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What are the basics for overwintering a plant? Where is a good place in a house/apartment to overwinter a plant? In general, does this require special supplements/artificial lighting?

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What kind of plant? –  Ed Staub Feb 9 '12 at 0:43
    
In addition to what kind of plant, what is your goal, and what is winter like where you live? In Minnesota you can overwinter carrots in the garden for collecting seed the following season by applying a thick mulch. But if you want to save cabbage seed, you should dig up the plant and keep it in your root cellar. Potted lemon tree? Completely different story depending on whether you live in Vermont, Phoenix, or somewhere in between. –  bstpierre Feb 9 '12 at 12:39
    
In general potted plants that stay outdoors in the summer, such as flowers and herbs. Winter is harsh (Grand Forks, temperatures well below zero and high winds during winter). –  WienerDog Feb 9 '12 at 14:27
    
Sorry when I thought 'overwinter' I thought snow and freezing temps. Been living up north too long :) –  WienerDog Feb 9 '12 at 14:29
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

It is going to depend on the plant, but putting it in a sheltered place with some light is usually the minimum.

Some examples:

  • Dahlias in the UK and smaller bananas here in North Texas can be over-wintered by digging up the roots, wrapping them up and leaving them in the garage. Basically they are dormant but you are protecting them from frosts.
  • Sometimes simple shelter (eg. against a south-facing wall or in a cold frame) is sufficient. I've found this works for Mexican prickly pears here in North Texas: The warmth of the house protects against the worst frosts.
  • But something like peppers are going to need some warmth (not necessarily hot - room temperature is fine) and sunlight and the usual watering. My problem is usually the sunlight - especially at the old house. I have ornamental peppers that are doing nicely in the new house but they have a bay window which gets direct sunlight in the early morning, and good ambient light most of the day. If you don't have enough light, then yes grow lamps might be necessary.

So a good place would be a window. Ideally the window with the best light. I would also avoid window draughts - these might chill the plant if you have a deep frost outside.

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