Tips on Bringing Houseplants Indoors for the Winter
The weather’s getting cooler, and if you sent your houseplants indoors for a summer vacation, now’s the time to settle them indoors before winter sets in.
Here are some tips for bringing your plants indoors:
Watch the weather: To be on the safe side, get your plants indoors before nighttime temperatures dip below 50° F.
Use warm days: To reduce shock, try to bring plants in before you start running your furnace – warm fall days are perfect for opening and cleaning windows and getting your plants settled inside.
Transition gradually: Spend about two weeks acclimating plants to the lower light and humidity levels indoors. Move them first to a shady spot outside, then start bringing them in just at night, then put them in the brightest window for a while before moving them to their winter homes.
Eliminate pests: Inspect plants for pests, and treat them before bringing them inside. Wash the leaves (tops and bottoms) with a mild soap solution or a blast of water from the hose, to get rid of aphids, mites, and spiders. Then submerge the pots in a tub of water for half an hour or so, to force out any creepy crawlies that might have burrowed into the soil.
Clean pots: While you’ve got out the soap and water, scrub the outsides of pots and drainage trays, too.
Quarantine: Overlooked insects and diseases can multiply rapidly indoors. Keep a close eye on your plants, and keep them away from your other indoor plants until you’re sure they’re healthy.
Shape up: If your plants sprawled out of control this summer, now’s the time to give them a pruning. Repot only if severely rootbound, otherwise wait until spring.
Reduce watering: Reduce watering to your normal indoor schedule since your plants won’t dry out as quickly as they did outside.
Lower feeding: Reduce fertilizing, and stop feeding completely when plants go dormant. Resume fertilizing when they start growing again in the spring.
Expect fallout: Don’t be surprised if your plants probably drop a few leaves as they adjust to less light, and their growth slows or stops over the winter.
Growing houseplants is a great way to start gardening while enhancing the beauty of your home. Like any other gardening endeavor, indoor gardens can be as simple or elaborate as you would like. Here are some general guidelines to help get you started.