How to Store a Plant If You Don't Have a Greenhouse


Greenhouses make a good place to overwinter tender perennials such as tropical plants, containerized trees and shrubs or tender bulbs. If you don't have a greenhouse, you can still get delicate plants through the winter. Store your plants in an unheated shed, garage or even your basement. Tender plants require protection from the cold and good circulation to prevent mold or mildew.

Tender Bulbs

Step 1

Lift tender bulbs from the ground by digging them up with a garden fork.

Step 2

Spread out newspaper and lay the bulbs out to dry in a well-ventilated location for approximately 48 hours.

Step 3

Trim away vegetation and roots.

Step 4

Fill a milk crate, paper grocery sack or cardboard box with sphagnum peat moss. Place the bulbs in the peat moss so that there is a few inches of space between each bulb.

Step 5

Store the container in a basement, unheated garage or shed to protect it from frosts and cold.

Containerized Plants

Step 1

Water the container lightly so that the soil will remain slightly damp through the winter.

Step 2

Build a frame around the plant by plunging bamboo stakes into the edges of the plant's container.

Step 3

Wrap the container and the frame with burlap. Staple the burlap in place with a staple gun.

Step 4

Pack the space between the burlap and the plant loosely with fallen leaves to help insulate the plant.

Step 5

Store multiple containers grouped together in an unheated shed, basement or garage.

Step 6

Check the soil every few weeks to ensure that it hasn't dried out. If the soil is dry, water the plant just until it is slightly damp.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening fork
  • Newspaper
  • Pruning shears
  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Milk grate
  • Paper grocery sack
  • Cardboard box
  • Watering can
  • Bamboo stakes
  • Burlap
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Fallen leaves


  • North Dakota State University Extension: Questions On: Peach
  • Washington State University Extension: Garden Flowers
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Storing Tender Bulbs and Bulblike Structures

Who Can Help

  • Iowa State University Extension: Tender Perennials: Plants We All Can Dig!
Keywords: overwintering tender bulbs, storing tropical plants, protecting containerized trees

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."