Sub-tropical Gardening in Temperate Areas
Banana, Hardy (Japanese and Chinese): If
planted in the garden or large outdoor containers, wrap trunk for winter with
burlap or bubble wrap to prevent freezing. Prevent water from soaking burlap by
wrapping with an outer layer of plastic sheet. Wrap in late October, unwrap in
early to mid April after last frost. Cut off leaves before wrapping for winter.
Bananas can also be moved indoors to a sunny spot and grown as houseplants.
Canna: Leave plants outside until foliage turns brown in fall. Remove brown foliage and store in pots in dry, cool location over winter. Pots must not be exposed to freezing temperatures. The canna rhizomes can also be dug up, washed and stored in bark mulch in a cool location for the winter.
Costus (Spiral tropical ginger): Plants can be grown indoors as houseplants. Move indoors by mid September. Prefers bright light, direct sunlight is best over the winter. Mist occasionally with water. Room should be above 12* Celsius in temperature. Fertilize about once a month.
Curcuma (ornamental Tumeric): Move pots inside in late September or early October. Plants will go totally dormant for winter. Remove all brown foliage when it dies back. Do not water after moving inside, keep pots totally dry throughout the winter. Move outside in mid to late April. Begin light watering and repot as necessary after green shoots appear in spring. Or plant in the garden in early May.
Ginger, Hardy (Hedychium sp.): If planted in the garden, leave in the ground over the winter but mulch surface with a layer of bark mulch to protect from deep frost. If planted in pots, containers can be moved inside for the winter after the foliage has turned brown. Cut off brown foliage. Keep cool and dry. Move outside in spring, after last frost. Repot in spring or plant in the garden.
Hibiscus, Chinese (tropical): Prefers full sun. Apply fertilizer regularly throughout spring-early fall. Fertilize less in winter, approx. every 2 weeks. Move indoors by late September, never expose to frost. Check leaves and flower buds frequently for aphids, spray with aphicide as necessary. Water frequently, let soil dry out slightly between waterings. Do not over-water to the point that the soil becomes soggy, this will rot the roots.
Palm, Hardy Chinese Windmill Palm: Wrap trunk for winter in late October or early November. Wrap with burlap and cover with plastic to keep dry. Remove wrap in late March or early April.
Palm, Sago Palm: Move indoors for winter to bright location, some direct sun is best. Do not expose to frost. Water over the winter, but let the soil dry out slightly between waterings. Do not apply fertilizer in winter.
Plumeria: Plant care is similar to cactus, prefers sunny location. Move indoors by mid September. Protect from heavy rain to avoid rotting. From spring until late fall, water approx. once a week. Let dry out between waterings. Over-watering will quickly cause rotting. Stop watering in mid November. Plumeria will drop their leaves over the winter. Do not begin watering until new growth appears in spring.
Travellor's Tree: Move inside by mid September. Place in warm, sunny location. Let soil dry out slightly between waterings. Feed at one quarter to half strength with fertilizer dissolved in water. Check for pests, spray with pesticide if necessary.
Water Lilies: Leave in the pond over the winter, at the same depth (approx. 2 feet). In early April, check each pot to see which water lilies are too crowded and need re-potting. Fertilize every 6 weeks over the growing season to maximize flower production. Prefers full sun, all day long.
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