"Team Overwinter" or "Team Buy New"

By Trish
December 21, 2013

As the first day of winter has officially arrived, annuals have been put away for the year. Let's talk about how you treat these tender plants in your garden.

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Dec 20, 2013 8:27 PM CST
Thread OP
Name: Linda
Tucson, Arizona
Morning Glories Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Amaryllis Hummingbirder
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I start taking cuttings of my Coleus in the warm fall which I root in water then transplant into small pots that I move inside and keep under grow lights or in bright windows till spring. It worked well for me last year. Smiling I do the same thing with red-leaf hibiscus.
" And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden" Genesis 2:8
Dec 21, 2013 2:03 AM CST
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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Most of my annuals either live through the winter (portulaca, edging lobelia, and some of the impatiens) or reseed like crazy (alyssum, nigella, calendula, clarkia, forget-me-nots, poppies, and others), so I don't have to buy very many new ones each year.

I do overwinter some tender perennials that might be regarded as annuals in other zones. Shortly before the first frost in late November, I bring all of my hibiscuses, plumerias, mandevillas, clivias, kalanchoes, and pelargoniums into the solarium for the winter. I grow them all in containers, so it's time-consuming, but it's not as labor-intensive as it would be if I planted them in the ground.
Dec 21, 2013 10:18 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL @--`--,----- ๐ŸŒน (Zone 8b)
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For any tender perennials I've managed to acquire, if it's destined to be killed by winter, I'm taking cuttings or pulling the roots up to add to a pot coming inside. Since abandoning the notion that each plant needs its' own pot, filling pots to capacity allows for infinitely more plants in the same pot-space. This winter, there are about 100 less pots, but at least 150 more kinds of plants, and determining the number of individuals would be impossible. This summer I cut/poked holes in the sides of about 40 hanging pots and it will be a couple years until they are all full of individual plants.

A group of crammed pots:
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Trying to use every bit of space a pot has to offer, from surface to side.
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I also use winter to do cuttings of hardy perennials. Brugmansia can survive just fine outside for winter, but everything above ground is lost. The thought of every lovely branch succumbing to that is too much for me. Here's a pot with a beautiful thick piece, surrounded by about a dozen cuttings of Rex Begonia vine, which can't survive winter here even at the roots (from what I read.) If that was something I've ever seen before (which I haven't besides this spring when I bought this one,) the concern over saving it might not be so much, but I paid $15 for this one plant, which is at the very upper end for me for one plant that's neither a house plant or hardy perennial. While I was doing this, I thought, this is a good place for the little pot of Tradescantias I'd just gotten, so they went in too. In the spring, I'm going to put this whole thing in the ground near our dog house. The vine can go all over the dog house, the Brug will provide a lot of shade, and the Trad will be a nice ground cover at the base.
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Plants don't have to be appropriate bedfellows to winter together in a pot since the light I have available is pretty much the same except right by the windows. Anything not in a spot like that might as well cram together in as few pots as possible. Everything gets repotted in spring anyway, rearrangements for particular preferences while outside for 8-9 months will be made at that time, most stuff put back in the ground for summer vacation!
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Wax Begonia with cuttings of Peperomia and Portulaca:
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I'm fully involved on both teams! This team ("Blurred Lines!") is where my heart beats faster though. When the successes go back outside in the spring, it's so cool, and way beyond what my budget could provide for an 'annual display.' I think of what I do as blurred lines because I usually only buy tender perennials, not true annuals (which can't be saved regardless of anyone's skill, conditions, luck) and because I've been using a lot of what most people would call house plants as ground plants since it's warm enough for them to be out that way for most of the year. Why should Coleus have all of THAT fun?! This coming summer, I intend to do a LOT more with putting my potted plants in the ground. These Sans multiplied so much, I ended up sharing the extras with almost a dozen people this year!
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Avatar for sewNsow
Dec 21, 2013 2:02 PM CST

Garden Ideas: Level 1
Oh,definitely team overwinter! I have a greenhouse full of tender perennials I save as stock plants.Wave Petunias I keep cut short until Feb when I'll let them grow in order to take cuttings.Angelonia,I let it grow a bit because it is not a bug magnet & it adds pretty blue flowers to the scene.Pennisetum grass,a couple varieties,which will afford as many divisions as I want.My kitty loves to chew on it.Probably 3 dozen different coleus,Geraniums,which I let bloom some ,but mostly keep for cuttings.Helichrysum(chartreuse),Bacopa,Black & Blue Salvia,Yellow & rose purslane,Mahogany Giant Hibiscus for cuttings,Begonias,Vinca vines,Gree n& Cream Plectranthus(Iboza),2 varieties Iresine(bloodleaf) ], Centaurea Colchester White,a vegetatively propagated Dusty Miller(hard to find & beautiful with blue flowers )& Fuchsia.Cannas,Dahlias,Elephant Ears in the basement.All these & I still start seeds & haunt garden centers because it is a rite of spring! But,I'm cutting down. sewNsow
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Dec 21, 2013 9:27 PM CST
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
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I'm terrible about watering plants inside, all of my potted plants have to be pretty tough to survive living in my house! Add in the fact that most of our windows have overhangs that don't allow much sunlight in and overwintering inside isn't a viable solution for most tender perennials. I did find a way to keep some special (to me, anyway) plants, though. I really love Salvia Black and Blue but it's an annual here in Colorado. After doing some research I came across a method that allows me to keep it semi-alive through the winter. After a couple of frosts when all of the plant above ground is dead but before the ground freezes, I dig up the salvia and remove most of the dirt. I wrap the roots in damp newspaper and put them in a plastic shopping bag and knot it loosely. I hang the bags against an outer wall in my garage, just have to check them once or twice during the winter to make sure they don't dry out completely. They get planted out with the rest of the annuals in the spring, no worse for their winter treatment, and the plants are huge compared to the tiny seedlings I would've bought if I had to replace them.
Dec 21, 2013 9:45 PM CST
Kentucky ๐Ÿ˜” (Zone 6a)
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Whatda you think?!?

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In any given span of time I spend WAY more of dirt fert water and heat than plants, this year I barely broke $200 in plants, sold about $1200, payed well over $2000 for musc supplies...
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Avatar for RosemaryK
Dec 22, 2013 9:11 AM CST

Dog Lover
I'm firmly in team "start over" for most annuals, but I think I will try to bring in salvia black and blue next year. It's all I can do to get the citrus, hibiscus and other tropicals back inside in their pots, but the taro and caladiums do get another chance in their box of peat downstairs.
Dec 22, 2013 10:08 AM CST
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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Dec 22, 2013 10:09 AM CST
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
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I brought in a double impatiens, but it is not looking so happy. Also I dug up one brug, 'Charles Grimaldi'. I have yet to dig up the colocasia, though it is covered. It looks as though it is still alive...

I don't usually save many things as my indoor space is limited, but if I invest a lot of money on a tropical, I will bring it in. Oh yeah, a couple of white callas. I don't usually bring those in either, but I hear that the white ones are not as hardy. I think I will dig up the other callas next year, as they do not usually have time to bloom. If I bring them out of dormancy inside earlier than our cold spring, they will get a head start and give a lot more blooms.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Dec 22, 2013 11:03 AM CST
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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I'm definitely on both teams. We are sort of upside-down here in Florida as we grow annuals in winter for color, and they tend to peter out as soon as the nights get warm and the humidity returns. But I do take cuttings of anything I am particularly fond of, in the way of tender perennials (those that are generally used as annuals up north) because sometimes the same varieties are not offered the next year. Petunias actually do well from cuttings here, if I keep them in the shade and water sparingly through the muggy summers. They will jump up once the fall weather comes.

If cold weather threatens, and we do get occasional frosts even this far south, I take cuttings of any of my tender perennials like brugmansias, coleus and cane begonias. I don't have a greenhouse (hey, I live in a state-sized greenhouse most of the year) so I just bring the cuttings in through the cold nights, and start fresh plants once the weather stabilizes, usually in late February.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Dec 22, 2013 11:09 AM CST
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Voted for 'Team Overwinter' but I go beyond that. Not only do I overwinter my own plants but also pick up the plants discarded by others if there is a sign of life left. Some of my best loved plants that I now share with others were once someone's trashed plant.

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Dec 23, 2013 11:20 AM CST
Kentucky ๐Ÿ˜” (Zone 6a)
Cactus and Succulents Region: Kentucky Moon Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Tropicals Plant Identifier
Garden Ideas: Level 1
Craiglist is great for getting free plants at the end of the season.
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Dec 23, 2013 12:09 PM CST

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My favorite plant to overwinter is tropical hibiscus! Smiling
Dec 23, 2013 7:57 PM CST
Name: Susie
Leonard, Minnesota (Zone 3b)
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Region: Minnesota Native Plants and Wildflowers Peonies Sedums Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
I take cuttings from all my geraniums and coleus and a few other "special" plants and then buy a few new variety annuals in the spring. I start the rest from seed, so I guess I'm a little of team buy new but mostly team overwinter.
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