Now the temperature is dropping, the tender and heat-loving plants in your garden will definitely need some extra TLC. That’s why it’s important to know what plants to bring inside for overwintering.
If you’re not sure what overwintering is, it’s essentially the process of looking after your plants during the winter months. But while some plants will benefit from the best plant covers for winter, there are others that desperately need the warmth of the indoors to survive the colder period.
To help you understand which plants in your garden need to be transported inside, we’ve asked the experts for advice on the 7 plants you need to bring inside in November.
7 plants to bring inside now
‘Here in the UK, November is often the first month that we see almost freezing temperatures, as well as plenty of frost that can damage plants that aren't designed to survive the winter outside. As well as this, there's much less sunlight in November, meaning even fewer plants can survive outdoors,’ explains Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench. So, add bringing these plants inside to your list of gardening jobs to do in November.
Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field and has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. Steve is a keen educator and loves to share this knowledge with others. He strives to simplify complex garden practices and encourage eco-friendly gardening.
1. Canna lilies
With their big, bold leaves and their equally impressive flowers, canna lilies are a welcome addition to any garden.
But no matter if you have these blooms planted into your garden borders or you want to know how to overwinter canna lilies in pots, the best way to prepare these plants for the winter months is to bring them inside in November as these heat-loving plants struggle to survive the cold temperatures.
Harry Bodell, gardening expert at PriceYourJob.co.uk, says, ‘Canna lilies are beautiful but tender plants, and the bulbs should be lifted to protect them from the winter frosts.’
Ideally, cannas shouldn’t be exposed to temperatures below 12°C - and they definitely shouldn’t be exposed to frost. So, it’s best to transport them inside for overwintering. But Harry does add, ‘For areas that experience only mild winters, it may be possible to leave the canna lily bulbs in the ground and cover them with organic mulch for protection.'
Begonias may be beautiful, but they’re extremely tender plants. They have very little frost tolerance, which is why they’re some of the most important plants to bring inside in November. If they’re exposed to the smallest amount of frost or cold weather, it’s highly likely that they won’t survive the winter.
Steve explains, ‘Many varieties of begonias, such as rex begonias, tuberous begonias, and cane begonias, should be moved indoors before temperatures drop below freezing. They should be overwintered as houseplants until they can be moved back outside in spring.’
As a tip for how to overwinter begonias to ensure these blooms are in the best position next spring Harry says, ‘Remember to replace most of the compost in spring to ensure good growth and plenty of flowers.’
One of the biggest succulent care mistakes someone can make is leaving their succulents outside over the winter months. After all, these plants usually grow in hot and dry deserts - which is very different to the British winter.
That doesn’t mean that you have to bring all of the succulents in your succulent garden inside in November, either. ‘Some succulents are hardy enough to survive outdoors all year round,’ explains Steve. And if you have sempervivums, sedum stonecrop, or delosperma succulents, you should be able to get away with leaving them outside.
However, you should bring the likes of cacti or potted succulents inside in November to protect them from excessive moisture and frost.
No garden border would be complete without some dahlias. These stunning in-ground perennials add colour and fragrance to your garden, but they are extremely tender. They’re not frost-tolerant and won’t be able to survive the winter without some human intervention.
November is a great time to bring your dahlias inside, as the weather is just starting to turn, but the frost hasn’t quite arrived yet. Of course, bringing dahlias inside does take a little more legwork as they’re planted in-ground. But Monty Don's top tip for how to overwinter dahlias is to lift the tubers by waiting until the top has fully died back, cut the top growth to 6 inches while still in the ground and carefully dig them up.
Did you know that there are two types of fuchsias? There are hardy fuchsias, which are normally planted in-ground, and then there are tender fuchsias, which are normally planted in containers and in hanging baskets.
While it’s important to know when to prune fuchsias, it’s also important to know what to do with them during the winter period. And experts suggest you bring your tender fuchsias inside.
‘Fuchsias also need protection from frost, so it's a good idea to bring them inside in November,’ explains Steve. ‘They should be pruned and kept in a cool, well-lit location throughout the winter months to ensure they're happy and healthy.’
6. Citrus trees
Whether you’ve successfully grown a lemon tree from seed or you bought an orange tree from the garden centre, you need to take proper care of your citrus trees if you want them to fruit year after year. This is especially important during the winter months, as these trees aren’t generally hardy in the UK and much prefer warmer climates.
While you could do this by covering them in a plant protector, this might not be enough to help them survive the winter and could even harm the development of the fruit next year. So, it’s best to bring citrus trees inside in November.
Steve comments that the placement of your citrus tree inside is important, too. ‘Make sure to place them by a window so they can get a lot of natural light,’ he says.
If you don't have space to bring your citrus tree inside, this is the next best thing. Keep your plants as cosy and insulated as possible by popping a fleece jacket over the top when temperatures really drop. You can leave on for winter, or just take on and off when desired.
If you’re on a mission to be more self-sufficient, or you just love the challenge of growing your own produce, you might be lucky enough to have your own herb garden. But while this herb garden may have thrived during the warm summer months, it’s a good idea to give it some TLC during the winter.
‘Many herbs are tender and just don't cope well in cold and freezing temperatures,’ says Steve. ‘Herbs such as basil, parsley, and coriander should be potted and brought indoors, where they can be harvested throughout the winter.’
It’s best to keep these herbs somewhere light and bright, which is why windowsills or warm conservatories are the perfect places for a winter herb garden.
What plants to bring in over winter?
Plants can usually be separated into two categories: hardy and tender. Hardy plants can usually withstand the cold temperatures of winter, but tender plants are usually much more vulnerable. This means that they may not survive the colder months without being brought inside.
Examples of tender plants that need to be brought inside over winter include fuchsias, dahlias, and begonias. November is often the best time to bring plants in for overwintering, as the temperature starts to drop, but the first frost normally hasn’t arrived just yet.
However, the exact time will depend on how the year has progressed. If we have a particularly early onslaught of cold weather, you should bring your plants in earlier. But if we have a warmer year, you might be able to leave them outside for longer.
What is the best plant to plant in November?
Although November is a time to bring your plants in for winter, you can also plant many plants in November, too. In fact, November is the best time to plant bare root trees, which are a cheaper and easier alternative to potted trees.
If you don’t have the space for bare root trees, you can also plant various forms of winter vegetables, including kale, carrots, and purple-sprouting broccoli.
And if you’re looking to add some colour to your winter garden, November is also the perfect time to plant snowdrops, tulip bulbs, winter pansies, and more.
So, if you haven’t brought these plants inside yet, make sure you add this task to your to-do list before November is over.
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Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.
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