Overwintering Eugenia Topiary

(Question)

Hello, I have 2 Eugenia topiaries on my front porch ( mostly shade). How do I keep them alive through the winter? I do have a small shed and a bit of space in the garage – am afraid of bringing them indoors as I saw some bugs crawling under the pots when I lifted them up a few days ago!! I have 2 kids so that is not going to work indoors!! What is the best solution and what is the very least that I can do to keep them healthy?

Thanks

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(Answer)

Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

That looks like a lovely plant and certainly worth the effort of over wintering.

Eugenia myrtifolia is an evergreen native of Australia. These plants require full sunlight so a shed would probably not be a good solution. Also they are zone 10-11 so do not tolerate cold.

When bringing plants indoors it is always best to repot the plant to ensure you are not bringing insects in with the plants. This will ensure nothing is brought indoors but also refreshes the soil for the plant. Over the summer it has used up the nutrition in the soil so would benefit from new soil. It is also an opportunity to move to a larger pot if the plant is out growing it’s current one.

There are many nurseries who will repot plants for you if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself.

If you repot on your own I recommend doing it outside to minimize mess. You should scrub the pot you will be using inside and out with soap and water to ensure it is clean and will not transfer anything to the plant that may be left on the pot from previous plantings. You can purchase potting soil at nurseries and hardware stores. Ensure the pot you choose to use has good drainage.

When you gently remove the plant from the pots gently tease the outside of the soil to loosen roots and remove old soil. Place some potting soil in the newly washed  pot then put the plant back in and fill in with potting soil. Make sure that the base of the topiary is covered in soil to the same height as previously. You should not bury the plant deeper than it is at the moment. Water the plant well and allow drainage before bringing it indoors.

Through the winter you can also supplement the soil with a well balanced fertilizer. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label for best results. When watering your plant make sure the soil has dried out from the last watering. You should be able to set up a schedule for watering once you see how long it takes to dry out between watering. The plant will preferably be in a south or west facing window so it gets adequate sun during the day.

I have added some links below for your reference.

Good Luck.

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/care-instructions-eugenia-topiary-85468.html

http://houseplants.about.com/od/pottingandrepotting/a/Repotting.htm