Bringing Plants Inside for the Winter, Washing Your Plants


Photo Credit: Judith Cox

Greetings fellow gardeners, 

It is time to decide what to bring inside and what to take to the compost. Even though my space is limited, I decided to bring a few of my annuals inside. As my fellow Master Gardener Mary Reid mentioned at her talk the other day, many of these annuals are perennials, just not here.

Rooting Coleus over Winter

A while back, I took slips from my glorious coleus, and they are doing well. It is a tender perennial in Zone 10. I have not had much luck bringing coleus plants inside, but if I can root these slips, then I can get some plants established for the spring. 

Washing Your Plants When you Bring Them Inside

If you are bringing plants inside, please be mindful of what might be coming inside with them. I decided to follow Mary Reid’s advice and give my plants a bath. I filled my laundry tub with warm water (not hot) and a small squirt of soap. I used a mild soap like Ivory. I set the plant in the soapy water all the way over its soil line for about 15 minutes. I carefully drained the water and refilled the tub with clear, warm water. Remember that plants do not want soap left on their roots or leaves, as they need to breathe. I left the pot in the clear water for another 15 minutes. The plants are thoroughly soaked now, so they will not need to be watered for some time. I will use my finger to check that the soil is completely dry before I water.

Along with my pink geraniums (pelegoriums), which are perennial but only in zone 10, I have my fuchsia. When I found my fuchsia, Blue Angel, this spring, I fell in love with it. I loved the unusual flower, and it has been stunning all season. I gave it a bath as I had with the geraniums and hung it up to hibernate. It is a perennial in Zone 10 like the others. Now I have a small cheery spot near my basement window to hopefully keep alive until the spring and keep away from the too-many cats.

Collecting and emptying pots is going to take a very long time, and I am going at it slowly and carefully. As I start to empty pots and put things away, I find it a good time to reflect on what I want to do in my garden for next year.  I also have a pocket full of envelopes so that when I am emptying pots, I can collect seeds as well. Planning can be a very positive experience as long as you do not put pressure on yourself. If you take small steps, you will get there. I am continuing to work on my garden journal and to make notes in its margins. 

I was able to get the tarp up on one side of the chicken compound. It became clear that I shall have to ask for help with this. Perhaps I am a wee bit stubborn. Enjoy your week. Judith 

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