It’s that time of year again when our houseplants make their triumphant fall return from the porch and head back indoors. This transition means a dramatic change in temperature, light levels, and overall growth patterns for our plant babies, so it’s important to make sure they’re comfortable for the long winter ahead. In this special blog, we’re going to share some of our expert plant tips for making your green thumb grow this season by tackling some common houseplant care tips!
Fall Houseplant Care in Bettendorf
Here are some of the most common questions we get at Wallace’s Garden Center about houseplant care during the fall season. For any of you thinking the same things right about now—let’s dig in!
How Do I Move Indoor Plants Back Indoors?
While you’re busy getting your garden ready for fall, moving your plants back inside is a crucial part of that job. It’s getting colder outside, and most houseplants won’t survive even a light frost. The transition for your plants should be gradual, though, and allow them to acclimate to lower light levels and humidity indoors again. Providing a cozy spot by a bright window and adjusting watering routines will ensure your indoor jungle flourishes throughout the fall and winter months.
Checking for Pests
As you prepare to move your houseplants indoors for the fall, remember to perform a thorough inspection for pests! Common critters such as aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs can hitch a ride over the summer and wreak havoc on your indoor greenery.
Here's a step-by-step guide to checking for and dealing with pests:
- Examine the Leaves: Look closely at both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves. Pay attention to any discolored or misshapen leaves, as these can be a sign of pest infestation.
- Inspect the Soil: Check the top layer of soil for any signs of tiny insects or their eggs. Some pests, like fungus gnats, lay their eggs in the soil.
- Isolate Infested Plants: If you discover any signs of pests, it's essential to isolate the affected plants immediately. Place them away from your healthy houseplants to prevent the infestation from spreading.
- Treatment Options: Depending on the type and severity of the infestation, you can choose to treat the plants with insecticidal soap or a product like Neem oil. We like the Protect Spray from We The Wild. . Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for any treatments you use.
- Regular Monitoring: Continue to monitor your plants regularly throughout the fall and winter. Even if you've treated an infestation, pests can sometimes reappear, so vigilance is key.
By taking the time to check for pests and addressing any issues before bringing your outdoor plants indoors, you'll protect your indoor garden from potential infestations and ensure a healthier environment for your houseplants.
How Often Should I Water My Houseplants in the Fall?
When it comes to fall houseplant care, adjusting your watering routine is paramount—when the temperature starts to drop, your indoor plants' water needs will inevitably change. In the cooler climate of Bettendorf, Iowa, you'll want to keep a close eye on your houseplants' soil moisture levels.
In the fall, the frequency of watering houseplants will decrease as the cooler air holds less moisture, causing your plants' growth rate to slow down. Knowing this is a crucial part of your houseplant’s natural rhythms, we suggest that you adjust your watering schedule accordingly for the cooler seasons.
Should I Fertilize My Houseplants During the Fall?
Another great question for a houseplant parent, and one we get a lot! As we mentioned already, the shorter, cooler days here in Iowa during the fall naturally slows down your plants' growth rate. Consequently, they require fewer nutrients—so it's a good practice to reduce the frequency of fertilization during the fall. If you've been feeding your houseplants every two weeks during the growing season, you can switch to a monthly schedule. Opt for a balanced, water soluble fertilizer, such as Jack’s Houseplant Fertilizer and dilute it to half the recommended strength.
Keep in mind that many houseplants, like succulents, may not need any fertilizer during the fall and winter months. Always check the specific requirements of your plants, and when in doubt, err on the side of under-fertilizing rather than overdoing it.
What’s the Best Temperature for Houseplants?
Temperature plays a crucial role in the health of your houseplants during the fall, and in Bettendorf, the outdoor temperature can drop significantly as autumn sets in. To ensure your indoor plants thrive, it's essential to maintain the right temperature range—most houseplants prefer a temperature range between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C) during the day, and slightly cooler at night. We also recommend not placing your plants near drafty windows, heaters, and furnace vents, as sudden temperature fluctuations can stress them out.
If you're concerned about energy efficiency, consider grouping your houseplants together. This creates a microclimate that helps to maintain stable temperatures. Additionally, using energy-efficient curtains or blinds on windows can further regulate indoor temperatures, saving both energy and money on your utility bill.
Can I Move My Outdoor Container Plants Indoors for the Fall?
If you've been enjoying your outdoor summer containers, you may be wondering if you can bring them indoors for the fall. The answer depends on the type of plants you have and your indoor space. Many outdoor plants, such as geraniums, coleus, oxalis, and more, can be transitioned comfortably indoors for the fall and winter months. It’s essential to do this before the nighttime temperatures consistently drop below 50°F (10°C).
Some Colorful Houseplants to Get For Fall
Looking for some new houseplants to mimic the magical colors of fall indoors? Try these:
Croton: Known for its striking, multicolored leaves, croton displays shades of red, orange, and yellow that mimic autumn leaf colors.
Chinese Evergreen: This low-maintenance plant offers deep green leaves with splashes of red or pink, adding a touch of warmth indoors.
Calathea: Some Calathea varieties boast maroon or burgundy undersides, creating a beautiful contrast with their lush, patterned leaves.
Boston Fern: Although not known for its foliage color, the Boston fern adds lush greenery, creating a refreshing contrast to fall decor.