Wintering a Container Garden

I live on the 11th floor of an apartment tower facing Lake Erie (North) but we get an incredible amount of sun. Last year I had a fabulous container garden. I know than anything in terra cotta must be brought in to avoid cracking. Besides that, what is the best way to winter-over the perennials so that they can still get a little water? We get snow on the balcony about 4 times during the winter.

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Hardiness Zone: 5b


Barbara from Wickliffe, OH

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March 18, 20090 found this helpful

Hi, Barbara!

The main thing to remember in wintering-over plants is that they need to be dormant, so you need to decrease the amount of warmth, light, and water they get. I put mine on a big metal tray near a window in a cool upstairs room. I water minimally with tepid water about once a week. As the weather begins to warm, they can be given more water; usually at this time they will start putting out new growth. As soon as the threat of frost (or wind chill) is past, you can put them back out on the balcony. This is the time to pinch them back a little to keep them from being 'leggy.' As soon as they really start to grow, you can begin fertilizing them (I use a dilute mixture of fertilizer and water once a week). Remember that container plants dry out faster than plants in the ground.

Good luck,

Nancy in NC

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