Overwintering some plants

(Question)

Hello,
I have some plants I would like to keep for next summer but have limited space and light in my house. Is there such a place that I can bring some plants during the winter months? The plants are hibiscus and some canna lilies. I have never successfully stored bulbs/rhizomes in my basement over winter :(
Thanks!

(Answer)

Hello fellow gardener, and welcome to September 1, the time of year when many of us, in our Toronto region, begin to contemplate how we’ll hang on to our favourite summer plants indoors, safe from the frosty months !  Now, I believe you’re asking if your can take your Hibiscus and  Canna Lilies to a locale different from your home, during the winter ? Like a plant spa, during the winter months?  The notion sounds novel, and if your research proves results, please let us know. For the most part, and for several practical reasons, professional and public greenhouses/gardens must kindly decline taking in foster-plants.

You didn’t mention the size, or age of your hibiscus plant: 4 or 14 years? Planted in a pot, or in the ground? Even though modern Hibiscus are generally called Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, the truth is that they’re all a mix of several species. Either way, Hibiscus are great plants particularly when potted outdoors during the warm, humid summer months, they can lend an exotic, tropical colour burst to a patio. However, once indoors, they can become a bit tetchy — and will require patience, vigilance and correct attention to pot size, water, soil, air and light conditions. They will also appreciate some judicious pruning from time to time.

If you’re game, in spite of space/light concerns, you might decide to give it a go, and see how well you and your Hibiscus can get along together indoors.

Regarding your Canna Lilies, which you correctly identified as rhizomes, they can be particularly vulnerable to blight, which is a bacteria, usually caused by overwatering, or a very damp, rainy summer. Blight can remain in the rhizomes that you remove from the soil, and this may be one of the reasons you may not have successfully overwintered  rhizomes in the past. Carefully  inspect them, and if they do appear to be damp and weak, with blight, then sometimes it’s best to just let them go. Think of this as a shopping opportunity for some new, healthy Canna’s — and, remember, avoid planting in the same location as last year.