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.