How to Prepare Outdoor Plants to Come Indoors

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In the winter, it is a good idea to prepare plants to be indoors until the following growing season by hacking them down, digging them up and keeping them dormant for a few months. Winterize less-hearty plants for the colder months with helpful information from a sustainable gardener in this free video on outdoor plants.

Part of the Video Series: Outdoor Gardening
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Video Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen, and in this segment we are going to talk about how to prepare outdoor plants to come inside for the winter. Now if you live in a climate where it gets cold in the winter there's lots of plants that you can grow outside over the summer, but you have got to bring them inside so that they don't freeze, and you can save them for the next year. So here is a few tips. Now my first bit of advice is to let mother nature do all the work. So when you fertilize, if you are going to fertilize only use nitrogen based fertilizers. They make the greenery in the spring time. Once it gets to be summer through the fall you don't want to give a lot of fertilizer to your perennials, and if you do you want to do the blooming varieties that are high in phosphates. Because if you give your plants a lot of the nitrogen at the end of the summer they are just going to get lanky greenery, and when the winter hits it is even harder for them. So you want to harden them up so you give them less and less water, and you give them less and less attention basically, and just let them die off naturally. For example I have this canna lily that won't make it over the winter in this flower bed. So to prepare it for winter I am going to let it continue to grow and grow and grow. By October, November when the nights are getting cold it is going to start turning yellow, and start turning brown, and not look that great. I am going to leave it outside as long as possible. Whenever the foliage starts looking really bad I am going to chop it to the ground, dig it back out, and then just leave it in a paper box, and wrap it in newspaper for the winter. And then I am going to turn around, and plant it again outside in April. So my rule of thumb is if the greenery looks good leave it there. Do not dig anything up or prepare it for the winter until it is time. As soon as the foliage looks really bad chop the foliage off. If it is something that can't survive the winter bring it inside. If it is something that can survive the winter just leave it outside, and maybe put a little more compost or mulch on top just to give it a little bit of protection for the winter. And it's really as easy as that. Mother nature does it even if you don't.

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