< Previous
To Top

Bringing Houseplants Back Indoors For The Winter

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.


Reintroduce Them Slowly

A week or so before moving your full sun plants back indoors, move them into the shade. Even the sunniest window inside your home receives lower light than your plants have been used to getting outdoors. By transitioning them to an area receiving less light before moving them indoors, you're likely to see fewer yellow or dropped leaves from the sudden adjustment to a different light intensity. This will also help them prepare for changes in humidity, air circulation, and temperature. Hint: This is also a great time to clean your windows-both inside and out!

Clean Them Up

Give your houseplants a good cleaning by removing any dead or damaged leaves, or spent flowers. Follow that up with a gentle shower from the garden hose. This is a great way to dislodge the first round of bugs and dust off their leaves before bringing them inside.


Inspect Them For Hitchhikers

Once indoors, insect problems that went unnoticed all summer can suddenly spiral out of control. To prevent this, inspect the stems and leaves of your plants (including the undersides) diligently. Submerging smaller plants in a 5-gallon bucket of water for 15 minutes is a great way to send insect scrambling for higher ground. This shouldn't be done with plants that go semi-dormant or dormant in the winter (e.g. succulents, bulbous plants), as these plants need dry soil throughout their dormant period.

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.


Repot Them

In necessary, repot crowded or leggy plants into new containers. Leggy plants can be removed from their containers and pruned (roots and tops) in equal proportions. Make sure you scrub the pots thoroughly and replant them in fresh, sterilized potting soil.

Reduce Feeding

Plants tend to receive less light and therefore most grow more slowly once they are brought back indoors. Now is the time to reduce the strength and frequency of your fertilizing regime. If your plants go into a semi-dormant or dormant state over the winter, stop fertilizing completely and resume fertilizing once you see signs of new growth.

Increase Humidity

Humidity levels tend to be much lower indoors than outdoors. This is especially true once our furnaces kick in. As your plants adjust to life back inside, it may be beneficial to mist them frequently or set them on a humidity tray (a tray filled with water and pebbles). As the water evaporates, it will raise the humidity around the plants.


Watch Your Watering

Overwatering is the fastest way to kill a houseplant. Outdoor potted plants may have required frequent (even daily) watering during sunny, breezy days. Now that they are back indoors, they don't need as much water-especially during rainy, or cloudy fall weather as they won't get enough light to dry out. Always let the surface of the soil get dry to the touch between watering.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Add your voice! Click below to comment. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!

October 9, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks for the info. I always dread wintertime because I'm afraid I'll lose my plants. I'll be sure and use your tips this winter. Do you have any tips on keeping Boston ferns indoors without losing all their leaves?


vguy, Earle, AR

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
October 10, 20080 found this helpful

I've heard stories of people bringing in their plants for winter and unknowingly bringing snakes in with them. Is there a way to check for snakes without putting yourself at risk? Say, something you can do to them to chase out any snakes beforehand?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 1, 20130 found this helpful

Before bringing my plants in for the winter and also keeping them healthy throughout the winter months, I slosh soapy water all over them. I usually use Dawn dish washing detergent. I've used this on impatiens and it keeps the bugs off.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 13, 20150 found this helpful

I have found my houseplants do much better inside if I put a plant light on them. I did it his year for the 1st time. They have not dropped half their leaves like they usually do. You can find them at WM for about $15.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Add your voice! Click below to comment. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!

Related Content
In This Guide
potted houseplant
Bringing Plants Indoors for the Winter
< Previous
Home and Garden Gardening House PlantsOctober 9, 2008
potted plant sitting on window ledge with snowy ground outside
Winter Care for Houseplants
Winter Maple in Planter
Keeping Planters Over Winter
Gardening Indoors
Gardening Indoors
Close up of Corkscrew Vine's pink flowers.
Overwintering Cochliasanthus Caracalla (Corkscrew Vine)
Halloween Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Desktop Page | View Mobile

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

© 1997-2017 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Published by .

Generated 2017/10/03 13:12:34 in 754 msecs. ⛅️️
Loading Something Awesome!