Did some of your houseplants enjoy a summer vacation outdoors this season?  If so, now is the time to think about bringing them back indoors.  We’ve compiled a few tips and suggestions for bringing houseplants and/or tropical plants indoors for the winter.

When do they have to come inside?

Generally, houseplants and tropical plants need to come back inside before the overnight temperatures begin to dip below 50 degrees.  (It’s important to note that it is the ‘overnight’ temperatures or the coolest temperature of the day that you are concerned with and not the high temperature for the day).

Assess the room you have inside your home before deciding what plants will be coming indoors.

All plants will need sunlight and room to grow regardless if they are inside or outside.  By looking at the areas you have available for plants inside your home, you will be able to decide which of your houseplants or tropical you can bring indoors.  Houseplants should also be kept about 3’ away from direct heat sources such as radiators and heating vents.  A special note for ferns; they love humidity.  Once the heat is turned on the for winter the air is very dry, ferns would love to spend the winter in the bathroom as long as the sunlight is adequate enough.  If the bathroom does not have the sunlight needed, simply bring the fern into the bathroom from time to time when the shower is running, they will thank you for the extra humidity.

Do your houseplants need repotting?

After a full growing season outside some of your houseplants and tropical may be ‘pot-bound’ or ‘root-bound’ and require a repotting into a larger pot.  Gently remove the plant from its current planter; if you see more roots on the outside of the soil than you see soil, you may need to repot.  A root-bound plant will struggle to absorb moisture when you water. One size up in pot is the recommended upsizing. For example if the plant is currently in a 10” diameter pot, you should move up to a 12”-13” pot; going too much larger than the current pot will increase the possibility of overwatering since there will be much more soil around the outside of the pot that has no roots to absorb water.

Once you’ve decided which plants will be coming inside for the winter there are a few simple steps for success.

  1. While the plants are still outside, move them from their current location into a less sunny location.  This should be done approximately 2 weeks prior to bringing them indoors.  During this time your plants will begin to acclimate to the reduced sunlight the winter months will supply.
  2. About 5-7 days prior to bringing the plants indoors, inspect for signs of insects or disease.  If you see any insect issues spray the plant(s) with an insecticidal soap according to package directions.
  3. Just before bringing the plants inside (best done the day prior to bringing indoors), liberally spray the soil with the insecticidal soap.  Insects love to make their home in the soil so by drenching the soil with the insecticidal soap you can minimize the chance of bringing the pests/insects into your home.
  4. The last step is to monitor the watering needs that your plants now need indoors.  Since the plants are no longer going to be in full, direct sun, they won’t be subject to windy conditions, nor will they be exposed to theheat of the summer months; the watering needs will be reduced.  A good general rule of thumb is that for a houseplant or tropical plant in an 8” or larger pot; the top 1” of soil should go relatively dry in between watering.  Depending upon the temperature of your home and the room(s) that the plants are in, the watering schedule should become fairly consistent.

If you have any further questions or need additional advice please don’t hesitate to stop by Decker’s Nursery; our team of dedicated associates will gladly assist you.