Bringing Annuals Inside During Winter

jennifer960490July 8, 2007

I would like to know if I bring my annuals in during the witner and put them under UV Light if they will continue to grow or will I have to replant a new next spring

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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

Just depends what annual you're talking about, some annuals are actually perennials which will overwinter just fine. Many annuals will produce seed so that you can collect and start indoors or wintersowing. Or you can take cuttings like Coleus.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 12:43AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

jennifer, we could offer more help with this question if we knew what plants (specifically) you are wondering about. There are some plants that can transition to the indoor environment, but many (maybe even most) don't. UV light is not appropriate, but rather some full spectrum fluorescent lighting. There are many kinds of horticultural lighting available, with a wide spectrum range.

So, what kind of plants are you thinking about? ;-)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 1:10PM
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You wanted to know what annuals I was talking about. I was talking about the sun annuals Petunias-the ones that are two different colors like red inside white outside, purple and white etc. Those are the annuals I am talking about.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 1:21PM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

I would collect seed but there is a possibility of them not coming out exactly true. You can also take cuttings just before freeze up and try overwintering them under lights, however if your winters are long like ours, infestation is a possibility before the next spring.

Petunias are relatively inexpensive that I would look for that particular cultivar the following spring would be your best solution.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 1:51PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You've selected a good one to experiment with. Petunia's are actually herbaceous perennials and can be grown as such. With protection from freezing temperatures (they can take light frosts), occasional trimming, etc., they can live for quite some time.

It will be difficult for you to provide the kind of light that they are probably used to in your yard, however. Why not take some cuttings as suggested...then also bring in the newly clipped mother plant just to see what happens?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 12:16PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I have kept petunias alive during the winter....alive is the operative word! They got leggy and lank and didn't bloom much....but they lived until I could put them out in the spring.
My mother had a special hybrid she wintered over for several years. She took cuttings and kept them and the mother plant in the basement under lights.
You can winter over petunias....but don't try it with zinnias!
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 6:49PM
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Hello, Has anyone kept calibrachoa alive in the house over the winter with any success? Donna

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 9:05PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I've tried wintering over heliotrope, no go at all. They just turned into mildewed messes. I tried coleus about 5 winters in a row. A few winters I was able to get them to the next spring, but most of the time, the plants were just not in good shape by the time spring came around. It was just too much trouble keeping them going and I decided to buy new every year. My strongest light is from a west window and that is shortened by the height of backyard trees somewhat, so maybe those of you with south windows, or west windows that are not shaded at all, may have better luck than I did.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 5:09AM
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maineman(z5a ME)


"I was talking about the sun annuals Petunias-the ones that are two different colors like red inside white outside, purple and white etc."

Petunias like full sun, so giving them enough light inside would be the trick. You might want to consider using overdriven fluorescent fixtures for more light. Thanks to the information provided by the talented electronics hobbyist, Zink, I overdrive the $8 Home Depot commercial shoplights and I have raised zinnias from seed to bloom to seed under them.

Here in Maine, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a potential problem during our long winters with very short days, and the bright light from the overdriven fluorescent fixtures is said to be a prevention for that. I know that my wife likes to "camp out" near the plant stand to read the morning paper.

Here is a link to the circuit diagrams for the overdriving modification.

There is a continuation message thread over in the Growing Under Lights forum that tells a lot of information about Overdriving Fluorescent Lights. The original message thread (that hit a 100-message limit and was archived and then lost) is still available here.

Incidentally, petunias can be grown from cuttings, so you might just bring in cuttings for the winter. That would save the mess of digging up the parent plants and bringing in all the pests associated with them. You might want to experiment with starting your petunia cuttings before cold weather sets in, to get the technique down.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 12:47PM
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I overwinter annual geraniums and plumbagos in my garage and they stay dormant, no watering or fussing all winter and after frost, fertilize and they are as good as new - hope that helps


    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 8:17AM
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ok, I just brought my petunia's inside and put them under full spectrum florescent light (Agrosun bulbs). There are buds on my petunia's and marigolds that haven't opened yet. I would like to know if the buds will open up with the Agrosun lighting or will they stay closed until next spring.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 1:15PM
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I once overwintered a red Petunia in a south-facing window. It got a bit leggy, it did bloom early spring(not profusely), but it did not have the fragrance of when growing outside.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 9:02AM
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I am overwintering a Heliotrope and right now, it seems to be doing just fine. When you (prairiemoon2) mentionned that it turned into a mildewed mess, did you mean during the winter or later when taken outside again in the summer?

Cuz right now (we're now end of Feb., in Montreal Canada) it seems to be doing great. Starts showing signs of getting leggy, but I figured that was normal... It sits on the window sill of my bathroom (so no artificial light), where it's 24°C (75°F for most people from US), sometimes humid (bath or shower) but often dry as there's an electrical heater right under... (no choice!). I have to water it almost every morning though, otherwise, I notice it looses leaves after they turn brown/dry. I also spray it with water once in a while (up to 4-5 times a day, sometimes none). I trimmed it a bit in Dec. I might trim it again soon, before giving it new soil and better light to prepare it to come outside in a few months... Not sure though.

Any advice anyone?
Is this normal?

How long can we keep it? How big can it grow?



    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 1:24AM
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