My updated overwintering strategy, part 1

As I've mentioned before, I have a new strategy for overwintering this year. Well, perhaps "attitude" is a better word than "strategy", but it's a change nonetheless. The mild autumn we've had probably has something to do with it too, as does my busy schedule.

I always break up my not cold-hardy plants into two groups each autumn: those that cannot survive the dip below 32ºF (0ºC), and those that won't suffer until the temperature gets below 25ºF (-4ºC) or so. Usually I play it safe with the cactus and other succulents, but this year I'm pushing things.


A couple of weeks ago was the first dip below freezing, and several plants came indoors. They're just hanging out in the dark part of the basement right now, as the overwintering area is not quite ready for them.

Plus these guys are pretty big -- my intent is for many of them to become houseplants, living in front of the windows upstairs. I don't usually do this, but the plumeria is in front of the window...

... and I wonder if the flower bud will be able to form?

I doubt it. (I can't focus either!)

The pachypodium has taken its place where it might get a little light:

The leaves are just too close to the ceiling though -- they'll drop pretty soon. We don't use those recessed lights too much, and I don't think it's worth the energy just to keep the plant photosynthesizing a little bit longer.

Reflected sunlight helps!

A couple of the agaves came into the garage, but most of the others stayed outside; quick Googling while rounding plants up showed that most of them will be fine down to 15ºF (-9ºC) at least.

For plants that I had several of, like some opuntia or elephant bush (Portulacaria afra), I brought one inside and left the others out there -- it's good to learn if some of these can move into group 2.

The begonias add life to this storage area, but I'll have to move them upstairs soon

Right now though, time is up. The colocasia, alocasia, musa, canna, and other tropicals are out of time. Their leaves are already fried, but the important parts are still fine -- 27ºF (-3ºC) for a night or two doesn't hurt the thick parts -- but with a couple of days where the temperature won't get above freezing coming later this week, it's time to dig everything up.

But that's for another post.

Since I didn't state things as clearly as I had hoped today, here's a summary of my philosophy this year: 1) delay 2) experiment 3) houseplants 4) hope for mild temps to continue.


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Salty Pumpkin Studio  – (December 6, 2016 at 10:43 AM)  

Have you thought of building a green house or conservatory for the plants?

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (December 6, 2016 at 11:01 AM)  

The older I get, the less inclined I am to pamper plants. So my strategy is #4) hope.

danger garden  – (December 6, 2016 at 11:26 AM)  

Tomorrow night we're getting our first frost along with a significant chance of an ice storm to go along with. Ugh.

outlawgardener  – (December 7, 2016 at 5:02 PM)  

Strategy #4 sounds like a good one. I The greenhouse you'll eventually design and build will be something very special!

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