Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Overwintering follow-up report

Before I get completely caught up in summer (fingers crossed) I should do a follow up on my overwintering experiments. This was the first year I tried to overwinter Ensete maurelii (actually that’s not true…there was the year I stuck one in our unheated detached garage, but that was a complete failure). So this is the first year I did it right…

Last fall I dug up the two plants I had in the ground, cut back their leaves and wrapped them up in newspaper (loosely based on the instructions of Joseph at Greensparrow Gardens). Then I forgot about them. Here is what they looked like in early April when I unwrapped them. Signs of life! Here they are after I potted them up; the odd angle comes from the fact that after wrapping they were tossed into a metal basket which bent them a bit. Here is one of them a couple of days ago (on the right), joined by another Ensete which was overwintered in the small container it had been growing in. It was small enough that I hauled it to the basement and let it spend the winter there. It was down to one healthy leaf by the time it went outside but hey, at least it was alive! I also attempted to overwinter the Colocasia and Alocasia I had in containers, pulling them into the basement and keeping them wet with a little light. They all lived, but surprisingly the Alocasia thrived, I think it looks better now than ever before! The rest of them are slowly responding as the temperatures warm. I’ll do this again next year as it beats buying replacements. Finally in case I haven’t officially reported on the success of the shade pavilion all wrapped and acting as a greenhouse, it was hugely successful. We used a small space heater on the nights the temperature dipped dangerously low. Outside were nights in the mid teens but inside it only briefly dipped below freezing. Not bad! Everything thrived and the only near death was from a plant I forgot to water. That’s the problem with growing so many succulents; you forget other plants need a little more water!

Oh and the best part…the shade pavilion is back to being just that. Memories of its greenhouse days are already starting to fade as the long days of summer stretch out ahead…


  1. very cool Loree! My own Ensete maurelii was potted up and put in the unheated garage with no natural light, and it did fine, now it just needs to survive my toddler out in the garden.

    That shade pavilion is such a good idea! I might have to try something similar in the years to come.

  2. Wow, never have seen that shade structure before - now, I must figure out how make the Seattle blogger-fiesta, and carve out another 2 days for "PDX"!

    Peligro = danger
    Espinoso = spiny
    Something to ponder over some Oregon microbrews, cheese, and salmon, while staring out at your garden. Peligroso (dangeroyus)!

  3. Yay! I love it when plants make it. Then I can allocate more of my budget to NEW plants!

  4. AnonymousJune 08, 2011

    I have had _terrible_ luck with Alocasia as a houseplant and am very impressed by the overwintering. Excellent!

  5. Congrats on your successes. Do you remember that little dwarf banana I bought at Fry Road when the two of us were there together? I can't recall its genus/species but I do remember you saying it was marginally hardy. Well I left it in a pot outside all winter and it's coming back. Also in the pot were a dahlia and a salvia. All three made it. I'm psyched. :)

  6. So glad your endeavors paid off...and now you get to enjoy the fruits of your labors in the shade pavilion...which looks pretty rad!

  7. My el-cheapo pop-up greenhouse was great this winter too, except for the GD snails. I love success !

  8. So cool they all over-wintered! Now I'm ready to try keeping my new Ensete maurelii over winter. Do you think it's better to pot it and bring inside, or grow in the garden and dig it later. I do want it to get as large as possible this year!

  9. Ahh well done Loree! A result on the Maurellii and especially the Colo/Alocasias, they can be so tricky to overwinter without going dormant at least.

    I do like your shade Pavilion, so ornamental and a nice seating area in the summer too!

  10. Deb, agreed.

    Ryan, is your garage at least attached to your house? Ours is not, it's as cold in there as outside...but no wind.

    DD, I hope you can make it! And thank you for the new words...

    Greensparrow, funny that is EXACTLY what I was thinking!

    Patricia, thank you! The weird thing is I saw it everyday all winter long and it wasn't until just a couple of days before I took them all outside that I really looked at it and realized how fabulous it looked!

    Grace, yay! I think it was a Chinese Yellow Banana or Musella lasiocarpa. I bought one too but no sign of mine yet (it's in the ground). Good for you! I am wishing I would have bought several of the tiny Callistemon I bought that day (I only got 1) it sailed through the winter!

    Thanks Scott!

    ks, it was the slugs for me. I found and dispatched quite a few of the nasty buggers.

    MulchMaid, I'd go with in the ground and dig it later. Of course some sun and heat would help too...

    Mark and Gaz, the sun can really beat down on the patio in the summer so it is nice to have a shady area to escape too!

  11. I lurve (excuse...saw a Woody Allen flick last night) your pavilion. We need to re-engineer our covered deck because it gets too hot to enjoy during high summer.

  12. After wrapping in newspaper, where did you keep the plant for the winter?


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