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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - November 06, 2014

From: Wallingford, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Overwintering Juncus spiralis in a Container in PA
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have been growing a Juncus 'Spiralis' in a self-watering container on my zone 7 patio in Pennsylvania happily all summer. I have read that this plant is native and should survive outdoors over the winter. However I am concerned about keeping it adequately watered as the water in the reservoir of the container will freeze. Do you have any ideas or tips on how best to prepare this plant for winter?

ANSWER:

Juncus 'Spiralis' is a cultivar of Juncus effusus (corkscrew rush) which is native to east and SE Texas.

It is noted on the wikipedia website that Juncus 'Spiralis' has distinctive leafless, green coiled stems may turn yellow-brown or tan over the winter and that the plant is hardy to USDA zone 4 or higher.

Previously, Barbara Medford answered a somewhat related question about overwintering Juncus 'Spiralis' in NY.

Your plant should go dormant this winter and you can remove it from your container and overwinter it in the garden. Simply plant it in a handy spot and water it well. Keep it watered if the soil does dry out during the winter. Once spring arrives, you can dig it up and put it back in the self-watering container and move it to your patio. If you would like to leave it in the garden, the best spot is a moist, boggy site.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common rush
Juncus effusus

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