How to Bring Tender Plants Indoors

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Tender plants such as cannas, dahlias and mandevilla may have to go indoors before the winter's first frost hits. Learn smart strategies for relocating your plants and keeping them safe in this free video on winter garden care.

Part of the Video Series: Winter Garden Care
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Marci Degman, the aspiring gardener. And today, we're going to talk about bringing tender plants indoors. Now, that can be houseplants that have been outside for the summer, that can means plants like cannas and dahlias that you have to dig up and bring in. We have mandevilla, other tropical plants that you may have in containers that have to go in for the winter. So, what you want to do, is right before the weather turns really cold, you've got to do this stuff, because as soon as the weather drops down and you have frost, you're either going to have damage to bulbs and roots, and plants are going to go either dormant, or they're going to already start declining. So, what you want to do is say, in most areas, it'll be October. If it gets cold earlier in your area, you'll have to do it sooner. So, as before the weather changes drastically, bring your plants inside. If you have tropical container plants that you need to bring in, you want to make sure that you bring them in before the weather drops down too much. You want to bring them into a place like a basement or garage that's 45 to 60 degrees throughout the winter. You don't have to keep them really warm, because you don't want them to keep growing. You want them to actually rest during the winter. But, you'll want to do a little bit of research to see if they need sunlight during the winter months. If they do, you at least need a small window or artificial light that will kind of help bring them through. If you have things like dahlias and canna bulbs, and you want to make sure that they don't freeze over the winter, or rot in wet areas, one thing you can do, you can use a pot, you can use a crate, you can use chicken wire, anything that you can hold a loose material into, you can put those things. This is a little bit of peat moss, which is a good dry material. You can use sawdust, you can use shredded newspaper, you can use straw. And, what you want to do is, you want to dig them up while they're still moist, let them dry out a little bit. But, the biggest mistake is, most of the time, people will dry them out completely, and then they never come back out of it. So, while they're still plump, think of a yam when you go to the store to pick out a yam, and it's still kind of got that moist feel to it, but yet it's dry on the surface. That's what you want them to be like. And, during the winter, you want to add just a little bit of moisture, so they never dry completely out. So, that's the best way that you can keep things like that. Houseplants that have come in, same thing. Don't wait until the weather has already turned cold. If that happens, you may already have the plant in decline. So, what you want to do is bring it in before the weather changes. The nights are maybe 60 degrees, bring them inside. That way, the home temperature, maybe it's going to be a little warmer in there, but it'll be a little bit closer to what the plants can have at night. So, whatever you do, bring your plants in before the cold weather, don't forget to check them through the winter, see if they need light, see if they need a little moisture, and they'll be great to put back out in the spring.


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