Conducting an Experiment

As you long-term blog readers know, I am big on planting flowers around my house. I typically plant about 125 impatiens plants around the house in the summer. Plus I plant some other annuals as well.

I “pink” the place up!!

Hanging baskets of super-tunas

I mix them with geraniums.

I also throw in some sunpatiens.

I just love it…but frankly, it gets expensive to plan it all.

Last fall in an effort to take the price tag off some of the annual flowers I plant, I hit up the close-out sale at one of the local nurseries and bought a variety of annuals to plant at the front of the garden.

I also decided to conduct a little experiment.

I pulled all of the planters and hanging baskets before it froze and put them in the empty stall in my garage. I left them there. I watered them a couple more times and then just let them die down.

They had gotten pretty ugly.

I planned on doing something with them sooner but time got away from me.

Recently I cut them back…oh they look ugly…and I started watering them a little bit.

I think some of these will come back. I’ve done this before with geraniums, wintering them over, but not with other plants so that’s the experiment.

I cut off some of the green growth on the geraniums…

and I put them in water with the hope of them rooting and starting some new plants.

There’s no guarantee that any of it will work but at this point, I’m only out a little bit of time. Fingers crossed I’ll at least not have to buy geraniums this year…We’ll see.

18 thoughts on “Conducting an Experiment”

  1. Jo,
    My aunt taught me to leave my petunias in the ground/pots all winter. Around Mid-March I press them into the dirt and let them sit a couple more weeks before pulling them out. That allows any seeds to penetrate the dirt. I continue to water and see what happens. Some years it works and I get new flowers, some years it doesn’t. I assume it depends on how cold it gets. I’ve always admired your beautiful flowers but I can see the huge expense they are. I hope “recycling” works for you!

    1. Susan from Michigan

      Where do you live, Robin? Here, I have seen vinca and pansy come back sometimes, not much else as far as annuals.

  2. Geranium cuttings will root very easily in a pot of compost without any root treatment. Just pop them in the dirt in a pot and keep in a dry frost free place over the winter. I had them in our garage with a window facing east. You won’t need to water them apart from if the compost is very dry when you first pop them in, but they don’t need much water and I never watered them until I planted them up in the spring. I think my mum uses water to root the cuttings too.
    I didn’t water my strawberry plants (which were little ones in the greenhouse) at all over winter. Last week I started putting them in a tray of water, drained them, gave them a “haircut” and they are shooting out pretty green leaves. Hoping for a lot of strawberries this year!
    Good luck with the plants – your sunpatiens were super!

  3. I’ve tried that was not very successful. The most success I’ve gotten has been to pull the geraniums and put them in a paper bag, root side up. spritz them w water ever so often. This past fall I did that but I have not gotten them into those bag to ‘water’ the roots. I’ve been dying to get out to my garden which is too muddy right now. but maybe it’s geranium time.

  4. You will definitely have some success. We always took cuttings in the fall and put in water. Many annuals will reproduce quite well from cuttings.

  5. I do love having plants around but only have had a few tiny ones – easy to carry when we travel. This year I though I might try my hand again at dwarf sunflowers. They all dies last year. This year I have 18 plants going – wow. Guess I’ll be giving some away!
    Good luck with your planting!
    Love and prayers

  6. Remove all of those lower geranium leaves that are in contact with the water as they will eventually begin to rot. Also change our the water periodically if you notice it turning green. Also be sure to remove any cutting that is showing any signs of rot

    I generally root my cuttings in soil but they can be rooted in water as well. Good luck!

  7. A friend told me to cut off the big tops of my geraniums and put them in a paper sack in my basement. I kept my gorgeous geraniums for over 5 years. I never watered them either.

  8. Years ago I moved into a house where my elderly neighbour had had the same geranium plant growing for 40 years. He cut it back each winter and it grew back the following year. He took many thousands of cuttings from it over the year, I still have the ones he gave me.

  9. Sounds like a fun experiment! I had a gorgeous salmon colored double impatiens one year I couldn’t bear to see die back so I cut some branches with buds on them to enjoy on my kitchen window sill. Put them in water and, wouldn’t you know, got roots before I knew it! Kept them going for a few years that way.

  10. Your place is always so beautiful but buying annuals does get pricey (too bad they don’t sell these at thrift stores, huh!). My husband keeps the geraniums going from year to year and I don’t do many other annuals. Last year he let me plant zinnia seeds around a gas stake. They were beautiful and a neighbor loved them when she was at her kitchen sink. We plan to repeat doing that again.

  11. I grew up on a farm in western Iowa, so pretty much like where you are. Mom wasn’t big on flowers or flower gardens. All her energy went into the vegetable garden and orchard. We, of course, had the requisite irises and Mom always planted moss roses. It seems to me that when she had impatiens, she planted seed, not set plants. I could be wrong. Flowers were never my “thing” either. If my sister were alive, she could answer any question about flowers, shrubs and ornamental trees.

  12. Bonnie Hendrickson

    Every year I drag all my houseplants out on the deck. One year, I had an impatient plant hanging over a big planter, around March little impatient started growing all over it. Right, now I have impatience blooming in the hanging plants I brought in with the houseplants. I have a big Gryphon begonia I have been bringing in for about 8 years and it is huge. I used to have morning glories, petunias, pansies and marigolds come back for years. By the way I live in the Northeast metro of the Twin Cities in MN. This year I am going to do winter sowing in milk jugs. I’ve got a bunch of them already out in the yard in the snow, Last year, I grew 5 rose bushes that way and I can’t wait to see if they make it through the winter!

  13. I pull geraniums out of pots & shake off dirt then put plant in cardboard boxes or brown paper sacks & store them in the dark under basement steps. I wait for a nice mid February day then carry them outside where I clean off the dead stuff and cut the plant back to 4-5” above the root. I soak roots in water then pot them & set them in my sun room until May when it’s safe to plant zone 4. I topdress with water & always root stimulator. Some don’t live but most do well & they actually get bigger every year.
    I had a pink one that actually had 50+ blossoms on it. It was borrowed to decorate the steps at a baby shower.

    Unfortunately I bought a trash can of potting soil at an estate sale and used it the next Spring. All my geraniums got sickly. I figured out the soil had been mixed too heavily with fertilizer because all my geraniums died, including my beautiful pink one. ☹️

  14. I have always enjoyed your flowers. A friend in Minnesota (I live in Utah) taught me to carefully dig up the root ball of my geraniums, trim them go about 3” of plant and I put them in a brown bag to winter them in the garage. Very successful.

  15. I wish I had room to over winter some of my flowers. I am experimenting with peppers this year. I don’t think I have watered them enough. I don’t see any new growth. I am hoping it is too early. Good luck with your flowers.
    Have you tried growing your own seeds? I do that with my veggies and save a lot of money (I think!). I am going to try a lot of flowers this year too. I will do the winter sowing where they are planted in milk jugs. I had pretty good success last year with my vegetables doing this.

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