Overwintering Plants Inside

Due to New England’s cold winters, many plants that could live outside year-round in warmer states either die or require overwintering inside to survive. (Plants must be in containers if they are indoors for the winter.) Start the transition inside sooner rather than later so your less-hardy plants will acclimate to the temperature change with little stress. Remember, there is no guarantee that your plants will survive inside over the winter. Some prefer being indoors, but the lack of light and humidity in your home can make it difficult for others to live. It is best to only overwinter healthy plants.


Hardy Plants to Overwinter Indoors:

Annuals - Coleus, Black and Blue Salvia, Geraniums, Dusty Miller, Begonias, Oxalis, and New Guinea Impatiens

Tropicals - Canna Lillies, Mandevillas, Hibiscus, Ixora, Cordylines, Alocasia, Banana Palms, and many other tropical plants

Herbs - Basil, Bay, Chervil, Chives, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme, Lemongrass, Mint

(some herbs can be grown inside year-round)


Your plants should be brought indoors before their foliage is damaged by the frost. Before bringing the plants inside they must be placed in a shady area for a few days, kept covered on nights below 40° (50° for tropicals), and thoroughly checked for insects and diseases. Once inside, place your plants in areas with bright light and add humidity occasionally with a spray bottle or mister. Indoor plants can easily be overwatered so only water them when the surface of the soil is dry to the touch. They may lose a portion of their leaves - that's ok, provided they don't lose more than half. Do not fertilize your plants over the winter. Once they begin actively growing in the spring, they will require water-soluble fertilizer, increased amounts of water, and light pruning to encourage branch growth. As temperatures increase, slowly introduce your plants to the outdoors and take proper precautions on cold nights. Be careful not to place them in direct sunlight right away or they may get scorched. Keep in mind that every plant is different and has particular needs so not all plants can be overwintered the same way. If you have specific questions about overwintering your plants, please call us at 860-872-7291, send us an e-mail at info@gardenbarn.com, or stop by the store (228 West Street Vernon, CT).