I've been cruising the internet for info. on overwintering my figs, bananas, and brugmansias and haven't really found a whole lot of good detailed instructions on overwintering for zone 4. Yes, the garage is insulated, but it's not attached to the house. So, I'm wondering what I would need to keep my plants alive in the garage in a dormant state? Blankets? Bubble wrap? Please tell me what works for you.
For brugs and bananas, unfortunately, I bring them into a room in the house and tuck them in a corner. I also do that with achemeas and bromeliads. I have friends who lost bananas at 40 degrees. The brugs I cut down. I have a garage too, but I overwinter things like hardy roses and perennials I have not gotten into the ground there.
So I'm afraid that if you want them to survive you would have to have a basement with at least some heat (callas go there), you will lose them unless you can keep them in the house.
I have tons of Brugmansia I over winter. They became an obsession. I keep them in my sun room over winter and heat it at night only. I have put them in my basement but I find the sun room an easier solution. (Try dragging 20 some pots up and down the basement stairs. No easy feat when they are in huge containers)
I have put them in the garage one year. They kinda froze. the tops the entire plant looked really really bad so I cut them back down to soil level and just stuck them in a warmer corner nearer to the inside of the garage near a wall to the house. They came back from the roots and did splendid.
I tried putting them in sun room without heating it at night. Same results as the garage experiment only not as severe due to the fact daylight increases the temps during the day. I panicked once again and cut them down and once again they grew from the roots up.
Brugmansia can take an occasional freeze but will begin to suffer and stress at anything under 40º. So I heat at night when temps drop to 45 at night, I water way less, like maybe once a month and cut them back a bit regularly taking off the bigger leaves if they haven't dropped already. I guess I may be doing something right for I usually have a flush of flowers in late Feb. and once I start seeing the buds I start feeding them regularly so that they have enough nutrients to continue with a flush every 6 to 8 weeks.
Well, joyous 1, I wish you lived closer to me...I have a huge greenhouse and a business of overwintering large tropicals for other people. I do pick-up and delivery, but, I think the charges would kill ya. LOLOL You could take a road trip and bring them to me next season. :>)
cece - reading your comments about how you overwinter your brugs and a question occurred to me. I overwinter things like mandevilla, blue sky vine, boston ferns, fuchsia and others indoors that normally go outdoors in the warmer months. They still grow at a reduced rate due to the cooler temps and less light. I normally hold off fertilizing them during the winter but about this time of year they're looking really sad and pale. Is it too soon to give them light doses of fertilizers? I know we still have 3 or 4 months (ugh) before they'll move outside.
Well, I've been told you're not supposed to until they are actively growing again. That being said, I usually breakdown about this time of year and give them a tad bit of fertilizer. I use a granular that dissolves in water (like all purpose Miracle Grow) and give them about a quarter of what you would during active growth. But that is just me. I sometimes have brugs blooming out in the sun room in February and if I see it setting buds I DO feed then. I feel if they're going to bloom and give me a ray of sunshine in February they deserve to get feed something to keep their strength up.
But remember that is just ME. Course I never follow the rules of thumb. I'm a rebel that way. LOL
As a rule, I don't fertilize in the g'house till about the end of Feb. or beginning of March. My heater in there is set at 58, tho obviously when it is sunny out it gets really nice, even hot some days.
I was thinking that the nutrients in the potting soil are pretty low about this time of year since I don't necessarily repot everything every year with new potting soil. I would like to keep the plants strong enough to get through the winter but don't really want to put on a flush of new growth. I've been torn between waiting til spring to fertilize (as a lot of the "experts" say) or giving them what they want. On the other hand, our summers are short with cool springs so a lot of these plants don't really get going until late spring/early summer.
Anna - I love those sunny days in the winter when it really warms up the space! Yippee - tee shirt weather (at least indoors). I normally don't let the temps get below 56 or 57 because of the overwintering tender plants but they all continue to grow rather spindly this time of year. I do have some white sweet violets ('Comte de "something") in there that look rather blotchy. Pale, blotchy leaves with darker veins that need some nutrients.