Subscribe -- FREE!
Shel Horowitz's monthly Clean and Green Newsletter
Receive these exciting bonuses: Seven Tips to Gain Marketing Traction as a Green Guerrilla plus Seven Weeks to a Greener Business
( Privacy Policy )

Closing Up Your Container Garden

All good things eventually come to an end and so summer is waning, even as autumn gives most of us a fresh start. I'll bet your summer container plantings aren't really benefiting, though, from the "back to school-oh I love a clean notebook" boost and aren't dying as gracefully as summer itself is. You're going to have to help them through this!

Saving Summer

I understand if you just can't bear the thought of waving good-bye to your wave petunias just yet. That's okay - you can bring some of your tropical annuals indoors for the winter, to ease the pain of parting with them.

If you have the space, a sunny window and enough moisture, you can save palms, ferns and other tropicals. Likely though, you'll have more success with taking cuttings and helping your plants clone themselves. (It's kind of like Day of the Triffids without the evil.)

Pick a healthy plant with no nasty bugs or blights. With a sharp knife, cut off non-flowering stems 3-4 inches (8-11 cm) long, and strip the leaves off the lower two-thirds of the stem. Dip the cut edges in rooting hormone, available at your local nursery, and stick them in dampened sand or peat moss, or a glass of tap water. Place the pot, tray or glass in a sunny spot and wait 3-4 weeks. If the cuttings are in sand or peat, don't forget to water to keep them damp throughout that time.

When the roots are at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, you can plant them in potting soil in attractive containers and winter them on a sunny windowsill or table. This method works well with annuals such as geraniums (pelargonium), coleus, and some ivies. You can also try propagating impatiens this way.

Cleaning Up

Now that you've rescued what you can, get ruthless and empty all of your other outdoor containers. If you have a compost heap, chop up the remains and toss them there. Soil too! This is particularly important if you've been using terracotta or ceramic containers, as the moisture in the soil will expand when it freezes and you'll end up with cracked pots. (If there are any crackpots around my house, I want them to be of the human variety!)

Next, wash out the empty containers to remove any disease and fungal spores. If your terracotta pots have a white build-up from water, potting soil and fertilizer chemicals, soak them for 24 hours in white vinegar and water with some baking soda added. Then scrub them with a stiff brush in warm soapy water. Rinse thoroughly.

Air or sun dry the containers and then stack them with layers of newspaper between each. If you have a spot to store them where they won't freeze over the winter months, all the better. If not, as long as you've made certain the pots are dry and well layered with paper, they should be fine until the spring.

Now you're ready to put on a show of fall color. I can tell you EVERYTHING you need to know. Check under "Fall Planting Tips" on the free articles page of my webs-site.

Debbie Rodgers, the haven maven, owns and operates Paradise Porch, and is dedicated to helping people create outdoor living spaces that nurture and enrich them. Her latest how-to guide "Attracting Butterflies to Your Home and Garden" is now available on her web site. Visit her at http://www.paradiseporch.com and get a free report on "Eight easy ways to create privacy in your outdoor space".


Share this article/site with a Friend
Share/Bookmark


  
Bookmark Us




Many of the 1,000+ articles on Frugal Fun and Frugal Marketing have been gathered into magazines. If you'd like to read more great content on these topics, please click on the name of the magazine you'd like to visit.

Ethics Articles - Down to Business Magazine - Frugal & Fashionable Living Magazine
Global Travel Review - Global Arts Review - Peace & Politics Magazine
Frugal Marketing Tips - Frugal Fun Tips - Positive Power of Principled Profit

Clean and Green Marketing

Our Privacy Policy


Disclosures of Material Connections:
  • Some of the links on our site and items in our newsletters are sponsored ads or affiliate links. This financial support allows us to bring you the consistent high quality of information and constant flow of new content. Please thank our advertisers if you do business with them.
  • As is the case for most professional reviewers, many of the books I review on this site have been provided by the publisher or author, at no cost to me. I've also reviewed books that I bought, because they were worthy of your time. And I've also received dozens of review copies at no charge that do not get reviewed, either because they are not worthy or because they don't meet the subject criteria for this column, or simply because I haven't gotten around to them yet, since I only review one book per month. I have far more books in my office than I will ever read, and the receipt of a free book does not affect my review.

Site copyright © 1996-2011 by Shel Horowitz