Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 117: Tender Plants Worth Saving

Nearly everyone can grow tropical plants outdoors during the summer months, but when the first frosts are forecasted, gardeners in colder climates know there will be some tough decisions ahead. Which plants will be moved to those coveted spots by a south-facing window for winter? Is it worth the trouble to dig dahlia tubers and overwinter them, or should you just start over from scratch with newer, prettier varieties next year? Should you (once again) convince your significant other to don oven mitts, help you relocate your cherished collection of agaves indoors, and cohabitate with those dangerously spiky beauties until spring? OK, that last question might only be on Danielle’s mind, but tune in to this episode to learn about the many ways our hosts have found to get their favorite tender plants through the coldest months, and why it is worth the effort.

Expert testimony: Chloë Bowers is a professional gardener and landscape designer based in Newtown, Connecticut.

Danielle’s Plants

‘Escargot’ rex begonia
‘Escargot’ rex begonia

‘Escargot’ rex begonia (Begonia ‘Escargot’, Zones 10–11)

‘Cream Spike’ agave
‘Cream Spike’ agave

‘Cream Spike’ agave (Agave ‘Cream Spike’, Zones 8–11)

'Snow Leopard' mangave
‘Snow Leopard’ mangave

‘Snow Leopard’ mangave (Mangave ‘Snow Leopard’, Zones 8–11)

Red Abyssinian banana
Red Abyssinian banana

Red Abyssinian banana (Ensete maurelii, Zones 8–10)


Carol’s Plants

‘Oxford Blue’ gentian sage
‘Oxford Blue’ gentian sage

‘Oxford Blue’ gentian sage (Salvia patens ‘Oxford Blue’, Zones 8–10)

Variegated peperomia
Variegated peperomia

Variegated peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Variegata’, Zones 10–11)

‘Doodlebug’ dahlia
‘Doodlebug’ dahlia

‘Doodlebug’ dahlia (Dahlia ‘Doodlebug’, Zones 8–11)

‘Coffee Cups’ elephant's ear
‘Coffee Cups’ elephant’s ear

‘Coffee Cups’ elephant’s ear (Colocasia esculenta ‘Coffee Cups’, Zones 8–11)


Expert’s Plants

West Indian lemongrass
West Indian lemongrass

West Indian lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus, Zones 9–13)

Rosemary, with sweet myrtle and bay laurel (Photo: Chloë Bowers)
Rosemary, with sweet myrtle and bay laurel. Photo: Chloë Bowers

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus, Zones 7–10)

Malabar spinach (Photo: Chloë Bowers)
Malabar spinach. Photo: Chloë Bowers

Malabar spinach (Basella alba, Zones 9b–11)

Mexican sour gherkin (Photo: Courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds)
Mexican sour gherkin. Photo: courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Mexican sour gherkin (Melothria scabra, Zones 9–11)

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