Fall has officially arrived here in Lancaster, PA and it’s time to start bringing in your plants for the winter months. Many houseplant owners chose to put their plants outside over the summer to enjoy the sun & warm air but, most of these plants, cannot survive the frigid temperatures that are approaching. It seems relatively easy – pick up your plants and bring them back inside but there is a little more to it. In this blog we will talk about tips that will ensure your plants adjust to their winter home.
The first and, quite possibly, the most important – unwanted pests! You will want to spend a few minutes examining your houseplants, looking for any small insects that may have invaded your plant. Common insects you might find in your plants are aphids, mealybugs, spider mites or caterpillars (I just found one of these nasty critters on my sider plant and it wreaked havoc on it!). If you don’t take the time to check over your plants, you are running the risk of infecting ALL of your plants. Before bringing them in and after checking over them, it is also beneficial to hose them down – this will help to knock off any pests that you may have missed. One last tip for those little buggers, neem oil (organic insecticide) – make sure you dilute with an organic emulsifier – this will kill some of your pests and the strong smell will prevent others from dwelling on your plants.
Most plants will thrive in the summer heat & sun so if your plant has become “overgrown” now is the perfect time to either prune or repot. If you prune them – don’t prune back more than one-third of the plant. News to me: you also want to prune the roots as well! Generally, try to take the same amount off of the foliage and the root ball. Always repot in a planter that is at least 2 inches larger than your current container. A few helpful tips to repotting : cover any drainage holes with a porous material like a coffee filter, layer new soil, water the plant (in the old pot), prune/untangle roots and plant in your new pot!
Once temperatures drop to 50 degrees overnight, it’s time to bring them in. Most houseplants will not be able to tolerate temperatures below 45 degrees and damage is a threat to the plant at this temperature. Did you know that you are actually supposed to acclimate your plants to the environmental change? If you don’t take a few precautions your plants may experience shock, wilting & leaf loss. Just as temperature affects the plants so does the lighting. You will want to make sure you initially start the transition of bringing them in slowly. First, start by bringing them in at night and then returning them to outside in the morning. Gradually, over 2 weeks you will want to start to increase the time that the plants remain inside until you can fully keep them indoors.
A few things to help grow successful plants indoors. -Water, plants inside will not require as much water so you will only need to water when the soil is dry to touch. -Light, consider cleaning your windows to help maximize the amount of sunlight your plants get. You may also want to determine which plants require the most light for ample growth and place them closest to the windows.
By following these few tips from the pros you are ensuring that your plants will make it through another winter season and be able to enjoy the following summer!