Question of the Week Number 1: December 14, 2017

“Neil, can I keep a bougainvillea in my garage over the winter?”

It’s usually too dark and too cold in garages for plants like tropical hibiscus, crotons, citrus and bougainvilleas to survive extended stays. If you have access to a greenhouse or sunroom, those would be far better.

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Trim the plant as needed to fit the space you have for it. But if it has to stay in the garage, keep it at 60F if at all possible and put it near the brightest window you have. Move it outdoors on warm, sunny days. Give it only enough water to keep it alive and kicking. Wait until spring to apply any fertilizer.

If the plant is lethargic about growing come spring consider buying a new plant. There’s something about over-wintering plants in a garage (especially in the northern half of the state where they have to stay inside much more of the time) that leaves them pretty well weakened.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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