Can You Overwinter Tropicals?
Can you overwinter your tropicals? The answer is yes!! If you think about it, what do you have to lose?
Here are a few of my Favorites.
Hibiscus, palms, mandevillas, bougainvillea, elephant ears, and canna lilies. To get started let’s break them down into two different categories. The tree category will be your hibiscus, palms, mandevillas, and bougainvilleas. And your bulb or tuber category, those will be the elephant ears and the canna lilies.
Let’s begin with the tree category since that’s the one I get asked about the most. When the nighttime temperatures are consistently in the mid to lower 40’s it’s time to get them ready to overwinter.
*First hose down the entire plant. *Next spray the plant with insecticidal soap and then add a systemic to the soil. This will help with any bug issues you may have going on with your plants. Now it’s time to choose what method of over-wintering is right for you. There are two different but equally effective ways.
* First is the dormant method. With this choice, you will place your tropical plant in a frost-
free garage, basement, or attic. You will water sparingly every 3 to 5 weeks. This is enough to keep the plant’s roots from drying out. It’s surviving but not thriving. That’s just what dormancy means. This method will also have the plant losing most if not all of its leaves so it takes a little more time to get it going again in the spring.
*The second way is the active growing method. This is my favorite way to over-winter. By using this method, I believe it gives your plant the best chance for a faster start in the spring by allowing the plant to retain most of, if not all of its leaves, so if you have a nice sunny spot in your home this will be the ideal place. Just water and lots of suns are what is needed to keep your plant happy. You might need to water a little more than normal during Jan and Feb, as these are the months when the heat in our homes really starts making the air much drier. So remember when your skin starts getting drier it’s time to up the water for all your plants.
* Now for the tuber category.
This one is pretty simple. For your elephant ears and canna lilies, all you have to do is carefully dig them up without causing damage to the bulbs themselves. Lay all the bulbs out on some newspaper and let dry for a few days. This gets all the moisture out of the bulbs to ensure they won’t rot during storage. Then all you do is place them in a brown paper bag with either peat moss or sawdust and then store them in a cool dark spot for the winter.
With all these overwintering ideas, you may put your tropicals back outside for the year once the treatment of cold weather has passed in the spring. We encourage you to give us a call, we will be happy to walk you through it all.