You’ve tended to your plants all summer. Why not continue enjoying them? The plants can jazz up your indoor decor without needing to paint, reupholster or buy new curtains or furniture. Moving plants indoors is not a difficult task, but it’s also not as simple as merely picking up a planter and plopping it down in the family room. Here are a few tips to ensure that your plants survive relocation in the autumn and stay healthy during the winter.
When to Bring Them in
Deciphering when to bring your plants indoors varies depending on the climate where you live. A general rule of thumb is to bring them inside when nighttime temperatures hit 50 degrees or lower consistently.
Decide Which Plants to Bring Indoors
If a plant has seen better days, the low humidity, dry heat, and low light levels indoors are not going to help it. Struggling plants will do more good in a compost pile. Plants growing out of their pots can be brought inside safely if you re-pot them at least a few weeks before moving day.
- Plants that thrive indoors include: begonias, fuchsia, geraniums, boxwood, myrtle, hibiscus and herbs.
- Plants that do not do well indoors include: angelonia, marigold, petunia, verbena, salvia and lantana.
Inspect the Plants
You can’t allow squatters into your house with the plant. Check the plants for moss, mold, mealybugs, spider mites, and the like. Check the potting soil for earthworms, snails, and ants. Depending on what you find, you may have to re-pot the plant, particularly if you find ants that will leave behind eggs. Several days before moving the plants inside, spray the foliage with an insecticidal soap that is safe for you, your children, and your pets.
Place in Quarantine
If you have the space, place the plants you are bringing indoors in a separate room from other houseplants. The squatters you missed may show up, and this will allow you time to treat them before they have the run of the house.
This is also a great time to slowly acclimate your plants to a change in atmosphere. You don’t want to shock your plants by bringing them inside right away. You want to make it a gradual change; keeping them in an all seasons room or garage will help to make it a smooth and healthy transition.
Where to Place the Plants Indoors
Know where you are going to place the plants before you bring them in. Plants that require full sun need to be near south-facing windows. Plants that are fine in partial sun can be in an east- or west-facing window. You can also use indoor plant lights if needed.
Keep plants away from draft pathways and heating vents. Consider arranging the plants in groups. Plants thrive when part of a “community” that increases the humidity in the air.
Care for Plants as Needed
Adjust the temperature and humidity, and know what climate the plants prefer. If leaves are turning yellow, have brown patches or are curling at the ends, move the plant to a warmer or cooler spot.
The dry air from indoor heating may cause the plants to need more humidity. You can install a humidifier that will make the air throughout your house less dry, or you can mist the plants. You will also find that humidity-needing plants fare better in the kitchen or bathroom.
Water the plants wisely and accordingly. Plants don’t need as much water indoors; water when the soil is dry about one inch down into the soil.
Keep Them Clean
Clean large, firm-leafed plants with a soft sponge or cloth using a mild solution of dishwashing soap and warm water. You can also clean the plants by putting them in the shower and letting warm water fall on them gently—like a refreshing rain.
Before you know it, it’ll be time to take your plants back outside. Enjoy your garden greens indoors this winter for an easy gardening transition in the spring!
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