Annual plants can often survive indoors during the harsh winter months — all it takes is a willingness to learn a few simple techniques. If you live in a seasonal area, these are some common plants to overwinter once autumn arrives.
To begin, make sure you have well-draining pots, and treat all plants for pests. Then, follow these tips, and let nature run its course. This budget-friendly approach will keep your favorite annuals going strong for years on end.
Potted roses are great for livening up balconies, decks, and other areas. Unlike their in-ground counterparts, they can't survive the winter in colder climates, as their roots will freeze. Bringing them indoors works well if you give them the environment they need.
The first freeze of the season puts potted roses into dormancy. Once this occurs, remove any remaining leaves, then take them inside. Roses need a chilly place with minimal light. One watering every two weeks is sufficient.
Geraniums are extremely versatile when it comes to their overwintering temperament. They're fine with the same care as a regular houseplant. You can also propagate them indoors by nurturing stem cuttings. Plus, they're unique in that they can be stored without soil so you don't have to devote much time to their care.
To prep them, dig them up, shake the soil from their roots, and either hang them upside-down or put them in a paper bag in a cool area. Soak the roots in water for an hour or two a couple of times during the winter and remove any dead leaves, and the sturdy stems will be ready for planting, come spring.
Hibiscus comes in a variety of species, with some hardy down to zone 4. These tropical flowers are perennials that take to living indoors. They overwinter a number of ways, including forced dormancy and stem propagation.
However, keeping a hibiscus blooming throughout the winter is a welcome treat many people prefer, and all you do is treat them like a regular houseplant that needs plenty of light.
Begonias are one of the most diverse flowers to overwinter. Plenty of light and humidity are ideal for most varieties, and moist, fertilized soil will have them enjoying life all winter long.
When it comes to tuberous begonias, things get challenging, as they can only survive if they're made dormant through a complex process. This type is best left to the experts.
Most people needlessly throw out mums after their autumn blooming season. Save money by keeping them inside throughout the winter, and you'll have beautiful colors year after year.
After the first frost, trim down the plant to about 1" above the soil line using sterile shears. Then put it in a cool, dark location. If the area has the potential to go slightly below freezing, wrap the pot in a few layers of newspaper.
Sempervivum, or hens and chicks, is a unique succulent that can survive year-round outside in zones 3 through 8. However, many people opt to put them in strawberry pots for an easy decorative look. When they're not used as ground cover, their roots will freeze in cold climates.
Potted hens and chicks are simple to keep indoors during the winter. As long as they have sunlight, they don't require much of anything else. Poor soil is enough to make them happy. Plus, you only have to minimally water them.
Ferns are a great accent to a flower garden, but can be costly to purchase year after year. Why not overwinter them instead? They're one of the easiest plants to keep indoors, as they don't mind a little neglect.
During the summer, ferns like moist soil. However, once inside, they'll go into dormancy and only require watering about once a month. They prefer dark, chilly areas to take their winter break. Once spring hits, they'll be ready to burst to life outside again.
Coleus provides a rainbow of zesty colors. If you have some in your garden that you don't want to lose, dig them up. Let them sit outside about a week to get used to their new potted homes, then bring them inside to a sunny location. Only water them when the soil gets dry, and once a month, add a half-strength fertilizer.
Popular, compact, and simple, windowsill herb gardens add a dash of color to the room and flavor to your meals. Approximately six hours of sunlight per day in rich soil will yield nice results. Usually, herbs thrive with a southern exposure, but a few prefer the west. Take a minute to research what works best for all your favorites, then have fun creating your perfect garden.
If you want to try your hand at overwintering vegetables, tomatoes and peppers are a great starting point. The process isn't foolproof, and the fruit won't be as full as in summer, but it's a nice trial-and-error experiment for anyone who likes to garden and refine their techniques.
It's best to root cuttings versus taking an entire plant. Applying root hormones on the stems, or placing them in water, then nutrient-rich soil, will improve their chances of survival. Plenty of water and light is a must every step of the way. Grow lamps, though not as good as natural light, can compensate for winter's shorter days.