September 27, 2018

Fall - Bringing in Tropicals

Here we sit getting ‘ready’ for winter. After all the interest the past few years with tropical plants for our patios and decks we see this time of year we have a few extra steps to take to get the garden ready. Now many homes have bananas, elephant ears, hibiscus and dracaena on the patio and all of these will freeze in our winters. Many of our tropical plants can spend the winter (‘winter-over’ in gardener buzz word speak) living indoors. The confusing part is that some of these plants need to go dormant while other can spend their winter living as house plants.
In our garden this means we have to bring the hibiscus in before the frost but remember to let the amaryllis dry out and get a rest and then sort out which elephant ear needs to do to the basement and which one would prefer to live in the bay window all winter.
In addition to all the tropicals we had some old time favourites too, such as coleus and canna. With our coleus we took some stem cuttings to over winter rather than dragging in the whole plants. This seemed easier than moving in the well-established mature plants and as bonus less chance to bring inside any pests. Coleus is easy and fast to root, just pinch or cut off a 10-12 cm piece of the stem and suspend with the cut in water (like when you put roses in a vase) or push the cut part of the stem into a sterile soilless mix. Keep it out of direct sun when it is rooting then once roots have formed move the stem into it’s own pot with soilless mix.
Our canna we leave in their pots or ground beds until we have a good hard frost. Then we dig them up and bring the roots (actually these plants have ‘rhizomes’ which are underground stems) inside to a cool and dry area of the basement.
Best of luck bringing in some of the garden!

To further assist you with your landscape needs – we recommend hiring a professional

Check out other helpful Landscape Ontario articles:
• Why hire a Landscape Ontario member company
• Top ten plant related questions for beginners
• Landscape Care