I have a problem which is common to many gardeners....I see a plant I like and I want to find a way to acquire it for my garden somehow. Not just perennials that are easily grown in my Zone 5B garden, but unusual annuals and tender perennials that don't last through the winter here. And since I'm also gardening on a limited budget, I can't afford to buy these plants spring after spring. I was doomed when I started reading about how to overwinter tender plants. Hooked...captivated....addicted....obsessed. It started with Coleus cuttings which are pretty easy to get going in late summer or early fall. How could I give up these beauties?
Here's a shot of some of the Coleus varieties I'm caring for this winter.
Unfortunately, my infatuation with Coleus was only the beginning of the overwintering frenzy. I also keep my Fuschia 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt' plants indoors by cutting them back to just a few leaves and misting and watering lightly. Here's a Fuschia from last year hanging out with a Coleus of unknown variety.
Many geraniums are also easy to overwinter like this Geranium 'Vancouver Centennial'. I cut mine back and stick it under the lights in the basement because I don't have lots of sunny upstairs windows.
This year I also have cuttings of Alternathera 'Red Threads', Euphorbia 'Flame Leaf' and Euphorbia cotinifolia (Tropical SMokebush) under lights and waiting for spring, but my large Tropical Smokebush is hiding in an upstairs closet. I water it lightly once a month and it's leafless at the moment. Here's what it looks like after it leafs out in spring:
Then there are the various plants resting quietly in boxes in the dark crawlspace in our basement: Colocasia 'Black Magic' and 'Pink China', Oxalis 'Charmed Wine' and Begonia boiviiensis. And the paper bags of Caladium and Begonia bulbs. In our garage, what's left of the Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' (Zone 7) sits in a pot waiting for warmer weather to come. I've successfully overwintered this once before this way so we'll see. Here it is in it's summer glory:
I love tending (or ignoring in some cases) all of these wonderful plants while we wait for spring to come. They make the winter days indoors easier to enjoy and help me to anticipate the beauties of the new gardening season. Make plans to acquire some plants this spring that you can overwinter in the fall. I'm already imagining my new Brugmansia and the cuttings I can overwinter in 2015.
I'm a gardener, garden coach, bird watcher and nature lover. There's nothing better than being outdoors and experiencing the beauty firsthand. I also love being able to help other people notice and enjoy the intricacies of the natural world in all it's glory.