Sometimes gardeners get a little overzealous in the plant-buying area. I confess I do this pretty much every season. It’s the eyes bigger than garden syndrome. The result is, I’ve got a small pile of perennials in pots that I simply haven’t had time to add to the garden. I’m not even sure exactly where I want to plant them. What to do, now that winter is hot in pursuit? Plants are unlikely to survive in pots over winter, so something must be done to preserve them for planting properly in the spring.
The easiest thing to do is to plunge the plants, pots and all into some kind of winter holding area. If you have a vegetable garden, that is the perfect place for this. Dig a hole deep enough to place the pot right in the ground, matching the soil level. You don’t have to worry about spacing, as this is only a temporary stopgap. Cover with mulch after the ground has frozen, some time in December. In the spring, dig whole pot up and plant into a permanent location.
Other ways to preserve potted perennials over winter include keeping them in a cool garage space (that doesn’t freeze), or a porch. Make sure they don’t completely dry out over winter, and keep them out of direct sun. Failing that, any clear space you have in the garden will do as a temporary holding talk, pots and all. The good thing about perennials is that they can be easily moved around when you have (hopefully) more time in the spring.