Need advice: wintering Musella lasiocarpa

As the nights get cold and after our first frost of the fall (!) serious thought has to go into wintering some of the plants. Most are easy, they are going somewhere inside the house (where they’ll all fit is a question for another time) but the Musella is not.

NOID Rose with Musella lasiocarpa
For obvious reasons my Musella lasiocarpa has become a favourite plant of mine.

The best I could hope for outside I imagine is survival of a very very heavily mulched root, leaving me with a plant that will never flower. I am in zone 5, my backyard is easily a 5b to 6 because of how sheltered it is but I would be seriously pushing all of my luck to think anything that’s only reliably hardy in zone 7 would ever survive and thrive for me outside. So that’s out of the question.

Bringing it inside the house is out of the question as well. This thing is huge.

My garage is probably the best bet. I’m hoping that the dormancy will mean that the darkness will not be an issue – no leaves = no need for light, right?

The pot will be wrapped probably in a foam pad (the sort that you might use while camping under a sleeping bag. I’m not sure how thick a layer this will make, so maybe I can place all that in a larger box with something like straw around it?

To protect the stems… I’m at a bit of a loss. Moisture should not be a huge problem because it won’t be getting snowed on in my garage but I’m not sure what will be the best material for the job – newspapers? Blankets? Something that will breathe more? A wire frame with dry straw? Should the pot be dry or how often should it be watered?

Unfortunately this is also a new garage door and I’ve never payed attention to how cold it gets in there in winter. I’m sure it goes at least as low as freezing, a big plus though is that there won’t be any wind which is usually the worst killer of plants here.

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About Andrew

Plant lover living in Toronto, Canada where I grow a wide range of plants in a very small space.
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4 Responses to Need advice: wintering Musella lasiocarpa

  1. Good luck. Chicken wire and straw are common way to get it through winter, but a friend of mine has left it in the ground and heeled it in place. With a little research, you will find an acceptable solution.

  2. The first winter we had ours (I'm in zone 8 leaning to a 7) it was still in a container and the plan was to put it in the garage. Well my husband misheard the forecast and thought we were getting a freak out of the blue deep freeze and decided to move it into the garage without me to help (we do have a hand truck). Well unfortunately he broke the pot in the process and the ML spend the winter in the garage with nothing but a sheet and a little bubble wrap around it's root ball. The following spring it went in the ground and flowered that summer (wow!). I wrapped it really good that winter (piles of leaves around the base and burlap and bubble wrap around the pseudo-stems. It came back but wasn't nearly as big. The next winter we got really cold. It wasn't above freezing for a week with snow. I had employed the same techniques for wrapping but it barely came back (two tiny leaves) and then died for good the next winter when we were below freezing for a week with no snow cover. That's my story…for whatever it's worth. I wish you luck and can't wait to read about your success in the spring!

  3. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the tips, I think I should be able to piece together a good way to winter it and hopefully get flowers next year.

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