I go back and forth on overwintering tropicals and summer bulbs. Last year was an up year. I planted a bunch of cannas, elephant ears, dahlias, and banana plants in a new bed over at my mother in law’s. The tropicals plus a number of tasteless, gaudy, bright annuals were all right up my alley.
A little bit of tropicalismo in my Pennsylvania garden
The annuals were all seed grown and the tropicals were all little bits and sprigs that I keep over from year to year. I overwinter the lazy way and some are ok with that while others…..
In short, the good gardener will check up on them around early February, add water to the dry ones, remove the rotted ones, air out the damp ones, just give them a general once over to carry them through the rest of the winter. If you are not of the good gardener type you can still save most of your tropicals if you check on them around March 13th and give them a once over. I think the yellow, crispy asparagus ferns may still pull through, now that they got a bit of water.
Tropicals hiding from the cold
The aloes and jade plant snuggled up against the dim (slightly heated) garage window are troopers and don’t need a drop all winter.
These are the bulbs and roots and tubers that I threw into bags and buckets. I’m hoping for the best, but it’s tricky to walk the line between keeping them dry and cool enough to keep them dormant vs everything else that could go wrong. Too wet, they rot. Too dry, they crisp. Too warm, they sprout. Too cold, they freeze……
The ugly truth of my overwintering process
I guess I do just kinda throw them in a pile and hope for the best. To do otherwise would go against my natural laziness.
Here are a few bigger pots, just rolled into the garage and allowed to go dry. You wouldn’t think it but many tropicals will just “hang out” in the dim, cool garage until spring (I did throw some water on these about a month ago). The only one giving real problems is the fig which decided to sprout once it got water. I really should have left that one outside.
Geraniums….. probably shouldn’t have bothered.
I won’t make you look at the coleus cuttings. They’ve been in water on the windowsill since October and look worse than the geraniums. In a week or so I’ll pot them up, take some geraniums cuttings and see what we can do with them. It should have been done now, but I’m always running a day late and a dollar short.