Preparing Rooted Cuttings and Small Plants for Winter

ejr2005(Eastern MA)October 1, 2011

I have some rooted cuttings that I was going to plant in somewhat bigger pots now that they have 1" roots. Not sure what soil to put them in, or what to do with them over the winter. I also have two young Masjas (12"-14" tall) and a baby Little Honey oakleaf (6" tall) that will need protection over the winter.

From what I've read I see a few possibilities for the winter:

- Keep them in my unheated garage (or crawl space under the house) and water occasionally.

- Sink the pots into the ground and cover with light mulch.

- Put pots next to the house foundation and cover with large clay pots.

I was going to plant them in potting soil but the soil I have has fertilizer in it - don't think I want them getting fertilized now. I have an assortment of other media including a compost and peat mix, topsoil, perlite, vermiculite, and sand. I've read that you should put potted plants in potting soil rather than outdoor soil so not sure what to do.

I'm in Zone 6a. Last year I started my hydrangea obsession with endless summer, blushing bride, purple tiers, forever and ever together, let's dance starlight, let's dance moonlight, blue bird, blue billow, red sensation. and twist and shout. I covered all of these in fabric bags stuffed with oak leaves. They all did well and had lots of blooms this year (the Bluebird died mostly to the ground but grew back with tons of buds from the bottom). We did have a lot of snow cover last winter.

I'd love to get advice on what to do. The most pressing question is what media to pot my rooted cuttings in.

I'm a bit nervous about keeping outdoor plants indoors - I've killed Brugmansia by keeping them in the crawl space. However hostas have survived well in the garage - even when I forgot about them for a few months!

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I kept cuttings in a window in the attic one winter and some went dorment and lost all thier leaves and some didn,t . They all survived but it was a pain to remember to get up there and mist them every week all winter. I had a soil blend from my (garden center, you buy it buy the yard and it doesn,t have any fert. )that was well draining that I potted mine in. If you check out your yellow pages and find places in your area that sells soil blends rocks and multch by the yard(not the bagged stuff) they probly have what you need ,just take a bucket or bag and offer to pay $5 if they will let you fill it. A yard halfway fills the back of my longbed pickup truck so its probly more than you need, always nice to have around though .

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 2:43PM
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ejr2005(Eastern MA)

Thanks madeyna. I went to the place I've gotten my mulch from and they did have potting soil w/o fertilizer. It was in bags but that was fine for me.

I potted up all my rooted cuttings yesterday. I had good roots on most of them - 7 out of 11. I put three back under plastic to see if I could get better roots on them. I found that the roots seemed to grow better in my terracotta pots rather than the styrofoam hot cups I used. My unidentified lacecap did better than the unidentified mophead. My one cutting of my new Woodlander serrata did great - put out a huge # of roots in a short period of time.

Now I'm wondering if I should leave the pots outside until they go dormant. I've had them in the house last night because there was a threat of frost.

And then what to do - put them in the garage, in the ground, or against the foundation covered? Does anyone have any recommendations?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 9:31PM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

What I plan on doing w/my hydrangea cuttings is to keep them in an unheated, attached garage this winter after they go dormant. I keep potted roses in there in the winter and toss some snow onto the pots the first of every month (that's how I remember to do it).

I'm leaving them outside until dormancy with the exception of a few nights ago when we had 2 early frosts. I put them in the garage those nights because I want them to keep developing as much as possible before the winter sleep.

In April they will get hardened off with all the others. Hopefully they will make it. Good luck with your babies!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 10:37AM
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ejr2005(Eastern MA)

Thanks Mehearty - sounds like a good plan. Have you done this before with hydrangea cuttings?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 10:41PM
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