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Overwintering Brugs - my method

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Overwintering Brugs - my method

Postby green thumb guy » Aug 29, 2008 11:20 am

First let me say that if you don’t plant your brugs directly in the ground and are tired of trying to keep them watered well and from blowing over; consider it for next year. I find it so much easier and it is not as scary as you may think to lift them out of the ground. I use to keep mine in pots and even buried the pots in the ground. All that happened is that they didn’t perform nearly as well and I broke my shovel trying to get them out. Brugs are incredibly resilient when it comes to hacking them.

For my area, Zone 5, I am going to start to lift my brugs around the middle of October unless it seems that we are going to get an early frost. In previous years, I have always pushed my luck and been scurrying in the dark.

First, I look at the size of the brug and the availability of pots. My big guys end up going in Utility tubs with the rope handles – don’t worry about drainage holes.. They are just easier to carry and move around by hand or with a dolly. Oh yah, make sure you have soilless mix on hand to pot the brug up. This also helps keep the potted brug nice and light. Some potting mixes are quite heavy – especially when wet.

For medium sized brugs, I take my shovel and root prune it first.
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Again, don’t worry the brug will be fine. I’ve even had to remove a major root off one of my brugs to get it to fit properly into the pot. Then just pop it out of the ground.

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I like to shake off excess dirt and see if I need to prune more roots.

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Don’t be squeamish about breaking or damaging flowers or buds. You’re just wasting your time and making the process harder than it has to be. Been there and done that.

Once you have the brug potted up, and then strip off all the leaves, buds and flowers. Your brug is going to be stressed already. The leaves, buds and flowers will just drain energy from it before they die and fall off.

Remember to label your brug if you have more than one type. I either use masking tape flags wrapped around a limb with the name written on it or I use a tag with uv resistant marker.

If your brug is really large, i prefer to strip off the leaves before i dig it out. It's nicer not having them in the way.

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With the leaves stripped off, you can see the overall shape of the tree and prune off limbs that are not wanted. With some of my brugs so large, I cut them back to a manageable size so that I can get them down into the basement.

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This is a great opportunity to decide if you want to grow it as a standard or with multiple stalks.

I usually don’t take them to the basement right away. I give them a drink of water and wait a day or two to clean off more of the smaller shoots. They are just going to fall off inside and make a mess. I’m not a good pruner so it gives me another opportunity to cut them back some more.

We have a couple of “bush shaped” brugs that grow to a height of about 9 – 10’ tall. They get cut back to a 1.5’. The fallowing year, they grow back up to the 9 – 10’ height.

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Where to store your brug?

I store my brugs in our basement. It’s not very cold but more coolish compared to the rest of the house. Don’t worry about providing them with any light. You want to put them into hibernation. I like to put plastic down before bringing the brugs in. I use a watering wand to reach my brugs and give them a little drink in the winter. This way, any water that spills or leaks out is contained.

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Initially, they are going to want to keep growing and may produce a few new leaves or shoots. Just remove them. I try to remember to check on them monthly to see if they need any water. Depending on how much the furnace is on and how dry the house is, I may have to check them a little more often. You don’t want them wet; just enough moisture to keep them from completely drying out. It’s harder to explain than it is to do

Some of my brugs are in any area where they get some stray lighting from my aquariums and they grow some green leaves. I don’t worry too much about this and just leave them be. I only worry if they get spidermite or whitefly infestations. Without the leaves you don’t have any of these problems.

I have tried to keep some of my brugs under lights over the winter and found that they tended to not perform as good the following year. I’m not sure if they used up their energy stores over the winter to just linger along with the lower light levels or what.

Come next spring, it is a snap to take your brugs outside and not have to worry about the leaves getting burnt.

I hope this helps you with overwintering your brugs.
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green thumb guy
 
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Re: Overwintering Brugs - my method

Postby Sharon Bryson » Aug 29, 2008 2:41 pm

Hi GTG: Many thanks for this little dissertation.
Would you mind if I used this info via a link or copy on our website or Blog?
I likely won't get around to it for awhile, but this is very useful info for me and others.
Cheers
Sharon
Antigonish, NS Zone 5b

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its' roots in earth and manure."
- D.H. Lawrence


http://sharon-willowgardenmusings.blogspot.com/
http://www.willowgarden.net/
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Re: Overwintering Brugs - my method

Postby KK » Aug 29, 2008 3:19 pm

Thank you so much for sharing!
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Re: Overwintering Brugs - my method

Postby green thumb guy » Aug 29, 2008 3:38 pm

I'm and very happy to help

Sharon, you can certainly use the info how you would like.

:D
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Re: Overwintering Brugs - my method

Postby Sharon Bryson » Aug 30, 2008 8:34 am

Thanks GTG .....now I guess the next "installment" will have to do with the "approach to spring"!!!! Nothing like looking ahead.

I must say that your basement must have quite a good crowd for the winter.
We were interested in your various types of Brugs....what source have you, or do you use, for your stock? I don't think we are planning on a crowd, but that would also be interesting to know.....from you or others here on the Forum.

Cheers
Sharon
Antigonish, NS Zone 5b

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its' roots in earth and manure."
- D.H. Lawrence


http://sharon-willowgardenmusings.blogspot.com/
http://www.willowgarden.net/
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Re: Overwintering Brugs - my method

Postby A Closet Canuck » Aug 30, 2008 12:08 pm

Thanks, GTG, for the excellent tutorial. One poster last year said he/she tossed out his brug after two years and started anew because brugs that overwinter in the house don't do well the next year. Based on your comments, it sounds like using a different method might make all the difference in the world. At any rate, I'm not going to toss out my two-year old brug at the end of the season.
Trish in Iowa -- -- ..zone 5b or 6a
.
------When your feet hit the floor each morning,
---------be the kind of woman about whom

---------the devil says, "[/code]Oh no! She's up!"
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Re: Overwintering Brugs - my method

Postby green thumb guy » Aug 31, 2008 8:29 am

Closet Canuck,
I certainly wouldn't throw them out either. I found with some of my plants that it takes 2 or 3 years to get to a nice stage with respect to shape and number of blooms.

What is so cool about these things is the fact that if you don't like the shape you have, they can be cut back and you can start all over.

I'm hoping I'll remember to take pics of the re-shaping I'm going to be doing on Grand Marnier. Someone near me has a beautiful apricot versi and it is shaped perfect. The blooms cascade down and show themselves off. I'm going to do the same thing. Mine are somewhat hidden and not as attractive.

Hi Sharon,
I've been collecting brugs for at least 5 or more years. :?: Some have been swaps and others we're are trials of new hybrids to assess their growth, fragrance and flower qualities. This is why some have no names at this time.

There are not many sources for brugs in Canada that you can trust. Though I haven't ordered from this place myself, I would recommend Liz at Brugmansia etc. You can check out her website at http://www.brugmansiasetc.com/ . Even tough it says it's the 2004 website it is the most current. I've only heard good things about her.
She's in B.C.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you that I also am a source for brugs too. I just dont have a selection as big as Liz's.
:)
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Re: Overwintering Brugs - my method

Postby Sharon Bryson » Aug 31, 2008 12:04 pm

[quoteI'm sure it will come as no surprise to you that I also am a source for brugs too. I just dont have a selection as big as Liz's. ][/quote]

Thanks for that info....might bug you more later!!
Cheers
Sharon
Antigonish, NS Zone 5b

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its' roots in earth and manure."
- D.H. Lawrence


http://sharon-willowgardenmusings.blogspot.com/
http://www.willowgarden.net/
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Sharon Bryson
 
Posts: 1180
Joined: Nov 15, 2006 9:42 am
Location: Antigonish NS zone5b

Re: Overwintering Brugs - my method

Postby jazz » Sep 11, 2008 5:56 pm

Where did I read that I can cut half of the roots when I take it out of the container. Or did yu say that Im mixed up. Must be that I never got one flower this year. Jazz
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