Ask Darlene… Lilies and Nine Bark shrubs

Overwintering your lilies in flower pots.

Pine Bark shrubs…can they be saved?

 What should I do with lily bulbs during the winter? They are in pots? Also, I have 3 Pine Bark shrubs that get full sun and are drought resistant….but they are dying. They should bloom in the spring, summer and leaves turn to reddish color in the fall. However, I have had no success. Ruth.

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Winter is coming! What to do with those lilies in pots?

person holding maroon stargazer flowers
Photo by Dominika Roseclay on

Thanks for your questions, Ruth. Lilies are such dramatic blooms, I’m glad to hear you are interested in saving them. White lilies are most commonly the Easter Lilly varieties that people save and plant after the holiday. They can absolutely be saved. They make a wonderful surprise when they start peeking out of the garden once the weather starts warming up the next year. There also are other varieties of lilies both more colorful and fragrant under the categories of oriental and Asiatic lily come in a rainbow of colors. Both are fragrant and hearty kinds of blooming glory.

white flowers
Photo by Kara Muse on

In Colorado, where I will note your garden is located, you can bring the whole pot with the bulb inside for the winter. Cut the leaves and blooms off once they have browned up. You can also dig them up and store them in the basement. For those with outside decks, you can even scoot the planters under the deck for some degree of extra protection with minimal effort. An extra layer of mulch will protect the bulbs too. Check out this article from Gardening Know How for some more details. Be sure to check for any bunnies or squirrels. that are setting up for wintering there first. People think flower bulbs are just pretty. Critters think that they are tasty!

If you live in a southern climate, the ground doesn’t get cold enough to work its magic on the bulb. They rarely last more than a season in the ground, so this method works well.

In my garden here in Denver, Colorado, I don’t dig up any bulbs. I leave them in the ground and hope for the best. Most come back just fine the next season. The exception is the gladiola. They are pretty fussy and varying results are one stalk to a few flowers each year.

Either way, you have a good chance of the bulbs showing off again in the Spring.

Nine Bark Shrubs

I am not familiar with this type of shrub, so I did a little research for you. It sounds like an interesting looking specimen. Here is some great information from The Spruce…Ninebark Shrub Plant Profile I love the fact they come in purple too.

It sounds like you are in the right planting zone. I’m a little suspicious that the full sun is drying them out. Even with water use restrictions on sprinklers, you can usually hand water(that means using a hose or watering can to me.) Try extra watering for a week and make sure your pots have good drainage holes. Personally, if I have a plant that looks like it’s drying out, I flood the soil and wait for the water to run out through the bottom. That seems to ensure the plant has absorbed as much water as possible. For the next week, you can cut back to every other day.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Also, check for any bugs and trim away dead leaves and branches. In 2-3 weeks you should start to see a healthier version of your shrubs. Please let me know what your results are after trying these tips.

Thanks for your question.  As always, please keep me posted, on your progress and please share some pictures if you can with us.


Thanks for sharing your dirt!