If you have been following me here for awhile you know that October is one of my favorite months in the garden. Even though the gardening season is ending here I always have a feeling of anticipation. I think it is the cooler temperatures that mostly make me feel this way and the beautiful mornings and evenings with the change of color. I also feel a much needed boost of enthusiasm about being in the garden after the heat of summer. There is plenty to do one chore of October Gardening; Over-Wintering Tender Plants.
October is a great time to be in the garden, its cool and if you live where there is four seasons, the display that the trees puts on can be stunning. Here in Cincinnati the trees are still green, but the maples are have a tinge of color started on their leaves.
If you are wondering what you should be doing in the garden check out my October Garden to do list (here)
Now is the time to start thinking about over-wintering those tender plants that won’t make it outside through the bitter cold winter months. These plants could be tropical, annual or bi-annual. It is important to get your plants indoors before your first frost. If the leaves are damaged by frost, it is going to be hard to get them to recover and may not be worth the effort.
Before you bring in your plants, check them for bugs and/or disease. Try to remove any insects by hand, if this isn’t a possibility spray an insecticide soap a few days before you plant on moving the inside. Any leaves that look damaged or diseased remove before moving inside.
Once the plant is brought indoors, it is important to place it in a location that gets as much sun as it was receiving outdoors originally. Some areas of your house where you can move those tenders are Garage, Basement, Mud Room or Three Seasons Room. Many gardeners that don’t have a sunny window over-winter plants have assisted lighting with grow lights. You can also place your plants in a garage that remains closed most of the time and let the plant die back and go dormant, pulling it out in the spring and hope that it makes a reappearance
If you have a sunny window in your home where you wouldn’t mind a plant or two place your shorter plants up close and any taller behind.
You can be artful and decorative, by placing pots in more decorative bowls or pots and arranging them in your day-to-day rooms.
A few plants that you may have hanging around that you can over winter in your house:
If you’re not sure about a plant find out where it originates from and if the plant is from a warm zone say zone 8-9 you know that it must be given shelter to survive.
Also remember that your plant will slow down its growth when you bring it inside and will be a bit shocked by the move. It will drop leaves and may go through an awkward stage. Don’t get overreact by giving your plant too much water, less is more in this situation. A bit of a haircut may be in order for your plant as well. If leaves are dropped and the plant looks a bit like a daddy long leg, give it a trim so that it can send its energy down into the root system which is the brains of the operation and won’t be spending so much time working on appearances.
If you have Cannas, Dahlias or Elephant Ear Bulbs you will need to dig them up and store them through winter. Click (here) to find out how to take care of this task.
Don’t miss my other October Gardening Lists: