Black Country Bugle
SPOTLIGHT ON: AUTUMN POTS
Autumn is viewed with trepidation by fans of container gardening. All those pots of lilies, herbaceous flowers and summer bulbs, not to mention shrubs or patio roses, are going into winter dormancy mode.
The easiest dormant pots to deal with are shrubs. Evergreen kinds make great background foliage for winter bedding so simply regroup the lot in a sheltered corner and raise the pots up on bricks to improve drainage. Alternatively, push them close together and pack bark chippings around the pots. Drape horticultural fleece over the top.
Hardy deciduous shrubs (including patio roses) are best rounded up and stored in a group down the garden. Dig a trench in your veg patch and sink the pots to their rims. The surrounding soil will keep plants watered and insulated from frost.
Herbaceous plants and hardy bulbs such as lilies are also best moved to a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. The pots that need special attention are those containing dormant roots or bulbs that aren’t hardy, such as chocolate cosmos, and hedychium.
Leave them in their pots in the original compost. Allow the plants to dry out by reducing watering as the leaves turn yellow.
When the tops have withered, cut the dry, dead foliage just above the rims of the pots. Stand them in a cold greenhouse, conservatory or shed.
If the weather turns so cold they risk freezing, move them indoors until the danger is over. Then start them back into growth next spring with a light watering around mid-march.