As the days get shorter it is now time to start thinking about what we need to do to over-winter our plants. While your plants have enjoyed being outside this summer they need to come in before the temperatures dip below 50 degrees.
The proper way to handle the transition is to slowly inch their way back inside, from being out in full sun to under a tree or a covered porch. This will give your plant time to acclimate slowly to the changing temperatures.
Houseplants, tropicals, and citrus are the plants that require this method. By transitioning slowly, you will help your plants in a big way. They are less likely to stress out and cause leaves to drop from your treasured plants. Before bringing them inside there are a few things you should do.
- Trim off any dead or unhealthy-looking branches. This helps the plant to direct its energy to all the parts of the plant that need it most.
- Thoroughly hose down your plant by washing off any unwanted hitch-hikers from coming inside with your plant.
- This tip is in my opinion the most important. Apply some systemic to your plant. This will help keep your plant bug-free from the bottom up. I always recommend to my customers that they should always have a spray like a neem oil or safer insect soap for the top part of your plant to kill any bugs you may see. And the systemic for the soil, for bugs you can’t see. Especially important in the over-wintering.
- And lastly, find the perfect spot for your treasured plants to vacation for the rest of the fall and winter months.
- Remember no fertilizing from November to March.
- Watering is important …water the plant as you would normally, remember the roots are at the bottom of that pot so you need to make sure you water the plant enough to ensure the roots can gather up that water. If you only give the plant a little each time it only goes down a few inches in the soil, which is not helping the plant.
Now that covers most plants. But, there is one plant that over-winters very differently.
The fruit-bearing fig tree you will over-winter completely the opposite from those plants we discussed above.
Follow these simple rules.
1)Let the fig tree get hit by the first frost or two.
2) Once the frost has done its job it’s time to take the remainder of the leaves off and trim up your fig tree. You basically want to make your tree look like a stumpy stick figure by trimming the branches way back.
3) next wrap it up loosely in some burlap and place it in a cool dark spot for the winter. Usually, an attached garage or attic works best.
4) Now that your plant is ready for its long winter sleep, you will give it about 1 cup of water every month during this time. It’s enough to keep it alive but not letting it come out of dormancy.
We are always here to help, any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to call or email us.
The wait is over! Our courtyard here at Van Wilgen’s is filled with Lemons, Limes, and Brown Turkey Figs. The amazing smell of citrus fills the room. Growing Your own citrus or figs can be a very rewarding experience. By just providing them with their basic needs you will be able to sit back and reap the rewards.
- Full sun for adequate growth.
- Well-drained slightly acidic soil.
- Water sufficiently so the water is reaching the root ball. Once or twice a week.
- A high temperature of 70 to 85 degrees is ideal, and the low temperature should never go below 50 degrees.
- Remember plants are living organisms, and just like you or I, they need food too. Apply espoma citrus tone once a month from March to November.
- Citrus is a tropical plant and can’t be left out in our zone over the winter. So, don’t hesitate to come in or call us in the fall and we will walk you thru the best way to bring your citrus in for the winter.
- Full sun for adequate growth
- Ph should be between 6.0 and 6.5.
- Water thoroughly once or twice a week as needed.
- Fertilize during the summer months with espoma garden food 5-10-5.
- At the beginning of the season or as soon as you buy the fig you will add approx. a cup to a cup and a half of lime just once for the entire year, this slightly raises the alkalinity of the soil which is what the figs need to thrive.
- Figs are a tropical plant so give us a call in the fall and we will walk you thru overwintering it properly.
There’s nothing like homemade lemonade or lemon tarts made from your very own citrus tree. We love to get pictures and stories from our customers, so at the end of the season send us pictures of your tree and what you have made with your harvest.
Darlene Granese, Greenhouse Manager