While we may know how to handle Iowa winters, not all our plants do. Here’s how to transition houseplants back indoors!
We all need a vacation once in a while, as do our houseplants. That’s why you probably brought them outside this summer, so they could soak up some sun, breathe in the fresh air, and have new sights to see. As fun as summer vacation is, eventually, it must come to an end—but your plants can keep the party going indoors! You simply need to acclimate them to their new winter home, and there are a few tips to follow on how to do this. If you’re unsure what plants will survive over winter or what needs to come inside, feel free to get in touch or stop by Wallace’s.
Check For Pests
Bringing a diseased or pest-infested plant indoors isn’t helping anyone—except the pests. Before bringing plants in, check the plants for small insects like aphids and spider mites. You can remove insects by hand, spray the plants with an all natural insecticidal soap, or rinse them off with water.
Prune and Repot
If your plant got a bit unruly this summer vacation—happens to the best of us—you should consider pruning or repotting it. If you’re pruning, cut it back by no more than one-third of the plant. If you’re repotting, move it to a pot that’s about one to two inches bigger than the current container. Repotting with fresh soil can further reduce any insects trying to hitch a ride inside. This should be part of your go-to winter related gardening activities.
Moving can be stressful, including for our plants. That’s why we should do so gradually as not to shock them. Most houseplants won’t survive temperatures that dip below 45° F, so you’ll want to begin their transition indoors well before that. A couple of weeks before you expect temperatures to drop, bring the houseplant in only at night, and move it back outside in the morning. Gradually increase the time the plant is indoors until eventually, it makes the move indoors full time.
Indoor Plant Care
Once indoors, the plant will need to have similar conditions to what it experienced outside, like how much direct sunlight it needs each day. Water your houseplants only when the soil is dry to the touch—indoor plants don’t need as much water as outdoor ones. Since the winter months are a sort of rest period for houseplants, they typically won’t require fertilizer.
How to Store Tender Bulbs
While you can bring plants inside grown from tender tubers and bulbs for the winter, if you don’t want to fuss about caring for them, you can save just the bulbs to plant again in spring. This works great for calla lilies, canna lilies, dahlias, and elephant ears, to name a few. In fall, dig up the bulb when the plant’s foliage starts to turn yellow, likely waiting until the first frost.
Carefully remove it from the ground and shake off any soil. Rinse the bulbs to remove any remaining dirt, then place them in a shaded area to dry for a few days. Once dry, wrap the bulbs individually in newspaper or cover them all with sphagnum moss or sawdust—this helps them to retain some moisture—then place them in a container in a cool, dry place. You should check on the bulbs throughout the winter to remove any shriveled ones and make sure nothing is rotting or going moldy.
While it’s not as simple as moving pots from A to B, with a few simple precautions, you can transition your plants from outdoors to indoors. During the cool winter months, being surrounded by a jungle of plants inside sure can warm you up!