Getting ready for winter.....

Brillion, WI

Hi everyone,
I was wondering what everyone does with some of the more tender plants to get them through our wicked winters!!! I have a few cannas, elephant ears, lots of coleus and a rosemary plant I would like to save. If anyone has any ideas/suggestions on what worked for them-it would be greatly appreciated! Has anyone had any luck keeping a sweet potatoe vine over the winter?


Downers Grove, IL(Zone 5a)

I have lots (too many) tender plants I save! The cannas and ee's I dig and store in a cool place. You can start taking cuttings of the coleus now. They get awfully leggy if you try to keep the mother plant inside. I've never had any luck with rosemary. Sometime in late winter they succumb to some type of powdery mildew. I've never tried keeping a sweet potato so can't offer any insight on that one.

Brillion, WI

Chatnoir-Thanks for the response -I hope you can help me with a few questions. Do you wait to dig up the ees and cannas until after a frost or do you just cut them back? Where do you store them? how cool? I have an unheated attached garage but it might be too cold. How about the fridge? How do you keep them from getting moldy? Thanks for your suggestions.

Waterman, IL(Zone 5a)

Dig up the cannnas, trim off the green, but them in a box with some peat, and store in a cool place, like your basement. I think the garage would be too cold, unless it's an attached garage. Then it might be a good place to store them. I know my mom keeps her geraniums over winter in her attached garage.

Merrimac, WI(Zone 4b)

I've had luck keeping rosemary in the basement. A friend of mine keeps hers on the kitchen counter.

My EE is in pots, so I moved them into the basement last year. Most of the leaves died back, but I just left it grow all winter.

Downers Grove, IL(Zone 5a)


I wait for the first light frost before digging the cannas and ee's for storage. I have both in pots, but they're way too big and heavy to store inside like that. I have to take them out. Warning though. My ee's are usually a 2 person job. They are so rooted I have to do a lot wrestling and manhandling to get them out. Always takes me way longer than I think! Got a soil knife for the job this year.

I don't have a garage or other storage-type place. So I have to make do with storing in a cool spot in the finished basement. Last year I tagged each canna and threw them in a box filled with newspaper shreds. Periodically over the winter I'd check on them and give them a spritz if they seemed in danger of drying out. The ee's gave me more trouble. I may just leave them in some dirt and let them dry for the duration.

I have a banana that I allow to go dormant. I start withholding water and move it into a dark cool spot. I keep it barely watered over winter. The leaves die back and it looks like heck by spring, but it comes back quickly once it gets outside. This also worked for some honeysuckle vines I was waiting to find a permanent home for.

Brillion, WI

Thanks for the great ideas-I will give them a try. I was hoping to save as much as possible -I went a little (A LOT) overboard in the greenhouses this spring and spent way too much. Its easier to rationalize the cost if I can save the plants (or some of them) from year to year.


Madison, WI

I have overwintered a rosemary plant for 3 years now.
I keep it in the sun and water very sparingly over winter.
Also it get a couple of haircut once it gets inside.
I have to say that it looks it's best when I take it in and
always looks miserable by the next spring.

I use clippings for making hair rinses - love the smell and
the effect on the hair.

This message was edited Oct 14, 2008 9:25 AM

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