Rose from Prairie Rose's Garden asked me if I'd do a post on overwintering annuals. I'm happy to oblige Rose! Last year was the first time I did it. I'm glad to share what I learned. In order to keep this post from becoming too long, I'll break it into three parts. This one will be background on why I unintentionally ended up becoming a winter gardener during the freezing winters of zone 5a. The second and third parts will be what I do with my plants and how I do it.
When I was a kid and even as a young adult, I had lots of houseplants. I loved experimenting with propagation, and shared and traded many babies. Once I had my own home and a garden of my own, I lost interest in houseplants. I gardened outside so extensively, I looked forward to and enjoyed the winter break from caring for plants and gradually got rid of most of my houseplants.
Until moving here I was never big on container planting. One Christmas my husband signed me up for a plant-of-the-month club. A few of the plants I received were tender in our climate, such as gardenia, hibiscus, and calla lilies. I kept them inside the first winter, then put them out on the patio for the summer.Since the garden here is fairly large and was virtually unplanted when I moved in, I decided to go for some annuals in containers as a way to add some instant, cheap color, although I'd never been 'into' annuals before. In the quantities and sizes I purchased them, it became expensive. After being 'downsized' out of my corporate job a couple of years ago and not going immediately back into the workforce, I decided to slash my annuals budget.
Working part-time at a nursery for the first time last year, I found and purchased tender plant temptations at every turn. By the end of the season I was thinking about indoor gardening again for the first time in many years. I decided to overwinter as many of my tender plants as possible.
In the next two posts in the series I'll talk about how and what I overwintered and what I learned doing this for the first time last winter.