DENVER — As night temperatures drop, gardeners need to decide which plants to dig and save over winter.
You don't need a greenhouse to do this. You do need sunny south or west-facing windows or indoor grow lights.
Forget saving annuals that complete their life cycles in a single season, such as marigolds, zinnias or petunias.
Concentrate on long-lived tropical perennials and shrubs. This includes common flowers such as geraniums and begonias as well as more exotic plants. You can save the "mother" plant or take cuttings, or sometimes both.
It's easy to dig up and re-pot many plants. Cut them back a bit as you do that.
Cuttings root easily in jars of water. Once rooted, these can also be easily potted up as well.
Plants that are easy to root include coleus, bloodleaf, sweet potato vine, sun-tolerant impatiens, geranium and several species of Swedish ivy (Plectranthus).
Plants that I recommend saving include "filler" plants such as oxalis and spider plants. They're not all that spectacular by themselves, but are excellent for filling in container plantings.
Additional plants that I always endeavor to save include angel trumpets (Brugmansia), bananas, ferns, ivy, flowering maple (Abutilon), asparagus fern, spike dracaena and cordyline, New Zealand flax, lion's ear (Leonotis), dwarf citrus, cuphea, bougainvillea, cacti and succulents.
Dahlias, cannas and other summer bulbs can also be saved. They need to be dug and stored after they frost, so that can wait for another day.
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