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What you need:
  • Shovel
  • Hand pruners
  • Pot and saucer
  • Potting soil
When you hear a severe frost warning on the news, is it time to say good-bye to your lemon grass, lemon verbena, basil, or other tender herb? Not if you overwinter them in pots indoors. Start by cutting back the foliage as necessary to fit on a windowsill. Check closely for insects. No matter how much you want to keep the plant, you don't want to introduce pests into your house.
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Next, carefully dig up the plant and shake off the excess soil. If the roots are too extensive to fit into the pot you've selected, prune them as needed. Your plant may now look like a shadow of its former self, but it should recover quickly.
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Moisten the potting mix and put a layer in the bottom of the pot. Set the plant in the pot and fill in with more potting mix. You want the crown, the point where roots and stems meet, to be level with the surface of the mix. Water thoroughly.
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Place in a sunny window and treat as a houseplant. It may produce long, lanky growth, but it will survive the dark days of winter. After the danger of frost passes, prune the plant hard and set it outdoors, acclimating it slowly to wind and sun. In about a week, replant it in the garden. In a month or so, it will be its beautiful self again.