Our son brought home a dogwood sapling from school. Since there is a possibility that we may not live at this location in the future and wanted to take his tree to a new home, we planted it in large pot in the spring and it grew nicely. Now, how do we keep it throughout the cold Pennsylvania winter months without planting it in the ground? Will it survive indoors? I assume it needs a dormant period, but above ground in the pot, it most certainly will freeze. Any suggestions?
Wintering Over a Dogwood
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Typically, you should treat a plant in a pot as though it is one zone lower than the one you live in. Many dogwoods are hardy to Zone 3 or 4, depending on the variety. So if you live in Zone 5, the tree in a pot will winter over like it is in Zone 4 and since they can survive Zone 4, it should be fine.
As an extra precaution, move the pot close to a foundation or wall and put either leaves or mulch around the pot. Also, make sure that it is NOT somewhere where it will stay wet all through winter (i.e. under downspouts, places where icicles form and thaw). Water freezing will kill a plant quickly in the winter.