Are your tropicals ready for tonights weather?

julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)September 19, 2006

I am not taking any chances with a few of them- I have hauled in the brugs and the sabdariffa- the begonias and a few other tender hearted souls. I moved the coleus up near the house- as well as a few other pots.

I am sure we will have warmer weather soon- and I am just not ready to say goodbye- or hack away at them to make cuttings just yet....

I may even wrap a sheet around a cobae scandons vine that has a few buds on it, one just opening showing a tightly wound bloom inside- I really want to see what kind of flower it will produce before it sucumbs to the cold weather!

I have not worried at all with the weather in the 40's- but 30's- even the high 30's is pushing it a bit for those warm weather beauties!

Any one else taking precautions?

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lazyweeder(z4 MN)

I have a "few" I'm protecting with some blue tarps. Hopefully they'll make the night. I still have one more swap to go so the season isn't done for me yet.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 8:56PM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

I brought most of my potted plants into the garage, annuals as well as tropicals. I thought about bringing my hibiscus in last night. I knew I should have. And I didn't. Poor thing looks pretty sad tonight. I did bring it in (weighs about a ton and Tom couldn't help me because he (yes really) took a tumble down the last 5 stairs last week - poor guy stepped on a toy the dogs have left behind. Anyway, I managed to get it in and it will survive, although I suspect we may be looking at a fairly leafless winter :-(

I always bring them in, in September. It usualy gains me 2-3 weeks of plant life. Like you, I can't stand to see it end yet.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 9:44PM
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I covered most of the tropicals. I have 5 brugmansia that I was worried about. 2 are in such large pots that there covered in blankets and sheets. One of the brugs have over 100 pods on it.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 12:49AM
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meeperx(z4/5 Mpls)

I brought in almost everything last night-bananas (5), black taro (1 + 4 babies), fancy leaf geraniums (5) and persian shield (3).

It's a lot less than I brought in last year-I re-evaluated and decided that these are the tropicals I like the best, get bigger and better every year, are somewhat pricey to replace, and seem to overwinter well for me.

I have some regular (non-black) elephant ear, and a bunch of dahlias that I'm going to bring in as bulbs/tubers in pots and put in the basement once the frost kills the foliage. Then I'm done for the year.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 7:48AM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

I didn't do anything. I swear my house is the last one in the Twin Cities to get frost every year.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 8:23AM
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I harvested my abundant crop of basil last night. I had so much, I gave a large "bouquet" each to two of my neighbors and have another ready for my sister. Dried a lot of it, froze some in a chiffonade, and made a small batch of pesto. That ought to hold me through the winter!
Didn't do anything else, I don't really have a lot of tropicals, and the few annuals I do have seem pretty tough. Plus being in the woods, we don't get frost as early as more open areas.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 10:37AM
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I have a pot of cannas that I brought in last night and a couple pots of annuals that still look so beautiful that I wasn't ready for the to die off yet so I took them in. I covered my new perennial garden last night because most of those plants I have just planted in the last few weeks and I was not sure that they would make it if I didn't cover them. I sure don't want to be doing that every night though. How long do they need to be in the ground before they are safe?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 11:50AM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

I brought all my plants in last week. I have so many that I really had to do some serious manuevering of furniture to stop the hubby from grumbling. I brought in 13 citrus trees, 2 brugs, 1 banana, jasmines, hibiscus, 2 HUGE Mandevilla vines, 2 HUGE hydrangea vines and a few other odds and ends.

I would not have brought in the hydrangea vines except I just bought 3 huge vines from a nursery for $9.99 for all 3. They were trying to pawn quite a few plants off to anyone that would take them off their hands. I figured I would plant one outside (kinda late to be doing that) and take the other two inside 1 downstairs and 1 upstairs in hopes I can keep at least two of them alive. Has anyone had any success with climbing hydrangeas? I've done some reading and it sounds like they are hard to get established, but once established they are low maintenance. They smell heavenly when in bloom.

I still have all my cannas to cut down, clean up and place in the garage. I usually wait until they are zapped with a hard frost before bringing them in. What do the rest of you do with your cannas.

This summer went way to fast. With the drought and unusually high temps I don't feel as though I really did much gardening. Everything looked stressed even with being watered. Oh well, next year will be better.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 7:21PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

HUZZAH! Here's to next year!
WOW Lady lotus- that was a HOUSE FULL!!
I try to harvest all the seeds I can from my cannas- they are sooooo fun to start from seed- and if you get them in the ground where they are happy- you will get 1st year bloom and seed from them! You do have to nick the seed with a file or dremmel though- and then keep them WARM!
Then I too wait for a killing frost and whack them and the dahlias off a couple of inches from the ground- lift them both and shake off the dirt- and let them sit there and "cure" a day or two in the sun- if the weather permits- and them I stick them in a bag of sawdust in the basement- on the cold floor- in the coldest corner- and wait it out till- about April- I rinse them- and break them apart if needed/wanted, and pot them up- find them some warmth and wait till it is safe to plant them out again.
I will sulfer dip whole clean dahlia tubers and wrap them in plastic and check on them once a month through the winter. I had exceptional luck with them that way last year- other years it was always a bit iffy- well more like downright unlucky- if they would make it through the winter. I wait to break them up till spring as well-
I am going to try to over winter my one and only 4 O'Clock tuber as well! Someone on the Far North Forum was talking about doing that- and well- I have never tried that- so I guess I will!
Any one ever try to take fall cuttings of cobae scandons/Cup and Saucer vine? How about Hibiscus? I hear hydrangeas are easy to root...... Maybe Lady Lotus, you could make a ton o babies in hopes that a few will make it through the winter- if the other mature plants don"t..... and well if you have too many come spring- I could maybe give one a new home....... A Swap of course!
My tropical treasures are still indoors- and will wait to go out till the overnight 30 themps rise into the 40's at least....
Tammy- did your Brug make it with all of it's buds intact?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 8:14PM
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lazyweeder(z4 MN)

You can plant most perennials until the ground freezes. Keep them watered and they'll have a great start for next year.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 8:15PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)


Cobae scandons are very easy to start from seeds. I generally start those in March. This year due to drought mine did not seed and I will have to pick up some seeds at our local nursery. I love this vine.

I will certainly try to take some cuttings of my climbing hydrangea and my beautiful double red/fire orange hibiscus for you. Can't gaurantee success though. ;)

I've never harvested my canna seeds. I do have some seed pods on my cannas. Do you plant the seeds outside now for Spring growth? Or do you wait and plant the seeds outside in Spring?

I've never used sulfur on my tubers. Are you referring to Aluminum Sulfate in the powder form? I looked at Lowes for sulfur and the closest thing I could find was Aluminum Sulfate. I would like to try your sulfur method.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 7:19PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Yeah- well- my cobae scandons from seed are just now opening with the first flower- I hope I do get to see it bloom! The durn vine grew up 15' and then back down almost to the ground! I was hoping to see more blooms next year.... I did start them way early too!
Way cool on the cuttings swap! I will try to root a hibiscus sabdariffa for you- I thought I had lost this- but a dear friend took cuttings last fall which rooted and she gave me back a plant this spring- I am still delighted with this! I have yet to see it bloom- it may never do that- which is ok for me as I love the Japanese Maple burgundy foliage!
The cannas- well some seed and some dont. If you leave the flower heads to dry up- you can easily feel the VERY HARD balls inside the pods- they should be dark, smooth and shiney when removed from the pod. When you nick them- try very hard to get all the way to the white "flesh" of the seed- but do not cut through the flattish- or pointy-ish part where the evquivalent of the "embryo" is- there is a bit of guess work there- About 10 weeks before transplant date, put them in a tall (give the roots room- they will use it!) cup of dirt with drain holes- yep DIRT- not seed starting mix- about 1/2" to 1" in- cover with sand- put in a tray/cake pan over bottom heat, cover with saran wrap and keep damp till green appears- a nice tight coiled leaf- and pop under lights- still keeping warm.
I went to Bachmans and bought what they had- Sulfer - Plant Fungicide - Micronized Spray or Dust- from Bonide- It is crushed way fine - sulfer powder- thats all it is- do not breath it- and use gloves- and by all means- do not allow to get into the water system- it will harm fish. I mixed a small batch of powder in water in a bucket- and dumped out what I didn't need into the woods out back- it is meant to be used on plants, fruits and veg too- so it really isn't that bad- but as with all chemicals- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you can't find it easily in farm/garden stores near you- try the internet-
Best of luck!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 8:43PM
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Julie, I've had a number of 4 o'clock roots for four or five years now. I just dig them (ugly black carrot-like things) and throw them in a bag with some dry peat moss; then I put that in a cool spot in the house for the winter. They just get bigger every year, and man do they take off fast when I plant them out!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 12:25AM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Hey thanks BW-
I was hoping that may be the case- as mine just started to flower a couple of weeks ago- I wasn't sure I would get seed ripe to try that way again.
Um- you said yours got bigger every year- How big are yours? Mine is about 3' tall and 4' around all branched out as it is.... I can't imagine how much bigger it could get..... I couldn't imagine how pretty it smells before I smelled this for the first time this year either!
Mine is a plain old white one with pink/scarlet stamen and pistols- What colors are yours?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 7:26AM
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Well, Julie, I stuck one root in very late in the season to fill an area in a perennial bed that was burned when someone burned a bench in our community garden. It quickly filled the spot in what seems like somewhat marginal soil. We've since installed a 5' long bench with a fairly solid back 36" tall directly in front of the plant, which is now taller than the bench and spans its length, approximately. Despite the shading, that 4 o'clock is trying to grow through the bench. Its flowers are quite a pleasant solid yellow. I've been encouraging admirers to feel free to collect seeds. (If you want to know where it is, drop me a note.) I don't think the top will get much bigger, but the roots get chunkier every year--and they take off SO much faster than seedlings.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 12:29AM
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Lady Lotus I see you take your mandelville vine in. I bought one for the first time. Is there a way to winter it over? I also sent you an email as well. Thanks Tammy

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 9:54AM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)


I keep mine potted and water it sparingly all winter. I get a few sporatic blooms usually until January. Then it seems to just sit there until March when it really takes off with new growth. As soon as the temperature warms enough I set it outside and begin using fertilizer on it. I use fish emulsion once the plant is outdoors and it just loves the nutrients in that stinky mix. I've had mine for about 15 years. I trim them back to keep them within my means and to keep them on their arbors or I would have no room for them. Good luck with yours. They are very easy to take care of.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 10:52AM
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