overwintering unplanted plants

tinkerten(4b/5)October 14, 2004

I have a few shrubs and vines I haven't planted yet this year because I didn't have time to finish the places I wanted to plant them. I was thinking that for purposes of seeing them through the winter of planting them in the ground in their pots so they will be easier to dig up next year. Is this a really bad idea? Or would it work out okay? Or any other suggestions? Looking to reduce the risk of transplant shock next spring. The plants in question are a weigela, a climbing hydrangea, and some clematis.

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sydseeds(5A /ON)

I have approximately 30 honeysuckle vines in pots sunk in the ground and have around 15 clematis to sink as well - hope to get them in before I have to wear mittens to do the hole digging. All of these plants were part of white rose nursery sell off when they closed down for good in June. All these sunken plants are being donated to a retnoblastoma plant sale on mothers day next spring - the only way in my zone to keep them alive and in the pots is to sink the pots into the ground so the plant goes dormant and stays that way & alive until spring.

Some say to overwinter potted plants in unheated garages, but in my zone (5), an unheated garage is just like being left outside without the windchill, so I don't think that advise is great for our bone cold weathers.

Cheers, Sydseeds

    Bookmark   October 14, 2004 at 6:07PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

As long as the plant is hardy to your zone, sinking the pot into the garden for winter is fine. ItÂs been an annual tradition for me, just canÂt resist those end of season sales. Might not hurt, however, to choose a more sheltered location in the yard, like close to the house or a shed. I usually plant the same depth as the height of the pot and then fill in around the pot with loose soil (as opposed to clumpy soil, which might leave air pockets).

I also have some plants that are permanently planted in nice pots on my deck, such as my teddy cedar. For winter I also sink the pot into the ground, but first I place a garbage bag around the pot to keep the outside of the pot clean when I put it into the ground.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2004 at 11:12AM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

Oh, just one other thing. Even with the pots planted into the ground, be sure to keep checking them and watering them if needed. Usually once winter hits (here anyways), you don't have to provide any watering, but if you get nice weather they still can dry out just the same as if the pots were above ground.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2004 at 11:15AM
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cailinriley(z3 Calgary AB)

Also make sure that the soil in the pot is filled to the brim...or top up with gravel or grit, especially if the plant does not like to be soggy. Otherwise, the empty space between rim and soil level could trap snow and ice and keep the plant too wet during the spring melt.

I have lots of plants in the ground, pot and all, that have survived for (dare I admit it) up to 4 years (and counting...). What's worse is I still have new ones I bought this year that need to go in the ground before deep freeze. Will I never learn????

    Bookmark   October 15, 2004 at 6:54PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

All very good advise, but I would suggest to mulch well after the ground freezes and remove early in the spring as well. I find myself in the same predicament as you all and posted a query in the Minnesota gardening forum. Much helpful advise there also.
Best of luck to you!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2004 at 10:49AM
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I have about 20 pine trees in pots. Started them from seed and they are doing well, but now that winter is coming I have no idea what to do with them. I don't really want to dig holes in ground yet. Right now I have sawdust over the pots and around the pots. Is this sufficient or does anyone have some better ideas. Thanks

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 7:15PM
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Nice to see I'm not the only one who digs them into the ground pot and all to keep them from freezing. Plantings still in the pot are easier to pull back out in spring and hopefully plant. Sandy

    Bookmark   October 30, 2004 at 8:09PM
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sydseeds(5A /ON)

How did those potted shrubs and vines make it thru the winter?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 8:57PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

All my stuff in pots: daylily, boxwood, spirea, korean maple, and even strawberry plants all survived. Some of them I even put in the ground deeper than the soil level in the pot.

These were all plants I bought on clearance and couldn't find room for. The good news is my Mother needed some plants for her new yard, so after being potbound all last summer and winter, they can finally "stretch their roots".

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 10:51AM
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Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)

Last fall, I sunk 178 pots of unplanted plants in the ground for the winter. So far this spring, there are only a few that didn't make it through the winter and that's not too bad, considering the number of plants I sunk in the ground lat fall. I have been sinking pots of unplanted plants in the ground for years to carry them through the winter. Eventually, all of the plants will find their way into my landscape or be sold at a plant sale.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 3:30PM
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