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Overwintering in cold frame

grazzygrazzy Posts: 2
Hi All

Im hoping for a bit of advice after exhausting online searches! I live in Cork in Southern Ireland and I have a good few salvias and other tender perennials that I am hoping to overwinter (in 2 coldframes I purchased earlier this year). I’m not sure where to site the cold frames (pathways around the house or on patio against the house for warmth?) - plus my south is quite exposed as prevailing winds come that way so but tricky to figure out where best. 

Also with things like salvias do I just dig them up, put them in a pot and pack all plants into coldframe with some straw etc? 

I also have a porch area in front of door (north facing) which is large- ish and has a roof overhang, which is pretty sheltered. Might be ok for pots that won’t fit in coldframe (like my sweet pea shrub)?

Finally, I have taken salvia cuttings which have rooted and they are inside (house is quite warm) and I’m wondering what to do with these next - took them as insurance policy but don’t know how to get these through winter either!!

Any help greatly appreciated! 

Many thanks 


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,115
    Hi @grazzy - cold frames are ideal for overwintering anything that just needs a bit of basic protection from the worst weather. 
    Many salvias are a bit dubious in terms of hardiness, so taking the cuttings is certainly a good idea. Whether they'd be ok in the frame is dependent on the types, and how far on they are by the time the weather deteriorates. I'd have thought you might be ok where you are, but I only grow the very hardy caradonna  salvia, as most of them really don't like winters here. Someone else may be able to give you more accurate advice though   :)
    I'd say position the frames where you get the best light, and protection from rough weather. The house walls will certainly be warmer, so up against them would be ideal. Perhaps it's worth experimenting a bit though. Normally, you would still open the frames on a regular basis, so when it's very windy, you'd just adjust the openings accordingly   :)

    Re your sweet pea - is it the perennial kind? It's hardy if it is, so shouldn't need any protection. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,428
    I'm in South West England (the top bit), and I keep my coldframes up against the house wall for a bit of extra protection, the shrubby salvia cuttings are kept in the section right next to the back door so that l can check on them without having to go outside. 
    If the weather turns particularly cold l put a layer of fleece over the top, even two if the temperature really drops.
    I tend to leave the frames open at least very slightly during the day except in the coldest of weather, but they are closed in late afternoon before the sun sets.
    It depends on which type of salvias you have, but digging them up and potting them is certainly a way of giving them a bit of extra protection, mine are kept outside in pots but again, up against the house wall. Wet is the main problem, so make sure they're up on "pot feet" if they're outside. 
    I can't really comment on packing with straw l'm afraid. 
    If there are roots poking through the bottom of the cuttings pots, l would move them outside, again in a sheltered position to acclimatise, and then move them to the coldframe when the weather begins to deteriorate  :)
  • grazzygrazzy Posts: 2
    Thanks both - much appreciated. I have amistad and love & wishes. Debating whether to dig up in due course or chance my arm and mulch! 

    I’ll try that with the cuttings - thanks  @anniD

    @Fairygirl it’s a sweet pea shrub called polygala - not sure which variety but not frost hardy.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,115
    Ah - not a plant I know @grazzy. Don't know if it would ok in your porch, so perhaps someone else can advise on that. It might be ok - possibly some fleece on hand in case of any severe weather?
    Maybe cuttings from that too?
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,428
    Love and Wishes is pretty tender @grazzy, personally l'd be inclined to dig it up and pot it  :)
    I left it in the ground and lost it, luckily l had cuttings as back up.
  • salvias are definitely hit and miss, but I managed to keep all of them last winter despite the snow (only to lose the hot lips in spring to a pruning mistake😂). Just covered them in thick bark like my alstroemerias and they pulled through. I'm near London. x
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