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Q: I have several varieties of coneflowers, ornamental grasses like “Karl Forrester” perrennials. I live in Richmond Hill which is North of Toronto. We are planning to move, but yet to sell the house, and I don’t want to leave my plants behind. Will they be able to survive in planters or pots over the winter if I store them in the garage? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
You will very likely have success keeping your plants in pots over the winter in your garage.
I checked in with Jeffry DeJong, manager of Cannor Nursery in Victoria, who lived in Ontario before he moved to B.C. He kept his Japanese Maples in his garage over the winter there with great success. He said that it was important to keep the plants tucked away from doors so that they didn’t get any blasts of extremely cold air.
Other than that, just the usual rules of bringing plants in for the winter apply: keep the soil just damp, don’t water regularly like you would in the summer, but don’t let them dry out either, and put them in a protected, but not heated, space. It’s not even necessary to keep the plants near a window. After winter is over, and it is approaching the time that you think the plants will start up again, you can set them out. Remember that your coneflowers will come back a little later in the spring, so don’t assume you’ve killed them off!
Many gardeners bring in their more tender plants in the winter–herbs, shrubs, fushias in hanging baskets, geraniums, peppers. Some gardeners will also bring in succulents like echeveria, because winter is not so much too cold as too moist for them. Anything deciduous should be fine to bring in.
Good luck with your move!