Like so many other gardeners, I lust after the magazine cover decks and porches pictured overflowing with color. But I've also priced out some of those containers at over $40 each, just to buy the annuals needed to fill them. And that can be ONE container. Since I have over 50 containers to fill each season, I've learned many ways to get a lush look for less.
By frugal millionairess from Wisconsin
I not only overwinter geraniums in the house, but impatients, begonias, several hanging pots which have small viney orange flowers( not sure of there name). I have success with all , some do drop a few leaves, but overal they do well. I live in WA, ( middle area) and the plants stay healthy until a heavy frost, then I bring them in and my house looks like an over grown green house.
Could you tell me any secrets to this. Other than geraniums, things will live but often get bugs, or slowly perish. In addition, I run into the problem of something just barely making it to spring, but in such sad condition it looks a wee bit pathetic when planted out. Would love to hear any suggestions. Thanks. Eileen
My sister overwintered her potted plants in the garage. She lived in Tn and the winters aren't harsh enough to warrant any protection other than keeping frost from falling on their heads. She was right around 80 when she sold her house and went to an apartment. She also discovered that a styrofoam cooler full of dirt was lighter in weight and easier to move than a traditional pot. She transported them in the red wagon she bought for her 30 something grandchildren when they were small.
Thanks Marty D for the suggestions. Eileen
The reason you can winter some annuals and not others is for the fact that not all annuals are true annuals. Many annuals are in fact tender perennials grown as annuals in colder zones.
Here is a list of tender perennials grown as annuals:
Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum)
Scented Geranium (Pelargonium sp.)
African Blue Basil (Ocimum kilimandscharicum x basilicum 'Dark Opal'...the only perennial hybrid basil)
Firecracker Plant (Cuphea ignea)
Bat-faced Cuphea (Cuphea llavea)
Snapdragon (usually survives my zone 6 winters)
Just a tip on over-wintering bedding Geraniums (Zonal). If you grow many and lack space to winter-over as houseplants then the most common way is to winter over bare-root by digging up and shaking off all dirt. Place root side up in a paper bag with some holes punched in and hang on a nail/hook in a dark dry cool place such as your cellar or unheated basement.
Another way is moving container grown plants that have been cut back into the cellar and let go dormant. Bring back up to sunny spot in spring; may require potting up or planting out in garden when it's time to go back outdoors.
If wintering-over as houseplants you will want to prune now and then to encourage full plants. Usually by end of February, my plants have gotten huge and will even start blooming. At this time I normally remove blooms and cut back one last time and use the clippings for cuttings and root in straight moistened perlite. Allow the cutting ends to heal over a day or two before sticking.
Here's a picture of Bolivian Rainbow Pepper this past March 5th beginning to flower again. These are pretty ornamental and look good planted in the flower garden. This year I am also including 'Black Pearl' pepper to over-winter as well as a few cuttings currently rooting. The leaves on this one are highly ornamental dark burgundy almost black...the more sun the better the deep coloration. Peppers are round and black and grown in clusters. By the way my Habanero peppers were 4 years old this year!
Hi, I was forced to cut back my yearly flower purchasing this year. I also bought mixed flats of annuals & put them in my pots, along with perennials & groundcovers from my garden (which started from billowing out of pots in the first place). In some, I added one or 2 accent plants. I had great looking pots. Yahoo! Thanks for your suggestions.
Thank you so much for these tips. I don't have much of a green thumb and this will be so helpful. I have pretty good luck with growing things in the dirt but have problems growing in pots.
Rather than use rocks or styrofoam peanuts in the bottom of larger containers, use small empty water or soda bottles. This makes the plant much easier to move and the bottles serve the same draining purpose as rocks or peanuts.
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