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Re: Question re: Astilbe

Donna, while some listers seem able to overwinter perennials in pots
with no protection, IMO, it's best to give them some.  Roots were
designed to live in the earth, which is always warmer than the
outside air, even if the top is frozen.  When living in pots, even
big pots, they do not have this sort of protection.  Roots do not
have the ability to create the kind of anti-freeze that branches and
buds do and if they get too cold, the liquid in their cells freezes,
expands and ruptures the cell walls.  If this happens, the cells dry
and die and the plant dies or suffers a good deal of injury that
takes a lot of its energy to overcome once growing season starts

I have also read that you should select plants hardy at least two
zones colder than yours if they are to live in pots year around

There are lots of ways to overwinter plants in pots - Gene gave one
and back in '98, I wrote a two part article about ways to do it, so I
won't repeat all of them here....

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/shade_gardening/12377 - first
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/shade_gardening/12667 - second

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
Current Article: Wild, Wonderful Aroids Part 4 - Arisaema
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> From: Donna  <justme@prairieinet.net>
> To those using perennials in containers.... how are you
> them? I have always been worried I would lose them when the roots
> above ground, ie in the pot. Do you insulate the pots, transplant
> the winter? Somewhere I either heard or read that you had to allow
> zones hardier for them to survive. Truth or fiction?

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