Justin W. Hancock

Save Plants from Frost

My ‘Lady Margaret’ passionflower is blooming up a storm, adding a tropical touch to my front porch. Sadly, the weather forecast is predicting temperatures in the 30s next weekend, reminding me that summer has passed.

Happily, passionflowers are pretty easy to keep growing indoors if you have a big, bright window. In fact, you can overwinter a lot of tender plants, including elephant’s ears, geraniums, tropical hibiscus, coleus, and mandevilla.

The key to success is lots of light. Unobstructed south- or west-facing windows are ideal, and the bigger the better. If you don’t have windows that work, you can also set up a shop light inside to host some of your favorite plants. Believe it or not, most will grow just fine without any natural light at all!

One other key thing to watch for if you move plants inside is drafts. Avoid putting plants near drafty doors or windows, and be sure to keep them away from heat vents. Because most tropicals come from humid areas, grouping plants together or using a humidity tray can help keep them from developing brown leaf edges over the winter.

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