Can I keep perennials from my garden in pots over the winter? What is the best soil to use?
I will be moving soon and want to take a few plants with me. they will need to be in pots until I can plant them in the spring. Can I put them in pots and what is the best soil to use? I plan on planting the whole pot in the ground over the winter.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Any good potting soil can be used with containerized perennials.
The general consensus seems to be that the best way to overwinter containerized perennials is to take the entire pot and bury it in the ground. This way, the roots are protected like they would be if the plants were actually planted in the garden. Just be sure not to leave the pot in the ground too long in the spring or the roots will start to grow out the drainage holes, anchoring the pot into the ground.
You can overwinter them by moving the pots into a cold frame or unheated garage for the winter after the first hard frost. Since all perennials require a period of dormancy or a cold treatment to bloom, don't overwinter them in a greenhouse or other warm place where they will not go dormant.
If you are overwintering your containers outside, place a grouping of pots as close together as possible in a sheltered site on the ground. This way, the pots can absorb the heat and moisture from the soil. The east side of the house typically is a good spot. Do not overwinter the containers on pavement or any other surface (such as a deck) raised above ground level. Containerized perennials left exposed on higher levels during the winter have little chance of overwintering successfully.
You'll need to cover the pots with some sort of insulating material. Try mounding leaves or evergreen boughs on top of the pots, followed by a thick layer of snow. If snow is not reliable in your area, use an insulating blanket made expressly for this purpose. You can also try wrapping the pots themselves in some sort of insulating material for extra protection.