I would really like to plant a nice little "Stone Pine" I purchased as a holiday accent. My nursery folks assured me it would make it, and they have yet to lead me astray. Knowing we have harsh weather ahead, I potted it up instead of putting it directly in the ground. Waiting until Spring feels better to me. I have kept it well watered and in bright light (direct a.m.) as suggested.
Should I bring it in for the duration, or can it handle the freezing temps. in a pot on the patio?
As cold as this blast is predicted to be, I'd bring it in. Their roots get much colder in a pot than they would in the ground. it won't have to be inside in the way (and getting dessicated by the dry heated air) for very long -- in a few days they say we should be back in the 70's again.
I agree with kittriana, put it into thee ground, make sure you prep the soil beforehand and add plenty humus to the planting hole, either rotted leaf mould or manure, peat would help also, these additives will allow air into the soil help hold onto moisture in hot weather and help offer the nutrients the pine requires.
There is no pines that are confortable while growing indoors, the atmosphere is far too dry, the air is not humid enough and there is not enough natural light in winter times.
Pines don't need long periods of direct sunlight but good light helps, they like a cooler root run and moisture but NOT sitting in wet soil.
IF you have to keep it in a pot till spring, while there is very cold weather forecast especially at nights, then best thing to do is to wrap the outside of the pot either in Plastic Bubble wrap as used for fragile goods, also there is a very cheap horticultural fleece you buy from garden store either by the yard or in a pack already cut to a size like 3 mtr's, wrap this around the foliage /greenery and remove when the threat of cold damage is over., It would also help to place the pot close to house wall or somewhere more sheltered till the very cold snap passes. Remember, Pines are NOT a delicate plant but when young, they need some protection and care till they are large enough to be self sufficient themselves.
Hope this helps you out a bit too.
Best Regards. WeeNel.
Also you should know if you don't already that these little potted trees will grow big and fast in the ground. I got my parents one of those "Italian Stone Pines" for Christmas several years ago and they planted it in the ground (not sure when they did it but I think it may have been March) and this is in middle TN. Within a few years (5 or 6 probably) it was growing into some of their other trees so my dad cut it down. I think it was around 15 feet tall with a 12 foot or more spread in this amount of time. Lesson learned - know what the ultimate size of this will be and find an appropriate spot to plant it.
Kbh69, best NOT to place the plant outside and leave it, the way to acclimatise the plant to outdoor conditions is in better days, put outside for a few hours at a time leaving longer each week or several days, but bring indoors at night till spring time when it's safe to leave outside all the time,
Dig hole and plant. come winter early autumn, you could make a shelter for the plant, tent style using garden canes and clear plastic, secure well and allow ventilation or mould will set in. remove the plastic cover when you feel danger of frost or severe wind burn has past, recover next autumn.
Good luck and best Regards.
Thanks so much for the tree planting tips! I've had it indoors since the beginning of January. It was during a terrible ice storm that it received the damage I mentioned previously. It is now in a very bright, well ventilated room awaiting warmer temps. and a healed back. Assuming surgery goes well in early Feb., I'll feel commanding enough to point where I want someone else :( to dig the hole by the end of March.
I've really fallen in admiration of conifers. They do so well in this part of Texas. They seem to be the only thing green during the winter...
You Have a speedy recovery and try NOT over do things. I had surgery on my back several years ago and believe me, when stooping, bending, getting in / out from a chair, you use more BACK muscles than you ever knew you had, you can make the problem even more painful IF you don't take your time, a little each day but your Body should tell you when you have to stop.