Overwintering Containers with Perennials and Shrubs

Some folks head south for the winter; my woody plant containers head into an unheated garage. Granted the setting isn’t as glamourous but they’re dormant and don’t know the difference. When they ‘wake up’ in early spring, they will be outside again in fresh air. I overwinter many deciduous shrubs and dwarf trees this way, especially borderline hardy specimens and bigleaf Hydrangeas that bloom inconsistently in the landscape. The key is not to move plants inside until they are fully dormant (e.g., dropped all of their leaves). I don’t water the plants again until I see new leaf buds breaking from dormant stems – usually sometime in early to mid-March. Slumbering shrubs in this photo include ‘Royal Purple’ and ‘Golden Spirit’ smokebush; Hydrangea m. ‘Wedding Gown’; Butterfly Bush ‘Prince Charming’; Hydrangea p. ‘Bobo’ and Hydrangea a. ‘Invincibelle Ruby’.