It happens to the best of us. Winter approaches and we still haven’t found a spot in the garden for that special lavender we picked up over the summer or that hardy geranium that we dug up in the autumn.
For those of you who still have perennials sitting about in plastic nursery pots, Tony B. is here with some great tips for overwintering those special plants that you wouldn’t like to
Once the temperatures are freezing outside during the day, you’ll want to start bringing your perennials inside at night. Just like folks used to put their empty milk bottles outside at night and bring the full ones in in the morning, you need that type of routine to do your best winterizing.
There is a little prep you need to do before starting this new routine. Firstly, weed your plants.Get rid of any little sprouts that have popped up.
Then mulch your plant. When you top dress your perennials in pots, you’re giving them a little extra warmth to help make it through the winter.
Generally you would use Gardener and Bloome’s Soil Building Compost, a nice woody neutral mulch. But if you have a plant that seems to need a little extra nutrients, you can use Harvest Supreme. Keep in mind that you don’t want to add too much nitrogen to your plant, or it could mold over the winter, especially when placed in an area that’s not well-ventilated.
Now that you’ve mulched your plant, you’ll want to do a little trimming. Trim away the second or third year growth, as well as things you didn’t like about the plant. Just a little bit, here or there.
Using the example of the lavender plant, you don’t want to see old lavender flowers. Trim to a couple of nodes below the flower.
This way your plant will be using less energy and more can be focused downward to the crown or the roots.
Next, let’s talk blankets. Plastic pots are thin-walled and not one’s first choice when it comes to overwintering. Nonetheless, if you wrap it up, that will help increase the temperature greatly. You can use an old towel or bubble wrap or even burlap. Wrap a couple layers around your pot for extra warmth through the winter.
Lastly, there’s water. Toni says don’t put your perennials away dry. Ideally you would leave them outside through the rains of October. They should be damp. And although you won’t water very often, although he suggests you be conservative with your watering, don’t be stingy. Don’t allow your perennials to go bone dry. Even in a dormant state, they do need some water. Just as they would get if they were planted outside.
Now that your perennials are prepped, there is one last thing to keep in mind. Light! If you’re keeping your perennials in an area where there is little light, such as a windowless garage, be sure to put them outside on sunny days.
Going back to the example of lavender, a lavender plant that has no sunlight for three months will be sure to die. Even though there is little foliage on your plants, they still need light. So do give it to them!
We hope this helps you overwinter your perennials successfully this winter. As always, give us a call at the store with any questions you may have.