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The end of a summer vacation can come as a shock to some, especially to the tropical houseplants we put out on the deck and patio to reinvigorate over the summer. Once temperatures start to dip into the mid-40s (in some cases 50s), they start to risk becoming injured from the cold. Moving them from full sun and chilly nights spent outdoors to a dim and toasty room indoors can be quite a shock. Here's how to safely reintroduce them to life indoors for the winter.
If insects are problem, treat plants with the appropriate organic insecticidal soap or horticultural spray. Repeat the treatments as directed (usually several days or weeks). Once you finally move them indoors, as an added precaution you should continue to isolate them from the plants in the rest of your house for several weeks.
It will soon be time to bring plants in side for the northern gardeners. A boot tray makes an excellent floor for your plants to drain on. They are inexpensive and will protect your furniture or floors.
Every year I enjoy my potted flowers all summer. So much so that I try to bring something indoors to winter over.
Summer break is almost over for tender perennials and houseplants that have been vacationing on the patio. With cooler weather starting to move in, it's time to start preparing them for the big move back indoors.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I would like to bring my fern inside for the winter, but I don't want to bring any insects inside with it. Should I spray my fern with some solution to get rid of the insects before bringing the fern inside?
By Barb B
If the fern is in the ground, leave it where it is because it's acclimatised and will be fine-it may look dead with winter but will perk right up in the spring.
If it's in a container, first give the soil a good soak with the garden hose and while you're doing that, spray the undersides of the fronds by tilting the hose nozzle up from underneath the fronds to blast (but gently) the critters out. I say gently because you don't want to blast off the spores on the undersides of the fronds-that's your foliage for next year and if you knock them all off you will shorten your ferns life.
If you see any critters escaping the unwanted bath, you could then follow up by using a drop of a very mild soap and water mixed to spray the soil and the fronds (including from underneath to avoid giving 'hitchhikers' a place to hide). You can find the size spray bottle I'm talking about at the dollar stores, etc.
Let the pot drain completely before moving it inside, and think about getting help if it's a large pot:)
I'm including a link with answers to lots of fern questions by a horticulturalist:
Indoor bloom plants what fertilizer good for them
How often do you fertilize plants that were brought inside, once they are ready to go back outside how much and how long do we fertilize them.
Thank you for any assistance you may provide.
I had some beautiful potted plants this year. I was wondering if any of them can be moved indoors. I have gardenias, verbena, petunias, and geraniums. Can any outdoor plants survive indoors?
Hardiness Zone: 6a
By Deb from UT
I used to have a neighbor that had a potted hibiscus plant and all she did in the winter was put it in her unheated garage over the winter. I would think if a plant can withstand the outside elements they would survive inside too. By the way I live in South Dakota so winters in an unheated garage can be fairly cold.
I'm trying it with gaura and a few other plants. If you have pets (particularly cats), just make sure that the plants are not poisonous, lilies are a big no-no for cats, as are a lot of others. Here's a list of poisonous plants if anyone needs it:
I bring quite a few of my plants inside for the winter, since I am in NW Michigan and we get pretty cold in the winter. I have kept some plants in our unheated garage (temps stay around 35-40 degrees in the garage), but most I have in our mud room and use gro-lights and full-spectrum lights. I always figure that it is worth a try with plants, since they will surely die outside. I have been surprised over the years with which ones will survive and which ones don't make it.
I have 2 big Boston ferns hanging outside that will need to be brought in for the winter. How can I keep the leaves from falling off and keep it alive through the winter?
Vickie from Earle, Arkansas
I've had good luck with the following strategy.
1. Keep the fern in a sunny room away from the heater vent.
2. Every other week or so, hang them in your bathroom after a steamy shower.
Hope this helps
Ferns take in alot of water from the air around them. I would mist them lightly every day as winter air in a home is extremely dry.
has anyone seen a bug that are red and black and kinda flat like thay do fly and thay have settled on my fern i have kept outside this summer they seem to have bourowed in the dirt in the fern like to hibernate can anyone give me tips on this and how to get rid of them i live in Ky if that matters thanks
What should I spray on my houseplants before bringing them back inside?
Andrea from No. Turner, Maine
By Jan Yofee
This has replies so I don't know why its still in lonely requests. So I am asking a question about it also. One of the replies said to take out the plant WASH off the roots etc to kill the bugs etc before bringing it in. I've never heard of that, remove it from the pot shake off the dirt and wash the roots then re plant? I specifically have 2 that I want to bring in, Black and Blue Salvia and Firecracker plant or David Verity. Can or should I do this to it? I'm leary and don't want to ruin it in the process. Thanks.
I'd definitely spray lightly but thoroughly with alcohol, wait ten minutes, then spray with plain soapy water and let plant leaves dry. The two sprayings should take care of most things. Remember that many will go into shock from the change of temp, lighting, and air, so do it gradually, if you can.
Start by turning them all the way around right where they are. Then move them after a few days of that new direction towards the door to your home. Next into the shade nearest the door for a day or two, finally you are ready to place near a window inside, or to the final resting place n o t near a vent, fan, fireplace, or gas jet. Plants will curl up and die quickly with that condition.
Try to keep them in as close to the same conditions they had outside as possible. If you must leave for a trip, cover them with clear thin plastic with toothpick holes in the top of the plant for their oxygen exhaust to rise and leave from their "breathing". Be sure to leave a lot more holes around the bottom edge of the plastic for it to suck carbon dioxide in. Don't leave plastic on it more than two weeks. This cuts down on drying out.
However, know your plants needs and habits well enough that you don't over or under water or fertilize. If it is a blooming tropical, it will possibly bloom in the winter or go dormant, depending upon how far you are from the tropics.
If a ficus, it will loose it's leaves when only slightly moved or wind blown and look dead but will grow them back over time and has not died unless it has been over or under watered, or over fertilized.
If a plant is a very slow grower, don't give it fertilizer often, but instead, spray it's leaves with fish emulsion, but water when dry soil. Remember this has an odor cats like. To smell and try to eat. Most plants are poison. Use good judgment.
If it's a fast grower, it's also a big eater, needing more fertilizer, benefiting most likely from egg shells and a little used coffee grounds once every other month.
If it's an annual, it will likely need more sun than you can provide, so don't be surprised if it gets leggy or loses most leaves and finally dies. Do no water or fertilize often. Let it rest and tell you when it needs water by the droopy or curled leaves. If leggy after a few weeks, move it closer to natural sunlight, but not in a hot window.
If a cactus or succulent, just let it dry out and water sparsely, with practically no fertilizer other than wal-mart
If an ivy, and dark leafed, it will grow most anywhere other than a closet. Same with a prayer plant, but both need lots of water. Varigated leaves require more light.
If an unknown, find out by networking or taking a leaf to the local garden center and asking the oldest or the manager what kind it is and what it needs to survive indoors in the winter.
All plants are different, need special attention, cannot be treated the same. The healthier the plant, the less pests.
Indoor climate, temp can be deadly especially if there are many plants competing for the same air, so scatter them throughout the house nearest to sunny windows. If no sun, good luck. I've kept them alive for several weeks with only lamp light, but they got ugly and sickly, wasting my money and time because of my lack of knowledge/experience back then.
If you purchased it from the indoor part of a garden center, it needs to be grown indoors, even if it grows ok outdoors. If from the sunny front of the center, keep it in lots of sun. This is the rule, but some centers hire folks who don't know much and this is confusing to purchasers.
Don't try to grow trees indoors unless you know all about them, have high ceilings, and good lighting, or the tree needs semi-shade. Same with shrubs and evergreens.
Prayer plants, airplane plants, ivies, and sheflerras seem to do best in my darker home with little natural light because it faces west and has few windows.
How do I make sure that there are no frogs or five line skinks in my potted plants before bringing them inside for winter?
By Jack P.
What do I use to treat the soil of plants that I want to bring inside for the winter? I have Safer Soap that I can treat the plant itself, but what about the soil?
In colder climates you will want to bring your hibiscus indoors in the winter. They can reside in the garage or in the house. If they do not go dormant you will need to water sparingly. This page contains useful information regarding overwintering a hibiscus.