Bringing houseplants back indoors

Thu. Oct. 6, 2016

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Bringing houseplants back indoors

Ahh, the crisp Fall air has release that humidity and it feels good!  For those who’ve had tropical plants outside it’s time to start preparing to bring them indoors.  Some have already had to as temperatures dipped into the 30’s for northern zones.  If it’s just one day of cold, consider a blanket or inside a shed or garage.  The general rule of thumb is to bring those indoor plants inside when temperatures are consistently hanging in the 50’s.   University of Vermont – Bringing Houseplants Indoors

fernI purchased the above plant for a steal!  $10!!  Seriously, I was shocked.  It wasn’t quite as huge but I left it outside nearly all summer and just couldn’t part with it!

Elephant Ear - Imperial Taro
Elephant Ear – Imperial Taro

Preparing your plants for the move is the first step.  First, don’t even bother with those that are struggling… let them go to the great compost in your garden bed.  Unless they’re diseased then it’s the garbage bin.  Check for hitchhikers such as spider mites, ants, snails or mealy bugs.  You don’t want to bring in mold either.  Scrub the exterior of dirty pots with a 10% bleach solution and then rinse. Check for critters hiding in the potting medium.  The most effective way to do this is by soaking the pot in a tub of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. Any unwanted pests will scramble to the surface in search of air.


For houseplants in large containers, where slipping the plant from the pot or dunking the entire pot in water is impractical, apply an insecticide to the soil surface and also to soil inside drainage holes. Apply enough insecticide to soak the soil, and you’ll kill pests or cause them to exit. If pests were present in soil by climbing through pot drainage holes, consider repotting the plant next spring and placing wire mesh or hardware cloth inside the base of the pot to exclude insects.

Here’s a link to one of my heroes!  Paul James ‘Gardening by the Yard’ was a must for me for years.  Here he talks about moving plants indoors

If you repot, spray the potting medium off the roots, clean the inside to the container with a 10% bleach solution and thoroughly rinse.  If the roots fill the pot, use a size larger one.  Finally, check the foliage for dead or yellowing leaves, remove as needed and prune if shaping is required.  For additional protection you can spray the foliage with an insecticidal soap.  Be sure to know where your plant will be placed indoors and make sure the conditions are appropriate.  Right plant, right place holds indoors as well as out!  Consider heat vents and drafts too.

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