Brought Potted Plants In For Winter...Good Idea Or No?

JenWiseNovember 22, 2013

Hello all, I'm a new gardener, limited to pots since I have an NYC apartment balcony, and I've already brought most of my potted plants in for the cold season. This makes little room for mammals in a one-bedroom, but I feel it's worthwhile, as long as I'm doing the right thing. My boxes are covered with plastic bags and are lining my outside, brick walls, per the recommendation of a local greenhouse owner, but my prized climbing jasmine, peony babies (there's gotta be a better word for them in their first-year, yet-to-blossom phase, but I'm lacking the proper vocab), and Ludwig Spaeth lilac bush are in my living room...and the lilac has begun sprouting new leaves. This is exciting, since I had given it up for dead when nearly all the leaves began browning and shriveling in early summer, due to a leaf-cutter attack and a host of other issues...but I have a feeling I'm only excited because I don't know what I'm doing, and this could be bad. Am I confusing my plants by bringing them in? And how should I handle water and light? I've been keeping them barely moist, assuming the roots need a LITTLE moisture but not enough to get moldy, and they have a smidge of morning light through my east-facing balcony window, but not much. Also, I read in another forum that lilacs should be pruned, and that root pruning could be a good idea as well. I have no idea how one goes about lilac is in a pretty large, plastic container (I can't tell how many gallons, sorry!) and has been since I bought it in Union Square. How do you know when it's time to give the roots more room, or should I be trimming them? Can anyone recommend a good resource to guide me through that? Thanks in advance, and happy winter gardening!

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jerseygirl07603 z6NJ

The peony and lilac should be outside for the winter. They need the cold to go into winter dormancy. They will wake up again in the spring. I keep mine in a sheltered location with the pots covered in leaves.
As far as root-pruning, is the pot full of roots? That would be the time to root-prune or moving into a larger pot is another solution.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 8:13AM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

A friend of ours who lives in London in a similar situation to you ( one bedroom apartment) found an interesting solution to your problem. They put their tenderer pot plants on the roof of the building (with the permission of the administrator). The heat from the building kept away the worst of the frost.They also covered them over with transparent polythene during the coldest weather. Don't know if this would work in NY. Might depend on which plants. Good luck. - Ian.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 7:34PM
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