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How-To

Bring It In!

Overwintering tender plants doesn’t need to be difficult

Fine Gardening - Issue 184

Tropical plants are a major part of my home garden. It requires effort to lift them every fall and replant them in spring, but it’s worth it to have a taste of the tropics here in the land of cornfields. Since I do not have a greenhouse, all of my tropicals must either tolerate life as houseplants or go dormant to make it through the winter.

Some questions need to be asked as the frosts of fall approach: What gets dug up? Do I save all the cannas, or just the ones that are hard to find? What can handle a frost? The more frost tolerant a plant is, the later it gets dug up.

To help you decide which plants to save, consider rarity, sentimental attachment, and, of course, beauty. If you question whether you can find it again, or it is pricey, try to save it. You’ll…

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  1. User avater
    user-7515735 11/12/2019

    Thanks for the interesting tips! Can I leave my favorite potted Flowering maple (Abutilon "Victorian Lady") outside in a sheltered spot next to my house in California Zone 9b, or will it die? It has been doing very well in my side yard planted in a large pot all summer and fall, but it can get around 25°F a few times here in the winter. Do you have any recommendations for leaving it outside in the same spot, but sheltering it from the cold and the wind a little?

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