Tree ‘spa’ babies your exotic patio plants

Adding an exotic tree like a palm to your patio might be fun, but it won't survive the winter, so one local nursery now will take it in.

Exotic lemon trees may not overwinter in the Okanagan outside

Exotic lemon trees may not overwinter in the Okanagan outside

Imagine picking an orange or a lemon off your own tree on your patio to cut a slice into your drink.

Unfortunately, the winters in the Okanagan are too cold for citrus trees to survive, which is why such trees, along with palms, are so exotic. They simply don’t grow here.

Their preferred climate includes a warm and sunny winter with temperatures above freezing, which is why these trees remind people of warm, sunny holidays in southern California or Mexico.

And, Carrie Kuypers, general manager of Kelowna Flower Farm, is capitalizing on that by selling big potted exotic trees for your patio, and offering to overwinter them in the family’s East Kelowna greenhouses, where it’s warmer than outside in winter.

“We pick up the plants in October, bring them in to our lovely ‘spa’ and take great care of them until spring, when we drop them back off on your patio,” she says.

Since the plants can weigh in the range of 300 pounds, where they land is important, because it’s likely they’ll stay there all summer.

These exotic plants do great during the Okanagan summer, so they’re happy outside about the same time their people are, explains Kuypers, and the service keeps the plants happy through winter as well.

With a little loving, they even pollinate each other during winter together, so by spring and summer they’re producing fruit which you can pick off your patio all summer.

“They’re showstoppers,” comments Kuypers. “They’ll fruit all year round.”

In fact, they’ll overwinter anything, from agaves and bamboo, to bougainvillea and jasmine, palms and citrus trees, for a small monthly fee.

They also carry a line of light-weight resin pots which last well and are a little easier to move around than the traditional earthenware pot.

Kuypers grew up in greenhouses, because her grandfather started the Mandeville Garden Centre on the Lower Mainland, and her Dad operated it until the move to the Okanagan a few years ago, when he started the Kelowna Flower Farm.

Without plants all around her each Spring, she says she would “feel a void in her heart.” Working with plants and in greenhouses is in her blood.


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