Important Tips for Moving Plants Indoors for the Winter
After spending the summer outside, it’s essential that you give your plants a little extra TLC when moving them back inside for the winter. Use these tips for a smooth transition.
Keep a Close Eye on Temperature
It can be tricky trying to figure out when it’s time to move your houseplants indoors from their outdoor summer homes. It all comes down to the temperature, particularly the nighttime low temperatures. As a rule, you’ll want your plants back inside before overnight temps go below 45°F. Otherwise, you’ll likely see damage, especially on any sensitive new growth areas.
Check for Pests
It’s true that being outdoors over the summer provides houseplants with plenty of warmth and humidity. However, it also exposes them to more pests, including aphids, scale and spider mites. Be sure to check your plants carefully for any pest problems before moving them indoors. Look closely along stems and turn over leaves to check the undersides. If you see any pests, spray them with insecticidal soap. Don’t see any pests? Take the hose and wash off the plants anyway just in case.
Allow Time for Plants to Acclimate
Once you know the pest situation is under control, it’s time to slowly acclimate your plants to less light by placing them in a shady spot for a couple weeks before moving them indoors. Then, before actually taking them inside, check them one more time for any pests, do any trimming needed on overgrown plants, and remove any dead leaves. That way the mess stays outside.
Reduce Water and Fertilizer
Now that your plants are back inside, it helps to think of the winter months as their rest period after a summer of growing. During the rest period they don’t go completely dormant, but their growth naturally slows down. This means they don’t require as much water or fertilizer as they did over the summer. Therefore, give them just enough water so that they don’t dry out completely and hold the nutrients until spring.
Provide Light and Humidity
While it’s true that your houseplants rest over the colder months, they still need bright, indirect sunlight. The trouble? Days get very short in winter. One solution to this predicament is to supplement with grow lights.
Another issue, despite plants needing less water during the winter, is that they like humidity, something lacking during winter when heated homes typically have very dry air. For this, you can either invest in a humidifier or mist your plants daily. Both are effective solutions, depending on your situation. Adding humidity is especially important if you notice the tips of your plant’s leaves turning brown and crispy.