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View Diary: I'm Gonna Say It Til I'm Blue in the Face (Or Sick With Salmonella) (206 comments)

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  •  The 4b/5a border :) (1+ / 0-)
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    Nespolo

    Naturally, I keep them in pots and move them inside once it starts to get cold.  ;)  I have LED grow lights in one room in my house.  The tough part is controlling mites.  These days, I spray weekly with a mixture of insecticidal soap and sucrashield (sugar esters).  It does an okay job.

    I actually talked to someone who grew a palm tree in Iowa outside, in the ground.  Each winter, he'd cut off the leaves and wrap the whole stalk first in Christmas lights, then in home insulation.  The heat from the christmas lights was enough to keep it alive, and in spring, it'd grow a new flush of leaves.  It died a couple years ago when a big storm blew off the insulation.

    •  I'm in zone 7 (1+ / 0-)
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      Rei

      You give me hope!

      "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

      by Nespolo on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 05:07:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just remember: It's the *lows* that count. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nespolo

        Ignore your daily highs and only look at the lows. Most tropicals should not go outside until the lows are consistently above 10C / 50F.

        And remember: when moving any plant outside, never place it directly in the sunlight.  Plants produce natural sunscreens in response to UV light.  After being indoors all winter, they have almost none of those chemicals in their leaves.  If you put them straight out into full sun, they'll get scalded.  They need time to transition from shade to full sun.  The same hardening process needs to occur for wind and temperature, although sunlight is usually the bigger threat.

        And when you take tropical plants in for the winter, excepting shade-tolerant ones like coffee, you need to make sure there's lots of light where you keep them.  Even bright room lights won't do the trick.  This means some combination of lots of sunlight and/or grow lights.  I need my grow lights anyway so that I can get my fresh herbs in the winter; make sure you make good use of any lit areas  :)  One advantage I've found with tropicals is that they tend not to be as big of magnets for spider mites and other greenhouse pests as, say, eggplant or peppers.  Still, a good organic spray routine -- weekly, and don't miss it! -- should be considered a must.

        •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

          Nobody ever explained to me before why plants need to be hardened.  I knew it needed to be done, but I never understood the reason - they get sunburn!

          "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

          by Nespolo on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:08:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep -- putting an overwintered plant straight (0+ / 0-)

            outside is like leaving an albino out on the beach for a couple weeks without sunscreen   ;)  Plants don't have melanin, but they have other chemicals that play the same role, and their production is triggered by UV.

            Isn't nature neat?  :)

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