Although I did bring some plants in before the first frost was forecast a few weeks ago, I left many out there until much colder weather was coming. With the temperature not going above freezing for a couple of days (it's 16ºF / -9ºC this morning) I finally had to act.
With not only dozens of potted plants to get indoors but tropicals to dig and/or prepare for the coming cold there was so much to do. Luckily I looked at the forecast early so I had three days to spread the work over. This unidentified agave was one of the more difficult ones to move into the garage. Looks great out in the leafy yard, doesn't it?
The Agave 'Arizona Star' put on a lot of size after being put into a bigger pot this year...
...so it's become the second hardest plant to move (and store).
This one (labeled as Agave parrasana 'Globe') never did well for me:
Its pups that were potted up did exactly the same thing. This one went onto the compost pile.
The last large plant that came indoors untouched is this Ruellia:
I usually chop these to the soil line for easier storage, but this one is loaded with flower buds and I wonder if it might not make a decent houseplant for a couple of months at least?
This is what I did to most of the big plants (like this Strelitzia) -- pruned them hard!
The leaves had quite a bit of freeze damage so I didn't hesitate to reduce it from its 10' height down to 3' or so.
That ribbon bush (Homalocladium platycladium) got a severe pruning too. I left it unpruned last year and much of the foliage died -- I think from too little water in the garage -- so this year I reduced it. Easier to cram in there too.
This umbrella palm (wait, is that the name?) is quite hardy, but way too big.
It's still in a big pot though, and big pots take up lots of floor space. I'm not sure if you can see it here, but the plant has grown in clumps which appear to be easy division lines...
...so I dug out four or five clumps and put them into a smaller container. I'll keep them wet all winter like I do the papyrus.
Which reminds me: I'm leaving my largest papyrus pot outside to die in the cold. I'm only overwintering a small division of that plant in a bucket of water. I figure that I can easily buy this again in the spring if needed, as I just don't have the space for another huge pot (what with all the big agaves around now).
I also collected up a couple dozen small pots of succulents, dug up a bulging storage bin full of Colocasia, did the same for canna rhizomes (tubers?), and did my Alocasia pruning:
I've got way too many of these now, and they're all so big! I ended up leaving a couple of smaller ones outside to die which was a bit tough to do, but that's how I'm playing it this year.
Here's a representation of many of the tropicals before "harvest":
Some came indoors, others were left to freeze. (If I saved every scrap every year, I'd soon need to start renting warehouse space over the winter!)
I also mulched over some cannas just to see what happens, but if I lose them it's no big deal.
More to come...