I have a stock plant that I took out of the ground for the winter and put in my house; will that harm the plant and will it come back next year?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Sue in New York: Stock (Matthiola incana) is considered a cool-season annual where you are gardening. Native to the Mediterranean, this plant can tolerate a frost but will not survive a hard freeze. They grow best in full sun and a nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Stock plants flower best when temperatures are cooler during the spring and fall months. The plant itself will survive the hot summer months but it will not continue to produce flowers until the temperatures drop again. There are many cultivars of stock and they range in size and color, but they all are commonly grown for cut flowers and their fragrance. As for over-wintering this annual, it should come indoors before the cold weather arrives. It will be happiest growing in a sunny window or any brightly lit room. Your watering schedule will depend on the temperature and humidity of your home but once a week should suffice. You want to allow the soil to dry out before adding additional moisture. Some annuals are easier to over-winter than others and it will likely not produce flowers, but it’s worth the effort if the goal is just to get it to survive until you can take it back outdoors next spring. Fortunately stock plants are readily available and easily grown from seed.