Questions of the Week: October 22, 2020

Here are questions that are coming up repeatedly lately.

Tropical hibiscus will be damaged or lost when temperatures drop below freezing.

“Should I trim my bougainvillea and hibiscus plants back before I put them into the garage for the winter?”

Yes. Reshape them into more manageable form before you try to bring them inside. But, no for the garage. Garages are usually too dark and too cold for tropicals to survive. If you’re able to put the plants on plant dollies and move them in and out on warm days, that would help. Otherwise, a sunroom or greenhouse would be highly preferable. Or, as many of us do, treat them as annuals and replace them next year.

Continued Below

Can caladiums survive the winter out in your landscape?

“How should I handle my caladiums over the winter?”

Most gardeners try saving their caladium tubers. They do so one time, then they decide that the effort is too great and the rewards are far too small. If you want to give it a go, allow their tops to die naturally, then dig them before a hard freeze and lay them on newspapers in the garage. Let them dry for a couple of days, then place them in shallow boxes filled with dry sawdust or perlite. Dust them with sulfur, making sure no two of the tubers touch one another. Store them at 65 degrees indoors, and wait until mid-April to plant them into the ground again.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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