The Q&A Archives: Houseplant Transition

Question: Now that the weather is getting colder, how do I prepare my house plants so I can bring them indoors?

Answer: If your plants have been outside all summer long they'll need a transition period before they can settle down and live in the house where the air is drier and the light intensity is lower. I always bring my plants indoors overnight when the nighttime temperature hovers around 50F.

Prepare your plants by carefully hosing them off, to dislodge any critters that might be hiding under the leaves and in the flowers. You can then immerse the container in a bucket of water to float out any insects dwelling on the surface of the soil, and drive out any that have made homes beneath the surface of the soil. A thorough soaking will benefit your plants by excluding any air pockets that may have developed around the roots. After about 30 minutes of soaking lift the pots from the bucket and allow them to drain.

To acclimate the plants to the weather indoors, begin by bringing them inside when the nighttime temperatures are about 50F. Take them out again during the day, as long as the weather is mild, placing them in a protected place with shade from the afternoon sun. Leave them indoors for longer and longer periods of time, eventually taking them out only for an hour or so for fresh air. By the end of 7-10 days of this treatment your plants should be ready to live indoors full time.

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