Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 5
   October 2010
   Winterizing Containers and Their Plants

  Tender plants
  Tender plants such as herbs should be brought indoors for the winter.
As a precaution against pest infestation, mix 2-1/2 tablespoons (37 ml) of dish detergent in 1 gallon (3.8 l) of water. Drench the soil with the solution, allowing it to run out the drain holes. Fill a spray bottle with the solution and spray both sides of the leaves. (Alternatively, immerse the plant in the soapy solution for five minutes and remove any insects that come to the surface.) Wait 10 to 15 minutes and mist the treated leaves with cool water to remove soap scum. Drench the soil again with fresh water and move the pot inside as soon as it has stopped draining.
7. If you plan on relocating outdoor container plants inside, you must take precautions to gently introduce them to their new winter homes. Wean your plant from the outdoor environment by bringing it in during the day and leaving it out at night for 10 days before relocating it.
8. Place newly relocated containers in indoor areas with adequate lighting for each specific plant. Follow a regular watering and fertilizing schedule. Note that indoor plants don't need as much water.
9. It can be difficult to bring large tropical plants in containers indoors due to inadequate lighting and lack of space. Research garden centers in your area for those that overwinter large tropical plants. They will often pick up, prune and fertilize the plant while it's kept in a greenhouse.

Container gardening is a wonderful way to display plants and dress up a home's exterior. Preparing these plants and their containers for winter ensures they will last for many years.

Ron Rossini
Master Gardener

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