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Overwintering potted plants: How to do it right for evergreen, deciduous and Mediterranean species.

Not all potted plants are the same, because while some make it through the winter quite well outside with the right winter protection, others need it a little warmer and more protected. Today we summarize for you which plant species prefer which conditions and how you can properly protect against frost. This is how you can overwinter your potted plants – both indoors and outdoors.

Evergreen, deciduous, exotic – the type of plant really does matter

Overwintering evergreen potted plants - this location and temperature they need

Based on foliage or origin alone, you can determine which type of winter quarters is best for your potted plants – in a cool room or protected outside.

Evergreen potted plants overwinter under the right conditions

Aside from the fact that most species can’t tolerate temperatures below 5 degrees when you’re in a pot, the wrong location will also cause them to sprout “incorrectly” and take on an unattractive shape. Vergeilung is called this . Therefore, sprouting should be prevented by giving the plant its well-deserved winter rest. The location for this purpose should not be too warm, but bright.

  • cellars, winter gardens, garages, staircases, greenhouses
  • bright and cool (temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees) – the cooler, the darker it may be
  • ventilate regularly in mild weather
  • keep humidity high enough (e.g. place bowls with water)

Note: There are some evergreen plant species that can tolerate a few degrees less. However, the temperature should still not drop below zero. These species include, for example:

  • Spicebark
  • Myrtle
  • Star jasmine
  • Woolly medlar
  • Cylinderwort

Note: There are also evergreen plants that do not know winters in their native countries (exotic and Mediterranean). For these specimens, the above conditions do not apply, so you should divide the evergreen plants again.

Wintering of plants that lose their foliage.

Overwintering deciduous potted plants - angel trumpet in a dark and cool place

The falling leaves can make many a mess indoors, so a good idea is to combine stowing the plant right away with the necessary pruning. This way, you’ll reduce the dry leaves indoors afterwards. Otherwise, the room can not be too dark. For this, however, the temperatures should then also be right. If they are too high, this will stimulate the plant to sprout new shoots, which will not only disturb its winter dormancy, but in the absence of light, these new shoots will not be able to develop well and will die sooner or later.

The right winter protection for Mediterranean and exotic plants.

Mediterranean plants also like it milder in the winter quarters

Mediterranean and exotic plant species do not know winter and therefore do not like it too cool. Some of the specimens also do not shed their foliage, so a dark location for the winter quarters is not a good choice (for example, if you overwinter an oleander ). The lack of light would cause the leaves to fall off sooner or later. Cool, but not too cold it should be, but also slightly higher temperatures are allowed.

  • temperatures of at least 10 degrees
  • bright location
  • do not put on the heater

While some more robust varieties are not immediately damaged at temperatures below 10 degrees (eg, olive tree, agapanthus, fig, oleander tolerate up to minus 5 degrees), this figure is the hard limit for others. For example, hibiscus, sky flower, mallow and ornamental banana belong to them. By then at the latest, they should definitely go into winter quarters. From October onwards, bougainvillea, dipladenia, palms, fuchsias, citrus plants such as the lemon tree and wood anemones should also be moved to warmer quarters.

Which potted plants also overwinter successfully outdoors?

As robust as many plants may be outdoors – if they are in a container, they become much more sensitive. However, you can overwinter outside the plants that are not hardy in this case, properly protecting them from frost. You can overwinter the following potted plants outside, among others:

  • Boxwood
  • Stonecrop
  • Funkia
  • Hydrangeas
  • Roses
  • Ornamental grasses

Overwintering potted plants outside - The right winter protection for pot and plant


Protect not only the tub, that is, the root ball, but also the above-ground parts of the plant. Styrofoam and pine greenery, for example, are a variant, while the plant can be covered with fleece. This protects against frost, but allows enough light to the plant (especially important for evergreen species). Also, choose a location away from direct sunlight, as the temperature differences caused by the warm rays of the sun and the subsequent cold night are very harmful to the plants.

Winterize potted plants and care for them properly

Bright cellars, garages or winter gardens are suitable for overwintering

Location and temperature are one thing. But also in terms of care, there is a lot to consider so that your favorites come through the winter well. What should you consider regarding care when overwintering potted plants?

Proper watering is important

Overwinter potted plants in a light or dark place depending on the species


Of course, watering is important during the other seasons as well, but the difference is in the amount. Plants only need enough to keep the root ball from drying out, otherwise you risk root rot and encourage pest infestations. Always check first that the top layer of soil is dry. Then you can water. Usually once a week is enough.

When should potted plants be pruned – before or after winter?

Before you overwinter potted plants you can cut some

After all, we have already mentioned that for deciduous plants it is advantageous to prune before winter, simply to avoid the many leaves on the ground. In general, though, late winter is the perfect time to do it. Indeed, at this time the plant is about to wake up due to the increasingly mild weather, and this makes the wound healing more effective. So it’s best to wait until February.

In any case, you should still perform a maintenance pruning before winter . In the process, remove everything that has dried up or looks sick.

Protect root balls of potted plants from frost outside