Overwintering potting soil and annuals


I  have, courtesy of a neighbour who was moving, Scotts Premium Garden Soil, three 28.3 L bags, minus about 1/4 of one bag.

Would it be possible to store these bags on my balcony now and over the winter and still be able to use it? Would it be too heavy for the balcony or would the soil be damaged?

Alternatively, would I be able to plant something with all of it now for inside that would fit in a 650 sq. ft. condo?

Also, I have plants on the balcony, like the hibiscus, orchid, spider plant, calendula, nasturtium, and Christmas cactus. They look fine but should I bring them in? How does one know when to bring certain plants inside when the cold weather approaches?

Thank you so much!



The soil won’t be harmed by storing it outdoors over winter. However, you’ll have to check with your condo regulations to learn about load limits on your balcony. If the soil stays dry, it will be fairly light. However, wet soil weighs more.

You’ll have to determine yourself how much room you have for plants in your condo. It’s easy to find space for an orchid (perhaps a moth orchid? Phalaenopsis), spider plant (Chlorophytum) or Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) indoors – all of which you should do before the weather gets colder. The Christmas cactus even likes a bit of cool weather in order to set flower buds, and may even bloom for you after coming inside.

The hibiscus, on the other had, usually requires more space and light. It also depends which species you have. A woody, tropical hibiscus (such as Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) won’t survive outside in a Canadian winter. Many people do overwinter tropical hibiscus indoors, but be prepared for it to lose some leaves due to the change in climate – Canadian homes are usually quite dry in the winter, and the light level will be considerably reduced. However, even a hardy hibiscus (some of which die down to the ground each year), which can survive winter if planted in the ground, might more susceptible to winter damage in a container due to the freeze-thaw cycle that can occur in outdoor containers.

The calendula and nasturtium are annual plants, both very easy to start from seed next year.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your balcony garden.