a little rain in that location, not much. I had cut it back to about 8 inches.

It came back this year. Beginner's luck?

My sister-in-law has her potted lemon verbena on her north-facing deck under a roof, it has come back at least once that I know of. She lives on the mainland and they have similar weather, maybe a little wetter over there.

I guess the slight protection of being beside the house, north-facing and under an overhang helped. And not being too wet in the pot.

Hope you try again, Deb!

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