Saturday, 9 December 2017

Six patio plants to bring indoors for winter

Plants indoors for winter Green Fingered Blog
Winter has arrived! Here are six plants I've brought indoors to save them from the snow and ice...











How do you keep tender container plants alive over winter? You bring them indoors of course. One of the upsides to the weather turning rather wintry is that it gives me a perfect excuse to fill parts of the house with plants.
 
There are several plants which I love growing but which are not hardy enough to withstand a Welsh winter. Some will suffer if it's too wet and some will be threatened by hard frosts. The answer is to grow them in pots, and this has a few benefits.
 
You can move them around whenever you feel like it. You can use them as a centre piece to decorate garden tables. You can potentially put them closer to head height where it's easier to detect their fragrance. And you can bring them inside to protect them from the winter.

Here's a run down of plants I've been growing on the patio but have brought indoors now that snow and ice have arrived. This is my "Six on Saturday" - make sure you visit the Propagator's blog to check out what's happening in lots of other gardens this week. 
 

Scented leaf pelargoniums

If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know that I'm slightly addicted to scented leaf pelargoniums. They are amazing plants that never cease to amaze people with the way the fragrance of their leaves is so reminiscent of other things when you rub them. I've recently added the "Fragrans" (pine scented) and "Quercifolium" (cedarwood) varieties to my collection. They're easy to look after, withstand drought conditions fairly well and  need little feeding. They can be cut right down when they get a bit leggy and will regrow successfully. They originate from South Africa though, and aren't hardy in the UK. I recommend anyone grow them but when the weather turns cold they need to be brought inside. A cool greenhouse or conservatory is adequate, just to protect them from frost and from the amount of rain we get here in the West. I treat them as houseplants for 3 months, and every windowsill has one! A dry, light position is ideal but I always take some cuttings just in case! 
Pelargonium "Charity" - citrus scented leaves Plants indoors for winter Green Fingered Blog
Pelargonium "Charity" - citrus scented leaves
Pelargonium crispum "Variegatum" - lemon scented leaves   Plants indoors for winter Green Fingered Blog
Pelargonium crispum "Variegatum" - lemon scented leaves 


Pomegranate

Just the idea of growing a pomegranate sounds exotic doesn't it? Of course in places with a more suitable climate they'll become a tree and produce fruit. Instead, mine is a small patio plant in a pot but it's nonetheless satisfying to see it flower and produce embryonic fruits, even though there is never enough heat for them to develop.  They will lose their leaves but if you keep them frost free they will come back again next year.
Pomegranate Plants indoors for winter Green Fingered Blog
Pomegranate - miniature version

Citrus

My little citrus is a Calamondin, which produces tiny orange fruit every so often. Before that, it has the purest white flowers which are beautifully fragrant. It's just coming into bud now. It can only manage outside during the warmest part of the year, and in winter needs to be dry and cool but definitely frost free. 
Citrus Plants indoors for winter Green Fingered Blog
Citrus calamondin

Fruit scented sage

Like the pelargoniums, these particular salvias have leaves which when rubbed, have an amazing scent reminiscent of other fragrances. I grow one with leaves that smell strongly of pineapple - quite remarkably so - and one that smells of blackcurrant, which is more subtle. They can be treated the same way as the pelargoniums too - kept inside frost free, watered sparingly, and then cut back in spring to regrow.
 
Salvia elegans "Scarlet Pineapple" Plants indoors for winter Green Fingered Blog
Salvia elegans "Scarlet Pineapple"

Salvia microphylla - blackcurrant scented leaves Plants indoors for winter Green Fingered Blog
Salvia microphylla - blackcurrant scented leaves


Brugmansia

Brugmansia, sometimes also known as Datura can grow into a tall shrub. It produces long flowers which give it the common name of "Angels Trumpets", lending it an exotic and statuesque look. The flowers are softly and delightfully scented and it is a fabulous pant to have on a patio near your seating area in a sunny spot. To have a chance to reach it's full potential after several years, it needs to spend the coldest months inside, with plenty of light, but not too much moisture.  
 
Brugmansia - Angel's Trumpets Plants indoors for winter Green Fingered Blog
Brugmansia - Angel's Trumpets

Christmas tree

Ok, so the Christmas tree doesn't need to be inside. In fact it would prefer to be outside! But given that I would much prefer a real tree that can be used for many Christmases and not just one, I grow it in a large pot so that it can be brought in and decorated each year in December. In January it's taken back outside (gradually) and spends 11 months a year in closer to it's natural conditions, in the garden. Click the above link to read how I acclimatise mine to coming indoors, and going back out again, and keep it happy enough that it doesn't drop too many of it's needles.
 
Christmas tree Plants indoors for winter Green Fingered Blog
Christmas tree waiting to come inside
So while I've been moving pots inside, what have you been up to in your garden this week. Leave a comment below, and remember to visit The Propagator to find out what everyone else has been doing.

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4 comments:

  1. One year long ago I bought a small Christmas tree which I intended to plant outdoors following the holiday. I followed instructions with great care....and failed. The plant died. That was in Ontario, Canada. I now grow a Norfolk pine indoors year round. THAT is our tree now!

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    1. What a shame that didn't work out. Now that you have one in a pot hopefully it will last and you can give it time outside for part of the year maybe?

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  2. The scented leaf pelargonia are new to me & immediately added to my Wanted list, before reading the rest of your blog. Then you showed the fruit scented sage! Will definitely look for the black currant scented one. A very nice collection of six you have, especially for this time of year.

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    1. Thanks Lora, it's been so mild this autumn that things like pelargoniums have lasted really well, it's only recently they've needed to come in, that's how they still look so good. To rub sage leaves and smell blackcurrant or pineapple is just so remarkable, they are well worth growing, hope you can get one - probably in the spring - they are often available at shows, I got many of mine at RHS Cardiff.

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