As we head into the fall, and as temperatures start to drop, it means closing up those beautiful outdoor spaces we’ve spent all spring and summer creating. (Raise your hand if you’ve had your own staycation in your personal patio paradise.) One silver lining to this situation is that any houseplants which had been relocated outdoors (to perfect those tropical getaway vibes) will soon need to come back in. If you tend to collect houseplants like a lot of us here do, that means the inside of your home is about to get a LOT cozier with houseplants. You still have a little time, but once the temperature starts to drop into the 50’s you’re going to want to start transitioning your leafy friends indoors. To keep your plants happy, we’ve compiled a few easy tips you can follow when bringing them inside.
Before you bring any plants in, spray them down from top to bottom with horticultural oil or Neem oil to suffocate stowaway insects (and their eggs) including mealybug, scale, and aphids.
You’ll also want to treat the soil for fungus gnats which won’t harm the plant but can be a huge nuisance to people. Punch holes in the soil with a pencil and sprinkle Mosquito Bits on top of the soil to stop them in their tracks! You can also use Sticky Stakes to catch some of the adults and stop them from mating. If Mosquito Bits don’t work, you can apply Diatomaceous Earth in the same way to get rid of other soil-dwelling critters from mealybugs to ants to sow bugs.
Give all your plants an appropriate fertilizer as a last hoorah for the season. Just remember most houseplants can take a little break from fertilizer through the coldest winter months, so you won’t need to fertilize again until the spring.
If possible, bring plants in slowly over a week’s time. If the pot isn’t too heavy for you to move around, bring your houseplants in during the cold nights and back out during the day. Once daytime temperatures reach 50 degrees, bring them in full time. If one of your houseplants is used to the full sun, slowly get them used to a little shade before bringing them right inside. The light inside is quite different from the sun outside. In other words, don’t shock your houseplants!
Wash Your Windows
Do a little fall cleaning and clean up the dirt and dust on your windows. In this case, a little dirt can hurt. For those houseplants that need a brightly lit space, like succulents, you would be surprised how dusty windows can really reduce sunlight inside.
There are some plants that are really fond of lots of moisture and sometimes they need a little extra care. For plants such as Easter lily and Gardenia, place a saucer filled with pebbles and water underneath the pot so they can soak up the evaporating water.
Too much water is a common cause of the demise of houseplants, so water on the side of caution. For most plants, allow the soil to dry out a little bit before watering it all the way through again. ZZ, Ponytail Palms, and Begonias would greatly benefit from this practice.
As the days get shorter it is now time to start thinking about what we need to do to over-winter our plants. While your plants have enjoyed being outside this summer they need to come in before the temperatures dip below 50 degrees consistently.
The proper way to handle the transition is to slowly inch their way back inside, from being out in full sun to under a tree or a covered porch. This will give your plant time to acclimate slowly to the changing temperatures.
Houseplants, topicals, and citrus are the plants that require this method. By transitioning slowly, you will help your plants in a big way. They are less likely to stress out and cause leaves to drop from your treasured plants. Before bringing them inside there are a few things you should do.
- Trim off any dead or unhealthy-looking branches. This helps the plant to direct its energy to all the parts of the plant that need it most.
- Thoroughly hose down your plant by washing off any unwanted hitch-hikers from coming inside with your plant.
- This tip is in my opinion the most important. Apply some mosquito bits or diatomaceous earth to your plant. This will help keep your plant bug-free from the bottom up. I recommend to my customers that they should always have a spray like a neem oil or safer insect soap for the top part of your plant to kill any bugs you may see. And the mosquito bits and diatomaceous earth for the soil, for bugs you can’t see. Especially important in the over-wintering.
- And lastly, find the perfect spot for your treasured plants to vacation for the rest of the fall and winter months.
- Remember no fertilizing from November to March.
- Watering is extremely important …water the plant as you would as if it was outside, remember the roots are at the bottom of that pot so you need to make sure you water the plant enough to ensure the roots can gather up that water. If you only give the plant a little each time it only goes down a few inches in the soil, which is not helping the plant.
- Start fertilizing with Espoma citrus tone again on March 1st.
- Remember nothing goes back outside until after the last chance of frost, sometime around the last week or so of May.
We are always here to help, any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to call or email us.