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Be Brave and Overwinter Those Annuals

A few years ago, as I was closing up the raised rock garden at the park, I was lamenting the guaranteed demise of the succulents. That fall, instead of bidding them farewell, I selected a few plants to overwinter in my home. With one empty container remaining after potting up the select succulents, I decided to try a wax begonia, too. There was nothing to lose, the plants would never survive the winter outside.


Three years later, that wax begonia is still going strong in the condo and the succulents are thriving–so much so that I have not returned them to the garden. They look too good in the family room window. This is the perfect time to be brave and try your hand at overwintering your favorite annuals. We have a few tips and plant recommendations for saving your favorite annuals through the winter.


1. Clean containers and prep with well-draining potting soil (the lighter the soil the better).

2. Take a good look at the available space inside your home, taking note of the shady and sunny locations.

3. Humidity: Some plants require a bit of humidity. Is your house on the dry or humid side?

4. Temperature: If you keep your house on the cooler side in the winter, your annuals, which are often tropical plants, may feel the chill. Consider turning the thermostat up a few degrees for the benefit of your winter plant guests.

5. Large plants: I have successfully removed half to a third of a plant’s root system and as much of the plant above the crown to make the plant more conducive to container planting. The plants responded well to the pruning and became thick, lush plants by the arrival of spring.

6. Before potting up the plants, wash them, including the underside of the leaves, to remove any unwanted tag-along insects or bugs.

Choosing the Best Plants
New Guinea impatiens
Chenille Plant
Ornamental sweet potato
Tradescantia pallida
Tradescantia zebrina