Over wintering tropicals


Side entrance summer planter.

I decided to try and over winter my Birds of Paradise that I had planted in my side entrance planters. I needed to get them indoors before the frosty weather arrived.

I knew it would be a challenge with the root system but I had to try.



Time to repot the Bird of Paradise.

The red tubers are from the Sweet Potato Vine that shared the planter with the Bird of Paradise.

It’s a good idea to spray the plants with Insecticidal soap before bringing into the home. It will hopefully get rid of any creepy bugs or insects that might be living in the plant!!! 🐛🐜.

Gently pull apart the soil and the roots. The idea is to get rid of as much old soil as possible. The roots will feel as though they have just broken out of a pair of very tight shoes!!


Ready to repot

Prepare a clean pot with a little potting  mix in the bottom. Place the plant as centrally as possible in the pot and fill with more Potting mix.

Place the planter into a saucer, move the plant into its new home and water it well.



Repotted and in it’s new home.


Most tropicals need plenty of light. Monitor how well it’s doing over the first few weeks. The leaves may begin to turn Yellow, but things should sort themselves out eventually.

If you don’t have room to use them as house plants you can store them in the basement and let them go dormant. Just water once a month over the winter. The tricky part is giving them enough light in the early spring to prepare them for summer. But it’s worth a try!

Happy potting!!! 😃








The drama of Sandra’s Window box!

photo (24)

Sandra’s Window Box

It was early Spring when I got a call from Sandra asking if I would make her an arrangement in her beautiful decorative window box.

The summer plants were all ready but it was still a little early. I decided I would make a start and try and be ahead of the game. I worked in my garage and managed to get 6 hanging baskets, 2 urn inserts and Sandra’s window box completed. This was good. I could hold onto them for a while, give them chance to fill in and wait for the chance of frost to be behind us. I was pleased with myself!…

Then it happened!…it snowed!!! May 14th.  Now I couldn’t even put the plants outside to hardened off. That kind of cold was just too much. I tended to my charges for a week or two. Protected them from the elements… All the different ones that we face at that time of year. This is where that saying comes in. It can be 4 different seasons in one day in Ontario!!

Most of the plants seemed to have survived the chilly temps…except for Sandra’s. I had used tropicals. Beautiful caladiums, escargot begonia’s, Rex begonia’s and a fantastical colour of Sun  Patiens. By the end of the first week most of the plants were drooped in a very sad and pathetic looking way. I had to switch the plants. Still determined that Sandra would get this amazing tropical showcase to look at over the summer. I replanted.   The caladiums drooped again. Sandra was patient. I replanted. The caladiums and the sun patiens drooped again. I did a complete redo. Changed the soil and all the plants. No caladiums. No Sun Patiens. Begonia’s, begonias, lobelia and begonia’s!!!

It took awhile. But finally the combination of stronger plants and warm stable weather, won the day.




Sandra’s window box. September







Summer round up

Ornate window box

Ornate window box

Sandra's window Box

Sandra’s window Box

King Tut starting out!

King Tut starting out!

Papyrus Grass. King Tut!

Papyrus Grass. King Tut!

The first picture is Sandra’s window box. It was one of my Early Custom pieces for the summer. I had a request from a lady asking if I could do a gift certificate for a very dear friend of hers. It was to be a very special anniversary gift.
I was totally honored and thought what a great thing to do for all involved.
When I was making up the window box, it was a very warm week. Lovely to be working outdoors in early May.
I called Sandra to see if she would like her window box for the early long weekend, in case she was entertaining. Sandra asked if I had seen the weather forecast for the up coming week. I hadn’t but quickly went to check..day time temps, not sooooo bad, night time temps 1 degree celcius!!!…WHHHAT?

The weather throughout May continued to be very perculiar. I put off some jobs, which meant I had a lot of catching up to do, but I wanted to be safe from the chilly weather. Tropicals and tender annuals were not going to enjoy that cold.
Sandra eventually received her gift and 6 weeks later the window box has filled in nicely (2nd photo)

June was also a perculiar month. Much more rain than usual. I was worried that some of the containers I had made up for people were going to rot. But it seems the rain hasn’t affected the plants.

You can see from the 4th photo…(Sorry. the photos won’t go where I want them to go!! ;-#) The King Tut Papyrus grass, doesn’t mind the rain in the least. It loves it. Must grow an inch a day. I’m not sure if I particularly like it in this arrangement. It was more of a trail to see what conditions it liked…but you can see from the first photo, of the day I planted this, how much it has grown in ONE month!!!

It’s round about this time of the season that some early planted annuals will be getting leggy now. Don’t be shy. Give them a hair cut. Make sure they are well watered, dried out plants make them targets for insects and diseases. Once you have the watering figured out, give them a feed. 15-30-15 plant food. I use slow release fertilizer when I make up my containers, but by this time, they could use an extra shot! Doing this now, will get them through August and hopefully into September.

Take a look through my summer gallery to see what other creations I came up with.