It’s time to move your houseplants back inside and here are a few tips to keep your plants healthy.
Bring your plants indoors before nighttime temperatures dip below 45 degrees (F). Most tropical plants will suffer damage at temperatures below 40 degrees, a few even below 50 degrees.
Because conditions differ widely between the inside and outside of your home, a gradual reintroduction to the indoors is best. Sudden changes in temperature, light, and humidity can be traumatic to plants, resulting in yellowed leaves, die-back, wilting, and even death.
Some of your plants will likely need re-potting, make sure you have potting soil (not garden soil), containers, and other supplies you need on hand. If necessary, re pot plants into larger containers. If plants have gotten leggy during their outdoor stay, remove from the container, and prune the top and roots in equal proportions. Scrub the pot, add fresh potting soil, and replant.
Inspect plants for insects and diseases, and treat as appropriate before bringing plants back inside. Soaking the pot in a tub of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes will force insects out of the soil. If snails, earthworms, or other insects burrowed in the soil, you might want to re-pot the plants, placing a piece of wire screening over the drainage hole to keep these creepy crawlies out of your container next year.
As added insurance to make sure you aren’t bringing outdoor pest into your home, consider treating with a systemic pesticide.
To prevent shock when you bring houseplants back indoors, expose plants gradually to reduced lighting. Usually, if they’ve been in bright light and you move them into much lower light, expect some leaves to fall off. However, new ones should form as the plants re-adapt to the lower light. It’s best if they’ve been outside in high light to put them in similar light indoors, like a south window or under plant lights on a timer for 16 hours a day.
Don’t over-water! Let the soil surface get dry to the touch before watering again. If in doubt, don’t water.
Finally, give your plants a boost of fertilizer, according to the directions on the product label. Plants that have been re-potted with soil containing fertilizer will not need to be fed again for two to three months, or according to label directions.
As always, if you have any questions just ask our garden experts here at City Floral Garden Center.