Friday, October 28, 2016

Moving the Tropical Plants For the Winter

As if the chill in the air and shorter days weren't hints enough, the two threats of frost made me realize it was time I get my act together and move all of the tropicals in for the winter.

I love both the challenge of growing tropical plants in the north, as well as the exotic addition they bring to the garden. Though the plants spend more time in the "winter garden" than they do at "summer camp", nurturing them and watching them grow all through the summer and learning what they need to survive the winter is, to me, a fascinating process. Though not as major an undertaking as this, the process of prepping, moving, and making everything fit is still a bit labor intensive.

Next I need to move the figs...

Agave, agapanthus, and a few bird of paradise already getting covered in leaves. All of the leaves, spider webs, and any other "hitch hikers" need to be removed before moving into the house.

The agave collection is always growing. These were just two little pups bulled from one of the plants last fall at this time. They already need repotted!

And there are more pups on the way! 

They are beginning to look more like their parent.

These little guys have tight, fleshy leaves that love catching debris.

All cleaned up! The agave at top right is an older plant than the one at top left, but has not been growing well. I might give him a repotting and new dirt and see if that helps. The agave at the bottom of  the picture is brand new and not even out of it's plastic pot. Now I just need to find one of the giant blueish agave americanas to add to the collection.

Before bringing anything inside we also make sure to spray everything with a neem oil mix that is an insecticide, fungicide, and miticide. The papaya was ready to get out of the chilly air.

For fear of ant colonies, the rosemary I pulled from the pots, gave them a root check, and repotted. They are moving to South Calhoun for the winter.

The agapanthus is another one that needs to get checked out. Several years ago one was brought in and it was like someone had knocked over an ant farm. They need repotted.

My Super Dwarf Cavendish banana plant has grown so much. When it arrived from Logee's I believe it was in a 4" or 6" pot.

Bananas flower and fruit once and then die, so it's a good thing that they reproduce easily. One dies and there are two more to take it's place. There are enough here, however, that I've thought about splitting the pot. I'll probably wait until the spring.

Such a handsome fella.

This elephant ear that was planted in a pot in the Hydrangea Border went crazy this year.

As I went to pull him out, however, I realized he wasn't double planted like the others. I had to go grab a shovel. 

Keeping the colocasia and alocasia in plastic pots makes it easier to move them at the end of the year. The pot just gets pulled up, hosed off, and in we go! I messed up this year and planted the alocasia (the one with the upright leaves) in too much sun. Alocasia like shade and dry-ish conditions, while colocasia (common elephant ears) want full sun and can be grown in water.

Inside a few pots of neglected amaryllis were given a deep drink of water. We will see if they do anything.

Slowly filling up. The smallest bedroom at my mom and dads' house has unobstructed southern light. Here everything survives, if not thrives. We still need room for the figs and the jasmine and the scented geraniums. Then we will be set for the freeze!