Coming In From the Cold

Have you ever missed seeing your favorite flower bloom to its full potential because of the weather in the Chicagoland area?  I completely sympathize!  Last year, I experimented by bringing one of my favorites (Cannas) indoors to see if it would grow better indoors during the colder months.  It did, but not as much as I would have liked since I only have one small window facing the sun and it’s a tropical flower, needing high sun exposure.  This year, I’m going to try bringing another of my favorites indoors (the dahlia) to see if it will continue to grow and flourish through the winter months.

I absolutely love the dahlia.  If you’ve checked the 4 Seasons Facebook page in the past few months, you may have noticed my many dahlia photos.  This year I have the yellow and pink variety of dahlia and it has grown in beautifully.

In the past, I’ve just let my dahlias grow on their own, however they chose.  They are a top heavy plant, so to my dismay, the stalk would begin to rot over the course of the summer as it would lean over and rest on the ground.  I had a little extra time on my hands with the extreme heat this summer, so I took the opportunity to experiment.

I first staked it with a tomato stake – the kind that have numerous holes.  When it go too heavy for the stake, I tied it gently with garden rope – tight enough to fix it to the stake, but gentle enough not to hurt the stalk.  It grew over 5 feet tall!  Check out our Facebook photos to see it for yourself!

Now that the cold weather has arrived, I took it out of the soil and will attempt to grow it inside.  My hope is that it will bloom all winter long, bringing the beauty of spring and summer to my home even when it’s snowing out.

Like many, I take great joy in the beautiful colors of spring, summer and fall and have a hard time when the stark white of winter takes their place.  To help ease winter’s gloom, I have begun bringing my plants indoors once it begins to get cold.  So far, I have brought in my asparagus ferns, a variety of geraniums, a variety of coleus, Norfolk pine and my Rex begonia.

Asparagus Fern (needs full sun)

Geraniums (right)

Rex Begonia, Coleus, Large Scented Geranium (left to right)

My other large scented geranium

Norfolk Pine

Things I’ve Learned Over the Years:

  • Make sure your containers have holes for water drainage, drilling a couple at the bottom if necessary.
  • Hybrid geraniums don’t thrive as well inside as the commonly colored geraniums (pinks, reds and whites).
  • Many plants thrive better in a pot with a variety of other plants – They look prettier that way too!
  • Remove them from the outdoor container, gently wash down the roots and replant them in an indoor container to avoid bringing in any bugs.
  • Use new container soil and put them by a window that gets a lot of direct sunlight.
  • Start out slowly.  If this is your first time, try just one or two of your favorites and slowly build each year as you are comfortable.

 

Stay tuned for next month’s newsletter where we’ll talk about complimenting your plant selection with your room color or vice versa.

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