bringing annuals inside: when, which ones do you save?

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

This year we bought lots and lots of annuals (we were rebuilding our garden from just about nothing) and here it is, the end of October and high time to do something about them. We cleaned the garage and the basement so we have dark storage space that doesn't freeze and will try to save geraniums and begonias.

What do you store tubers/bulbs/roots in? I know I can lift dahlia tubers--when? Can I NOT dust them with sulfur etc.? I've heard a lot about saving geraniums either as cuttings or as cut back plants; when do you do that? Do you just compost the flowers and beautiful spreading plant that FINALLY got the kind of weather it likes? Or take a small cutting and get rid of the rest?

We don't get a print paper or paper grocery bags that are recommended for storing roots in. I am tempted to put them in plastic storage boxes but I know that would rot or mold. I asked at the hardware store and their best idea was Perlite. Ugh.

Anyone have any ideas on ways to store dormant roots/bulbs/plants?

This message was edited Oct 27, 2016 3:47 PM

Thomaston, CT

I would take a cutting of the geraniums & begonias & root them in water......if you bring the entire plant in, it gets leggy....also white flies are a problem. I've had no luck....NONE....trying to save dahlias....I've tried wiltpruf, paraffin, newspapers, perlite, peet, refrigerator, cellar, garage. This year I'm placing several in brown paper bags in my art teacher's wine cellar..we'll see! You can dig dahlias now that foliage has blackened. Glads I store in newspaper after dusting with insecticide to prevent tthrips.....sometimes it works.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Gladiolas, I don't bother with at all. Maybe I get then at Home Depot when they get marked way down, and then I forget to plant them. DH has gotten enamored of dahlias of late, but I just don't think we have the infrastructure to keep them going, and he really enjoys the ones he gets at HD. So you've tried all those, perlite newspaper etc.? Hmmmph. Doesn't sound like I will be able to solve this one with an ingenious idea. Shredded paper? Like you know, when you shred your tax documents? I don't have an art teacher with a wine cellar, more's the pity,

Thomaston, CT

Let me know how you make out, Carrie....my late husband swore his grandma in NH kept hers in burlap in an unheated shed....I doubt that....they would have frozen....she may have dug them into the sandy floor of the shed.....not an option for me!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Burlap is the right idea though, right?

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

This is how I do the dahlias. I wait for frost to hit the plant and cut it down. I dig up the tubers and brush off as much dirt as possible. I might give it a quick rinse with the hose but I don't soak the tubers in water. I make sure there isn't any earthworms, sow bugs or similar between the tubers. I lay the tubers out on newspaper usually inside and let it dry a couple of days. I brush off the rest of the dirt, trim the stems more if needed and put it in a ziplock bag. I store it someplace cool but no freezing. I use an uninsulated attic away from the outside walls. I check on it once in awhile.

Thomaston, CT

Never thought about my attic....might be a good solution! Thanks.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Our attic .... I never thought of the attic. It's harder to get to. We need to think about the attic.

I am still not sure it is worth it worrying about the dahlias because we are not going to take care of them in the summer (feed and water and pesticide). And Ray gets so much pleasure from just dahlias from Home Depot.

You do seal them in ZipLoc, Loretta?

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

I use the attic because I don't have an attached garage.
I do seal them in any kind of plastic without holes actually and honestly, I've had them overwinter in the basement in a landscape refuse paper bag just because I didn't get to it but that's riskier and those were large groups of tubers. I started with ziplocs but the tubers eventually get too big and so I just tie the ends of a shopping bag for some. I don't cut and divide. Also, some of the store grown dahlias don't have any well developed tubers by fall.
My stepmother threw her dahlias in a cooler in her garage. She ended up forgetting where she put them and didn't find them until June and they were still good.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

What is a landscape refuse paper bag? Oh, you mean the Yard Waste bags? Like a huge brown paper grocery bag.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

Right but I wouldn't recommend it.

Thomaston, CT

Cooler in the garage sounds like another plan!

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

As for geraniums, I've done both cutback plants and cuttings. I also tried bareroot once. Someone recommended this technique where you store them upside down in a box. As long as the stem stays green near the crown, your good but most of mine dried out. I didn't spritz them like I was suppose to. I only did it because there was a dollar sale on all these different types and it was too much for the lights. Never tried it again.
http://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2014/08/a-step-by-step-guide-to-overwintering-geraniums/

Old Saybrook, CT(Zone 6b)

I dug mine up after a frost blackened the foliage, rinsed them off, let them dry, and put them in paper shopping bags with some peat moss. Put them in the basement and forgot about them until spring. They were fine.
Edited: geranium and begonia cuttings rooted and potted up inside.

This message was edited Jul 27, 2018 12:16 AM

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

The dahlias did well enough in the attic this year. The geraniums were under lights and pulled through too. Some look better than others. I find that they all don't respond well to being cut back.

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