Sunday, October 31, 2010

Preparing for Winter

It's that time of year again when the tropicals need to come inside for the winter.  Some of them will go back outside next summer in containers; others, like the banana above, are simply too big to (1) move without a crane, or (2) fit in any of the existing containers.  This banana grew from a one gallon pot in May to its current size (about 6 feet) sitting at the pool.  I put it directly into the ground in the greenhouse, where I'm hoping it will live permanently.  In that particular spot, it's very sunny and it's directly under the peak of the roof, so there is about 20 feet of clearance.

All of those plastic containers behind the banana tree are floating plants that we took out of the koi ponds on Friday.  They are really marginal for winter hardiness in Atlanta, so I'm going to try overwintering them inside.  They multiply faster than hellebores or cleome, but for some reason the garden centers charge $4 to $6 per plant, and I need at least fifty of each (water lettuce and water hyacinth) to look like anything. We'll see what happens.  They're going in a prettier container, with a water circulating pump, so hopefully we won't have bug issues. 
The bourganvilla, above, also came out of one of the containers at the pool. They do beautifully here in summer, but aren't winter hardy for us.  I'm hoping to leave this one in the greenhouse permanently, as well, and that it will start to climb up toward the ceiling.  For anyone who hasn't had success with this plant blooming, the secret we learned this year is to keep it jammed in its original pot (from the garden center), and put that pot into the container you're using, along with any other plants.  It likes to be rootbound, and  fertilized at least once a month to bloom heavily. 
Alocasia "Portadora," above, is a favorite of mine.  I'm afraid it's at its ultimate height for a container plant here.  I'd love to see it grow bigger, but I don't have any other convenient spots in the greenhouse where I can put it directly into the ground.  This is one of three that I have from the original bulb purchased two years ago, so it's worth the $25 for the bulb.


  1. The greenhouse actually looks lovely with all those plants brought inside for the winter!

  2. Hi Tim,
    The Alocasia does indeed look spectacular, I may just have to build a conservatory to accomodate one now.....if only!