Heucheras in pots

(Question)

Hi Master Gardeners !

I have a couple of heucheras in my garden that were not doing well. The locations were hard pack clay, which I’ve been diligently augmenting with cow manure during this season. I dug them up (they were tiny and shriveled) and nursed them back to health. One is “Marmalade” and the other is “Lime Rickey”. They are now in pots and doing very well indeed. As fall / winter approaches, what should I do with these plants I’ve nurtured back to health ?

– bung them back in the garden this Sept / Oct and hope for the best in spring ?

– bring them inside and keep them in a sunny spot to continue growing and then transplant in the spring ?

– or put them in the garage to over-winter, dying back, and then letting them sprout anew in spring before plunking them back in the garden

Help ! and thanks in advance. Attaching a pic – one of the heucheras is in the pot just to the right of the statue on the bench.

(Answer)

Heucheras require moist, well drained, fertile soil that receives partial shade throughout the day. They do not like to sit in water-logged or hard clay soils. Good drainage is imperative. Amending the soil with organic compost increases the drainage and fertility of the soil. To reduce the risk of foliar disease, water during the early morning so any excess moisture can evaporate before evening.

Most perennials require a period of dormancy. However, perennials can be overwintered in containers and  planted next spring. The success to overwintering perennials in containers is dependent on the ability to insulate the roots in the container. Plants grown in containers are exposed to colder temperatures than those grown in the ground and are considered at least 2 zones colder.  Bring inside anything grown in a ceramic pot, and store the container against a wall in the garage (a cold cellar would work). The important thing to remember that plants do dry out and you will need to give them a drink by January or February and monitor them thereafter. Plastic pots can also be dug into the ground. Bury them all the way to the top of the pot and cover with leaves. Once they are in the ground check at the end of fall to make sure that the pot hasn’t heaved up. Plants overwintered this way don’t survive if the pot  is heaved out of the soil due to frost.