Winter Plant Checkups

I performed a quick check of the container plants overwintering in the garage, and things are looking good!

by Jessica Walliser
Fig tree sprouting leaves
Photo by Jessica Walliser
My overwintered fig tree is already sprouting leaves.

I performed a quick check of the container plants overwintering in the garage, and things are looking good! I water most of them once or twice through the winter months, so I figured it was a good time for that, as well.

Surprisingly, my fig tree has tiny leaves beginning to emerge. I don’t think that’s an entirely bad thing nor do I think it’s very good. It has never happened before, but the weather has been quite warm here lately (in the 40s and 50s), and I suspect that has something to do with it. I’m considering bringing the plant into the living room or putting it under my grow lights to see what happens. It would be an interesting experiment. Thankfully, my tropical banana tree looks decent as does the lemongrass plant and my begonias.

Mid-February is also a good time to examine overwintering bulbs and tubers for rot and mold. I use a cardboard box filled with peat moss to overwinter elephant-ear bulbs, cannas, caladiums and dahlia tubers. It’s important to periodically check them because if one develops rot, it can quickly spread to the other bulbs and lead to a springtime disaster.

While I was watering my plants, I went ahead and took the bulbs out of the box to check them. The peat moss was bone dry and some of the bulbs and tubers towards the top of the box were looking a little desiccated. I went ahead and spritzed them with water to lightly dampen the peat moss before repacking the bulbs. You have to be very careful not to overwet it, though, or things could move in the opposite direction and the bulbs will turn to mush. I’ll check on them again in a few weeks and hope for the best.

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