Kitty, dont' have to dig anything here at all since the ground doesn't
freeze. Do not have a problem here with pots freezing and breaking here at all
either...not even the water garden containers. The plants that I do bring in are
all in pots. Many are succulents (caudiforms, bonsai), Plumerias, and such
that do not tolerate being wet or in some cases having moisture at all during
winter (dormancy). They will rot very quickly. These are usually plants that
one would grow in heated green houses in northern states, with the same
principles applying to refraining from watering during dormancy. Learned the hard
way. Other plants I either cover or bring in during an actual freeze are
young tropicals in containers that have not really had a chance to become
established. When I first get a plant I tend to be a bit more protective, but once it
becomes established I find that I no longer need to feel that way. Now, mind
you, if we were ever to get a serious cold snap (down to the low 20's or
below) then I would probably protect a lot more than I have in past years.
We've had some dips in the past month down to the mid 30's, but yet Hibiscus,
Bougainvillas, Aristolochia vine, Roses, Phillipine violets, all the Salvias,
a few orchids, some bromeliads, and a few others are continuing to bloom.
For the most part, I've found the plants do better when they are left outside.
For instance, by not taking in or protecting the citrus, I have a better crop.
Before I would take in the young citrus which bloomed all winter then, but
ended up not setting much fruit.....probably due to not having the pollination
inside the garage or house. On the flip side, the Nectarine doesn't produce
as well since it hasn't gotten the low chill hours it requires, although this
variety was created by Texas A&M for this area.
I've never noticed any of the containers having problems in the summer months
with air circulation....plastic or otherwise. I do have to leave the saucers
off of some plants so they do not sit in water during our soaking rains, but
otherwise have not had a problem. Many of the plants that I've kept in
containers is largely due to the fact that I'd like to keep them to a certain size,
and so that I can move things around.....as in the citrus, shrub
bougainvillas, etc. Otherwise they could easily be put in the ground. When my dream of
acreage comes true, maybe then.....HA! I wish.
Texas Gulf Coast
In a message dated 1/8/2004 11:03:09 AM Central Standard Time,
When you refer to plants you take in, are these already in pots or are
they in the ground and you've previously dug up & potted to take in?
If you're concerned about cold and they are in pots, you could wrap the
pots with a bit of insulation. If in the ground, you could add a winter
I bet you're right about not wanting to be soggy. But would plastic heat
up too much under summer sunshine, not allow air circulation? Perhaps a
few perforations wouldn't hurt. I know nothing about Plumerias, just
guessing. Here, when I want to avoid sogginess, I use a rose cone which
insulates but does allow for air circulation. Burlap works too, or
netting that encloses leaves stuffed around the plant.
I'm not suggesting that zone 5 tactics would necessarily work in Zone 9,
but possibly some of the reasons behind these tactics would have
something in common with your situation. I agree, there comes a time
when hauling things in and out just gets to be too much.
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