Q: I live in Bartow county and purchased a small portable tent type greenhouse to overwinter my hibiscus and mandevilla in since I do not have a basement with good lighting. Is it better to place the plants into pots or buckets and put them in the greenhouse tent or to actually relocate them to a single location and replant them in the ground and then put the tent over top of them. I did not plan to use a heating device with the greenhouse tent.
A: My preference would be to put the roots in the ground, either in a pot or directly in a mound of soil. Even if it gets really cold your plants might freeze to the soil level but won’t completely die. If your greenhouse is reasonably tight, you can put a little electric heater inside and set its thermostat at 50°. This is the temperature at which tropical plants begin losing leaves. Also keep in mind that if your greenhouse is made with clear plastic, the interior will become hot on a sunny winter day. You will run the risk of cooking your plants. I recommend you place the greenhouse in a spot that gets early morning sunshine but does not remain in full sun for the rest of the day.