Friday, August 17, 2018

Bringing the outdoor garden inside for the fall and winter by Gayle Plummer

No one wants to use the word “winter” at this point in time. However, as this month will go screaming by us, we will soon find ourselves in the middle of September. Now is the best time to eyeball your garden plants to figure out which ones you may want to bring in. Bringing in a few helps to make the house cheery in fall/winter; not to mention boosting our spirits by having something blooming inside all winter.

For any who truly love their gardens, you already know about the boost a blossoming plant can give when you have a few inside during the gray days of winter. Also, for those of us who enjoy the gardening process itself – this allows us to trim, feed and fuss over our plants over the long winter; no bugs, no heat, no sunburns.

So, now while you are deadheading and weeding for the last time you may want to pre-plan which plant(s) you’d like to have inside. Maybe you’ve completely enjoyed that coleus this summer. Trim/shape it back now to give it a nice size and let it adjust to the trimming before putting it into a pot to bring in.

Be sure to keep it watered well so it won’t be under any stress when you dig it up to re-pot it. Another word about trimming and shaping: Size. Since most houses can only tolerate small to medium size pots, you may want to trim your plant back quite a lot now. This will thicken it up and stop it from becoming too leggy and droopy looking. You can do this a time or two during the winter as well – to keep it looking smart and to stimulate more growth and blossoms.

Be sure to water it well and often once brought inside, as our heated houses tend to dry plants quickly. Also you’ll want to feed the plants at least two or three times during the fall/winter to get all the blooms you can. following is the method that has worked well for me when bringing plants inside: Be sure to transplant your choices into their pots in September and no later. Then leave them outside where you can see them and remember to water them often. By leaving them outside for a few weeks during fall there is little (if any) shock to the plant. I like to keep my new transplants quite moist while they adjust to being back in a pot. Bring them inside while the weather is still warm enough to have house windows open, as they are still getting the outside air. This also keeps them from suffering any shock from being brought in and it makes for a nice, easy transition from outside to inside for them.

I am listing a few here that have typically done very well for me when approaching the transplanting this way. I won’t say that I have 100 percent success 100 percent of the time.  However, about 90-95 percent of the time I get to enjoy my plants all winter and sometimes I have even re-planted a few back outside in the spring. 
My very favorite to bring in are snapdragons, I have a high success rate with them. Also, the coleus plants do well; they will need trimming in winter to keep a nice shape. Put the trimmings in water to root out for more! I have even done lavender plants (trim them back fairly hard now and they will do well in a sunny window all winter). Other good choices are the shorter zinnias, petunias (with the smaller sized blossoms), and most any of the herbs. And of course the geraniums do very well. I usually bring in all of the geraniums, put them in a nice sunny window and enjoy. Geraniums do like to have their yellow leaves snipped off and keep them deadheaded to get maximum flower blossoms. 

By February cut them back a bit, don’t feed them and let them rest until mid-March, then feed them and they’re ready to go again. 

Enjoy your indoor gardens.

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