Winter Storage of Tender Perennials

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We often purchase wonderful perennials that are not hardy to our zone and allow them to die in the winter, only to buy new ones the following spring.  I'm a frugal gardener so saving a few dollars here and there, so I have more money to buy plants, is the only way I garden.  Here are the most common spring purchased plants that can be over wintered with just a few short steps.  By over wintering these garden beauties, you could save a bundle in just the first year!

 

BegoniasTuberous (Begonia xtuberhybrida):  Although container-grown plants can be brought to have as a houseplant, storing them for next year's garden is also possible.  Cure the tubers for storage by placing them in a warm, dry location for a few weeks to dry.  When dry, shake the soil off and remove stalks and any roots that are damaged or could potentially cause rot to the tubers in storage.  Finally place the tubers in a paper bag, box or container filled with sphagnum moss, sand, sawdust or vermiculite and store the begonias in a cool, dry location like a basement or garage that doesn't freeze but remains cool.

Caladium (Caladium xhortulanum):  After the leaves have died back in the fall, dig the tubers and place them in a warm, dry place to allow them to dry out for a couple of weeks.  When dry, shake the soil off and remove stalks and any roots that are damaged or could potentially cause rot to the tubers in storage.  Finally place the tubers in a paper bag, box or container filled with sphagnum moss, sand, sawdust or vermiculite and store the caladium in a cool, dry location like a basement or garage that doesn't drop below 50ºF but remains cool.

Calla Lilies (Zandedeschia spp.): After first frost has caused damage to the leaves, dig the rhizomes and place them in a warm, dry place to allow them to dry out for a couple of weeks. When dry, shake the soil off and remove stalks to about 2 to 3" above the rhizome.  Finally place the calla liies in a paper bag, box or container filled with sphagnum moss, sand, sawdust or vermiculite and store them in a cool, dry location like a basement or garage that doesn't drop below 45ºF but remains cool.

Canna (Canna xgeneralis): After the first killing frost After a killing frost, dig the rhizomes and place them in a warm, dry place to allow them to dry out for a day or two. When dry, shake the soil off and remove stalks to about 4" above the rhizome.  Finally place the canna rhizomes in a paper bag, box or container filled with sphagnum moss, sand, sawdust or vermiculite and store them in a cool, dry location like a basement or garage that doesn't drop below 35ºF but remains cool.

Dahlias (Dahlia hybrids): After the first killing frost, cut off the top of the plant and dig the tubers, removing as much soil as possible by gently washing them. You can write the cultivar name on them with a marker at this time if desired.  Place them in a warm, dry place to allow them to dry out for a few hours. When your dahlias dry to the touch remove stalks and then place them upside-down (this allows any remain moisture to drain) in a paper bag, box or container filled with sphagnum moss, sand, sawdust or vermiculite and store them in a cool, dry location like a basement or garage that doesn't drop below 50ºF but remains cool.

Gladiolus (Gladiolus hybrids): After the leaves have yellowed, dig the corms and place them in a warm, dry place to allow them to dry out for a week. When dry, shake the soil off and remove stalks to about 3" above the corm and remove the old mother corm that sits at the bottom of the new corm.  Treat your gladiolus with fungicide at this time if desired.  Finally place nylon stockings or a vented sack to allow further drying and store in a cool dry loaction that does not drop below 45ºF but remains cool.