Bringing Houseplants Inside for Winter

Learn the proper way to prepare your houseplants for winter


How to Bring Houseplants Inside for Winter

The nights are getting cooler and the days are getting shorter and your houseplants are still outdoors. You know you need to bring them inside, but you are worried about bugs and pests. What should you do?

For starters, most people wait too long to bring houseplants indoors. Most houseplants are actually tropical plants that thrive outdoors all year in warm climates, but generally don't tolerate temperatures below 60 degrees very well. To help prevent leaf drop, start bringing in plants when temperatures start falling below 60 degrees at night.

Before bringing plants inside you will need to check them for bugs so you don't infest your house or your other plants.

For starters, visually inspect your plants. Look under leaves, along stems and remove any bugs by hand and drop them into soapy water. Then spray the plant with a mixture of soap and water to remove any bugs you may have missed. The solution I like to use is 1 teaspoon of liquid soap to one quart room temperature water. Remember that most dish soaps are actually detergent, so stick with Ivory soap or something like Dr. Bronner's liquid soap.

Then submerge the pot itself into lukewarm water and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Since most bugs can't swim too well, this will flush any bugs out of the soil.

At this point, you are ready to bring your houseplants back inside for the winter. If I didn't re-pot them in the spring, I will re-pot them now, place them in a sunny window and enjoy. You will have some leaf drop because the amount of sun is so different, but if new leaves are looking good and growing, there should be nothing to worry about.

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