Houseplants are great, colorful additions to a backyard patio or deck. When temperatures start to dip in the fall, they need to be brought inside to a more protected area.
Generally, you'll want to bring your houseplant indoors when temperatures reach 50 degrees or cooler. At this time of year, that usually means during the overnight hours. Many questions arise when it's time for this, with topics ranging from plant shock to bugs and pests to how to care for them differently in the winter months. We'll cover all those and more below!
Houseplants can go through shock if brought in quickly and they don't have time to gradually transition to indoor conditions. Sudden changes could result in wilting or leaf loss. At first, bring your plants in for the evenings and put them back out when it's warmed up the next morning. Over the next couple weeks, increase the time they spend inside each day until they are indoors all the time.
Treat the Houseplant & Soil
One problem you may have when moving houseplants inside is also bringing a bunch of little critters and bugs in with them. Some are just hitchhikers, riding along on your plant to the inside of your home. They may simply escape, but others might be feeding on your plants and will most likely look for more to eat on once they get inside your home.
Before treating for insects, see if your plants need repotting. If your plant is just too big for the pot it’s in, or if it is constantly needing water, you should consider repotting. Don’t go too big too fast with a new pot. You should only go up 1 -2 inches in overall pot diameter with each re-potting. If you're looking for some help during this part of the process, stop in to your local Earl May! We offer FREE potting of houseplants with purchase of a plant, pot or combination of both. (Ask about this at check out.)
There are a few options when it comes to getting rid of pests. Applying systemic houseplant granules to the soil will give long-lasting control of hard to kill insects that may develop later from eggs in the soil. Systemic granules do take some time to begin working, so be patient.
Another option is to treat the plant with Earth Rx organic insect spray. This kills adult insects and exposed eggs providing quick protection before the systemic control kicks in. Washing or spraying your plant's leaves with insecticidal soap helps kill pests as well. Combining these methods will make sure insects and bugs don't spread to other plants in your home.
Tools for Success
When outdoors, houseplants get used to a lot of sunlight and warmth. After treatments and repotting, place them in bright area of home or use grow lights to mimic the amount of light they received outdoors. Summer in the Midwest brings with it humidity as well. Place a small humidifier near your houseplants. This will allow them to conserve some of their moisture in the drier conditions indoors and during the winter months.
Winter Houseplant Care Tips
Houseplants do most of their growing during spring and summer. It’s best to liquid feed at ½ strength or stop feeding for the winter depending on your plant and its health. Plan to regularly feed your houseplants again in early to mid-spring when you're getting ready to put them back outdoors.
A common issue when bringing in plants from outdoors is overwatering. Use a Moisture Meter designed for houseplants to tell you if your plants need water or not. They need less water while inside the home than outdoors.
If you have a new houseplant or want more tips about caring for houseplants, check out these essentials for growing healthy houseplants. For more related topics, visit the houseplant section of our blog.