Thursday 27 November 2014

Over wintering key plants

So frosts are imminent and the weekend was the time to take in most tender of my plants, which mainly consists of Ensete maurelii, Musa sikkimensis, Brugmansia and a few others.
I wanted to explain more about how to overwinter the Ensete as this is the one that people seem to ask/worry about, but which is easy when you know how. But, you do need to be brave! So a step by step guide
1) Before....the unsuspecting Ensete in all its prime
2) Take off all the leaves...I did end up stealing a bread knife from the kitchenwhich made it very easy!
3) Dig up and remove most of the soil and roots taking care not to damage the corm. be brave!
4) Use a hose to wash off the remaining soil, and cut back the remaining roots. clean up the remaining leaves, but dont take too many off
5) Cut the top of the leaves off so that the top is fairly flat
6) Store in a frost free place keeping them upside down for a few weeks so that any remaining liquid drains out. I keep mine in a dark meter cupbaord
7) Done! check from time to time (I find mine sometimes get aphids) pot up in spring
My final winter prep was about digging up my Musa sikkimensis. There was one year when they survived in the open ground, however since then they were cut back by frosts, and although they were root hardy they never regained their height. I therefore tend to simply dig them up, pot them up and put in my covered side passage where they dry out and have some protection.
The Brugmansia (here on the left) was similarly treated...I dug it up, pruned the root ball a bit, cut back growth to the main stem, potted it up and put it in a dark frost free place.
The scene of decimation


  1. Hi Clive, do you do anything to protect your Tetrapanax Rex?

    1. No...for me they are hardy as anything, although I know this isn't the case in other areas. I did see one big one in London that had been cut back to the ground, however mine have always been ok (so far!)

  2. Mine will be dragged into a corner of the woodshed in a large tub ,Should we get a severe freeze warning then I will throw large sacks over them....we are in the far South West of Cornwall, so a little bit milder but not to get complacent about it ..."they" are saying it will be particularly cold this coming winter . Your photos are brilliant on this topic !
    I also have a Tetrapanax papirifer Rex in its second year now too big to cover easily hee hee : )...on those cold still nights I may throw an old coat over it .

    1. glad to help! I always find Tetrapanax is fine without protection.... who knows how cold it will be, this is the usual scaremongering point of the year!