Ask a Question forum: Overwintering annuals

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Nova Scotia
Oct 5, 2017 7:42 AM CST

I'd like to overwinter some annuals from my pots/garden and not sure how to go about it. I'm in zone 6B and specifically looking to save geraniums and verbena. What are the tips for watering and light?


Name: Sally
central Maryland
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Oct 5, 2017 7:53 AM CST
Geraniums (Pelargonium zonale) are an old favorite for saving. Mostly you'll see advice to let them go dormant. I hope someone has advice, I just wanted to note that even if they 'dry up' they can revive.

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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Oct 5, 2017 9:38 AM CST

Annuals are plants that bloom, go to seed and die, all in one season. So there is no way to save an annual except by collecting seeds.

As Sallyg pointed out, Geraniums are perennial so will still be with you next spring.

The Verbena, on the other hand, is either an annual or a perennial, depending upon what variety you have.
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Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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Oct 5, 2017 9:43 AM CST
I normally just take cuttings of geraniums and keep them over winter in water on a windowsill. I change the water frequently. They normally will bloom all winter and be ready to put out when it warms up.
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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Oct 5, 2017 10:53 AM CST
The sun is so much more weak at higher latitudes, and shines for a much shorter period, per day, so for plants that were in tons of sun, it will be difficult to keep them looking as compact inside where the direct sun can only come from 1 direction for a few hours. But once they can go back out, the new growth from that point should be normal again. Be careful about sunburning plants to a crisp when going back out in the spring. Acclimate gradually to avoid that.

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Nova Scotia
Oct 5, 2017 10:59 AM CST
Thanks to everyone! Much appreciated by a newbie!
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Oct 6, 2017 6:47 AM CST
I'm in 6b too, and i have geraniums in hanging pots. I bring them in and hang them in a sunny east facing window and keep them growing all winter. They do get leggy, but that's okay, I cut them back in the spring and root the cuttings.

My grandmother used to let hers go dormant. She was one zone north of us. She'd dig them up, cut the green parts back to about 1" from the woody stems and store them bare root in a 3 season room (an unheated enclosed porch that never cold enough to freeze). I'm sure she must have done something to make sure they didn't desiccate entirely, but I don't know what process she used, and unfortunately she's no longer with us.. but literally they would just be laying around on the floor in a big jumble, come spring she'd plant them outside and off they went
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Oct 15, 2017 10:45 AM CST
Oh- I forgot to mention, when I bring in my geraniums they tend to go through an adjustment period from full sun all day to an indoor east facing window. I brought them in about a week ago and there are TONS of yellowing leaves that I'm pulling off- this is normal as they adjust to their new location and will soon start putting out new leaves, they'll be smaller and father apart - but don't panic when/if this happens, its normal.
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Oct 15, 2017 10:54 AM CST
You can prune your Geraniums way back after you bring them in. Keep them in a sunny window and water when dry. You will be rewarded with healthy new foliage, although flowers are less likely. It will make a nice foliage plant through the winter. In the spring, you can prune them back again before moving it outside.

This also works for Impatiens and I am sure for others normally treated as annuals.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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